Tuesday, May 03, 2005

CNN.com - Evolution on trial in Kansas - May 2, 2005

*Kicks awake his minions of twilight. Not much rest for the morally fuzzy!"

80 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, the fundies are back. Actually that's not entirely accurate, the Supreme Court has already decided about two decades back in Edwards v. Aguillard (find it at www.talkorigins.org under "Court Decisions") that giving equal time to creationism was unconstitutional because of the separation of Church and State.

Now the fundies are back and this time with something that they call ID (Intelligent Design), a totally flawed argument that just because something is complex (or irreductible complex), there is no way that it can have been the product of evolution but must have been the result of a Go..um..Intelligent...um...Intelligence in Design! Note, that they very very careful try to avoid any mention of the word God (particular the intolerant version of the Judeo-Christian Deity construct much beloved by the fundies). But check out the Wedge Document which very clearly demonstrates not simply the religious fundamentalist leanings of the proponents of ID but that they plan to act on it as well.

I'm just an arts (now law) student who stopped doing science a long time ago but I think with sufficient readings and concentration I do understand what's wrong with their arguments.

1. Statistical Fallacy. Just because something is complex does not require design. The beauty of natural selection, mutuations on a genetic level and environmental pressures can come up with some truely wonderous (and non-wonderous designs). More importantly, Bebe's book, "Darwin's Black Box" has been debunked and falsified to quite an extent, check out Pandas' Thumb . See particular, recent scientific articles that demonstrate how complex bio-chemical reactions can develop. Irreductible Complexity Demystified

2. Evolution does not concern itself with the BIG QUESTIONS. Really, it makes no comment as to how life developed. Science in general doesn't. Hence the existence of Theistic Evolutionist i.e. God made the word, coaxed the first organisms to come out of the primodeal soup and basically evolution took over from there. For a FAQ on what Evolution is check out Talk Origins

3. Are designs really that perfect or complex. Case in point, vestigal organs, we share the same tubing for both our lungs and stomach protected by a remarkably inefficient flap called the epiglottis. For more examples, check out Talk Design and in particular again, Irreductible Complexity Demystified

4. What really does Intelligent Design mean anyway? Um......... The odd bit is that they accept that some complex structures can be developed by evolution but not certain other structures. How do you determine whether something is really irreductably complex? No idea. Really, I mean it pokes holes at Evolution but most scientist do that anyway and still support the general theory. It's a lot like gravity, we know it exists but we have no idea how it works per se...current theory talks about gravitons. But here's a good site to find out, AntiEvolution . Once you're done there check out No Answers in Genesis: Intelligent Design

Which is why secularism is good and sometimes strict secularism is definately good, so you don't have nuts like these trying to push pseudo-science on you and your kids.



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