September 28, 2005


Ah, Creationism. It's like a legitimate scientific discipline, only except for the way it's grounded on anti-intellectualism and hence not in any way scientific.

If you haven't heard, Hearings have started concerning the Dover, PA, school board's decision to require the reading of a disclaimer in all biology classes before studying evolution.

But there's more! Seattle's own Discovery Institute, one of the modern leaders in politicizing science education, has started a blog to serve as their internet soapbox. Do check out the discussion over at Pandagon, which provides excellent demonstrations of the cliches and prejudices of both sides.

One of the major problems is how much of this debate gets turned into semantics -- what counts as 'science', what exactly is a 'theory', and so on. As I argued some years back, both Intelligent Design and a more literalist Abrahamic Creationism aren't worth crap even if they're considered full-blooded scientific theories. In particular, the physical evidence for ID is precisely the same as the physical evidence for a completely materialist theory of natural selection, and ID includes an argument from ignorance that's antithetical to the scientific spirit.

ID shouldn't not be taught because it's religion in disguise; it should not be taught because it's bad science.

That said, someone can still have good subjective reasons for rejecting the naturalism of science as anything but a methodological principle, but this is entirely compatible with the methodological naturalism of the working scientist and the high school bio classroom.

(NB The essay linked to above is not to be taken as an expression of my current views on anything, except to the extent that it falls in line with the outline I just gave. I was grappling with a sort of positivism at the time, which I have since left behind.)

No comments: