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Friday, September 23, 2005

American biology teachers insist on atheism?

An American lawyer who is active in intelligent design issues has written me to say that the National Association of Biology Teachers, far from foreswearing atheism, has in fact merely moved some of its former upfront atheistic tenets to the supporting material under its current grand (and relatively innocuous-sounding) statement.

From the May 2004 version:

NABT endorses the following tenets of science, evolution, and biology education. Teachers should take these tenets into account when teaching evolution.
Essential Concepts of Biological Evolution

- The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of biological evolution - an unpredictable and natural process of descent with modification that is affected by natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, migration and other natural biological and geological forces.
Okay, well, wait a minute ... unless we know for sure that there is no meaning or purpose in the universe, how can we possibly know that biological evolution is unpredictable and (purely) natural?

A number of well-respected scientists who, incidentally, do not align with the intelligent design theorists, would dispute the view that evolution is unpredictable, notably Michael Denton and Simon Conway Morris.

Also, if one claims that biological evolution is unpredictable, it may also be untestable and unfalsifiable. That's too bad. I had hoped it would be more than nice graphics. I especially hoped that because I have just finished tickng off playwright Paul Rudnick on account of the fact that I thought his treatment of the subject is shallow. But if it's not science after all, maybe shallow wins.

(Note: Before you waste a lot of time denouncing my remarks in the Comments box, please note the title of this blog: I am not a creationist, as the term is normally understood. I think, from observing the current controversy, that the dogma of Darwinian evolution without design or purpose is primarily designed to serve materialist philosophy, and does not have nearly enough evidence to stand on its own. That said, I do not dispute the current dating of the age of the universe or of Earth—or the idea, in principle, of common ancestry. Whether our origins really happened that way, is, of course, another matter, and it is disquieting to learn that evolution is supposed to be "unpredictable." )

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Playwright's urbane, ironic take on intelligent design controversy

Here is playwright Paul Rudnick's take on the intelligent design controversy in the New Yorker, featuring way, way too many gods. It's clever, and it picks up an interesting theme: Does intelligent design mean that there are many gods? Not likely, but my sense is that, in any event, clever is about all that Rudnick's work on this subject is. It doesn't tell me or remind me of a single thing I really needed to know. If anything, it demonstrates the bankruptcy of the current intelligentsia. Still, they must obsess about intelligent design, which will bury them.

I would love to see a play about something real and important in the ID controversy, for example, about the stirring struggles of, say, Richard Sternberg or Guillermo Gonzalez, to open a window of intellectual freedom in a world stifled by materialist dogma.

Sorry, Paul, cute is cute, but cute doesn't cut it.

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Mommy, where did I come from?: Darwinist activist-style

Here's a kid tee perfectly suited to the Darwinist activist mom, though it is anybody's guess what it would do for the kid.

From what I have seen, most kids who ask "Where did I come from," are expecting the, um, Big Talk. They sort of know there is something to know or they wouldn't even be asking.

Telling them they come from a slime mold or something isn't going to cut it. Most likely response: "So what? Can we get to the part about how people, um, do it." (Even if slime molds "do it," who really cares?)

It all reminds me of the Canadian kid who recently asked the "where did I come from" question. His devoted dad huffed and puffed his way through the complete (and politically correct) lecture, only to have the little swine respond, "Wow, Dad, that's way amazing. But ... I still don't understand. See, the reason I asked is that our new goaltender, Chung An, comes from Vancouver ...."

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Another ID cartoon: Frank and Ernest

Blogging has been light recently, because I have been out of town and off e-mail. Let’s begin with a cartoon, while I catch up (a little bit) with backlog. Okay, here's a Frank and Ernest on the intelligent design controversy. Now, much as I like F&E, I didn't find this one particularly amusing. Frankly, I think all the "unintelligent design" jokes have been told, so any hack who chooses to title a new piece on the subject "unintelligent design" or riff on that theme is definitely an unintelligent hack - and that is no one's fault but his own. Quit beating the corpses of cute but dead intros. Be original, be relevant, and if you are a comic, be funny. Earn your keep.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.
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