Nov 9, 2005

Evolution v intelligent design, notes from Slashdot

Kansas' education board has decided that its students should be taught about intelligent design, an alternative `theory' to evolution. Here's a posting from Slashdot ( which describes exactly how I feel about this:

Re:You are only hurting yourself you know.... (Score:4, Insightful)

by Decaff (42676) on Tuesday November 08, @10:15PM (#13985193)

Interesting comment--considering that they are teaching Intelligent Design alongside Evolutionary Theory. Your comment seems to indicate that, by teaching ONLY Evolution, that's how we develop Independent Thinking? Tell one side of a story? Somehow, that seems more like indoctrination to me.

You are missing the point. These classes are supposed to be science lessons, not philosophy or religion. There are plenty of alternatives ideas to evolution that can be discussed in biology classes, such as the ideas that fossils aren't old and the Earth was created recently. These areas are testable, and examining the data that suggests they are false can be highly educational - students learn about rock strata and radioactive dating.

Intelligent design is not testable. It is nothing more than a series of statements of incredulity - that because we don't yet understand everything about the evolution of life then there must have been intervention by a `designer'. This isn't science. Intelligent design might be science if there was some sort of valid consistent test for the existence of a designer, but there isn't. Also, because it is likely there there will always be some area of evolution or of biology that is not fully understood, there will always be some room for someone to say `that must be designed'. This means that Intelligent Design is never refutable; again, making it meaningless in the context of science.

Science teaching should include the idea that we are simply currently ignorant about some things. Coming up with untestable, irrefutable explanations to cover that ignorance is dishonest and should not be part of the process.

Imagine this sort of approach being used in other areas of science (e.g. `We don't yet fully understand the origin of comets, so aliens or gods must have made them') and the results are silly in the extreme.

Here's another that echoes it:

Re:You are only hurting yourself you know....(Score:4, Insightful)

by Flower (31351) on Tuesday November 08, @10:25PM (#13985290)

What independent thinking? ID certainly doesn't promote it. It provides the ultimate out in the search for truth. It's too hard right now to explain *this* so the obvious answer is God did it! (And don't even try to claim it is some ambiguous creator that spontaneously created the eye. The second some pagan asserts that it was the Goddess who made it happen you'll see every ID proponent in Kansas heading out to smite that heretic down.)

ID's greatest sin is that it closes doors to scientific research. If God miraciously intervened and created the eye then there is no reason to try to find an explanation. God did it so leave it alone and don't question it. Obviously if a million believers can't figure it out what could a scientist accomplish? And if this can be done in evolution then why can't it be done in other sciences? The creation of the universe is too complex to really comprehend so all this fluff about researching gravity really doesn't have to be done because we can just attribute the really interesting mysteries to God.

ID isn't science. It's the same old shit that pioneers in science had to fight against and be abused by centuries ago.

You have to love Slashdot: they put into words exactly how I feel about this stuff. I don't even have to raise a finger and type the stuff out, it's so perfect. Best of all, their sense of humour:

Hey Kansas! (Score:5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, @09:30PM (#13984798)

We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that


-- The World

And also:

Re:Misleading headline (Score:4, Funny)

by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Tuesday November 08, @10:17PM (#13985212)

2)It redefined the meaning of science. According to the new definition, science is no longer is limited to searching for natural explanations for natural phenomena.

Excellent! So now student `science' fair projects can be about... well, pretty much anything!

Richard Feynman must be turning in his grave.