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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intelligent design and popular culture: What questions about evolution can students safely ask?

Recently, a friend recounted an incident where a dogmatic prof - a Darwin fan - responded to a student who raised one of the many problems with Darwin's interpretation of evolution by insisting that there was "lots of evidence" out there - despite the fact that the evidence he had actually put forward wasn't very good.

In other words, shut up, he explained.

This problem has increased in academia generally, not only in the controversial area of evolution.

It's easy to see why. Generally, the less creative a prof is, the less likely to consider conventional thinking mistaken. And many years of political correctness have surely rewarded the dull drone who never doubted or dissented where it mattered. The question then is, how can the student safely dissent?

Photographer Laszlo Bencze suggests, re the intelligent design controversy,
Don't argue against him. Agree with him. Then ask a question like one of those below:

1. I’d like to shut up those stupid IDers once and for all. Please tell me where I can find a book that shows clearly all the transitional fossil forms between fish and amphibians or reptiles and birds or some such major transition. I’d like to see it spelled out in detail with pictures and measurements and explanations of each fossil so I can crush those idiots.

2. I know that evolution is the most solidly proven theory in all of science, so please show me the mathematical proof of how random changes create information. I’m sure there must be one because this is a fundamental truth of evolution.

3. I know that in any system like life on earth that is open and receives outside energy the system will steadily grow more and more complex but I don’t really understand the physics of this. Could you explain it to me?
Laszlo's idea might work, but keep in mind two things:

1. Dull drones become angry and insecure when they realize that they are not making - and indeed cannot make - their case.

2. For many biology bores, Darwin's theory is a cult object, a form of worship.

The heathen is no more reasonable about his idol than a junkyard dog is about his rotting rabbit carcass - and one must be very cautious when trying to remove the idol from a place of highest honour.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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