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Intelligent Design: Designing unintelligent schoolchildren in SC

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The American Taliban is at it again, pressuring lawmakers to teach creationism alongside bona fide, indisputable, solid science:
(AgapePress) A South Carolina lawmaker has introduced a bill that would free up public schools to teach the controversy surrounding evolutionary theory by requiring them to expose students to the "full range of scientific views that exist" on biological evolution.
That full range, at least according to scientists, consists of exactly one theory: evolution.
State Senator Mike Fair says his bill would not prevent teachers from discussing evolution, but would require them to present other theories such as intelligent design, which says that life is too complex to have evolved by accident. The bill has gained local support from U.S. Senator Jim DeMint and Congressman Bob Inglis.

"Many of us -- most of us, I hope -- come from homes where children are taught by their parents that there's a reason behind it all," Fair says. "The biblical worldview, the one that I embrace, is that our Creator God spoke things into existence, and that same creator God demonstrated His love for me by sending His only son, Jesus, to die on the cross. And what a wonderful message that is."
A wonderful message, indeed -- for Sunday School, not Monday through Friday School.

Look, you can believe whatever you want to about the "why" are we here question, but we call that question "philosophy" or "theology". The "how" are we here we call "science".
Intelligent design, however, isn't science. The characteristics of science that are accepted in U.S. law derive from a 1982 court decision, McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education.

The essential characteristics of science are:

* It is guided by natural - physical or biological - law.

* It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law.

* It is testable against the empirical world.

* Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word.

* It is falsifiable - or, more accurately, makes predictions that can be tested by observation.

Intelligent design doesn't meet these tests because it is a philosophical or theological perspective, not a scientific one. A Berkeley law professor, Phillip Johnson, started the intelligent design movement. As Johnson's own writings assert, anti-evolution is a "wedge" to get religious "values" inserted into the public school curriculum. Thus, the motivation behind intelligent design has nothing to do with advancing science.
And everything to do with establishing the American Taliban's version of the madrassas in America. If there is a God, then God help the schoolchildren of Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina, or any other red state bent on installing Biblical Creationism in science classes, especially when those kids seek to attend a university with their Genesis understanding of science.

Cross-posted at Radical Writ