Intelligent Design is a Sad Joke

So I see that Bill Frist is now echoing the president that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution.

How very disappointing that an educated man would allow himself to be taken in by such a ridiculous proposition. The creationists may have repackaged themselves with a fancier name but they still come from monkeys just like you and me.

I do wonder if Frist is going to keep trying to dance on the head of a pin so that he can be all things to all people and try and make a run at the presidency.

This is such garbage. Intelligent Design is an affront to intelligence.

7 comments:

Stacey said...

I'm with you on this issue. I think it's total bunk. I was so excited when Frist broke party with his stem cell support. But this is disappointing.

Jack Steiner said...

Pandering, just pandering.

Unknown said...

You need to create your own version and try to get it into the text books. See
http://www.venganza.org/ for a good start on the subject.

Anonymous said...

As posted on my brother-in-law Elie's blog:

Elie,

The Intelligent Design theory involves only one key point. As summarized by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein on Cross-Currents, "ID people do not reject the evidence for evolution, but dismiss on scientific grounds the likelihood that it could have taken place without the guidance of a higher intelligence."

Who that Intelligence might be is not something scientists can answer through scientific observation (without reference to Sefer Bereishis we would add: at least not at present) -- but they need not do so in order to reach the conclusion that evolution by happy coincidence is so fantastically improbable as to be at least as miraculous as the alternative.

This is why Jack's opposition is mistaken, and why opponents try to ridicule rather than address the evidence. It is not the purpose of ID to demonstrate that G-d or the Flying Spaghetti Monster created man -- just that an analysis of the probabilities involves leads inexorably to the conclusion that it simply could not have happened by chance.

Jack Steiner said...

Yaakov,

Sorry Charlie, that is not how ID is being pushed through. A sizeable number of proponents could be called creationists and are not promoting real science or theory. It is repackaged claptrap and I do not support it.

Frankly I don't have any problem that things could have happened by chance.

It is entirely possible and plausible that G-d set things in motion and life did the rest.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Your argument is that since some proponents are creationists, therefore ID is false. I haven't heard anything from the ID-niks quite that illogical. As Elie said, the fact that "pulpit-pounding fundamentalists" like ID does not necessarily make it wrong.

You may not have a "problem" thinking that things could have happened by chance, but a series of scientists have now come forward and declared, on a strictly scientific basis, that the probability that the chain of proteins necessary to create life happened to come together is vanishingly small, and the same can be said for any number of steps in the evolutionary chain.

Possible? Yes -- so is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But plausible? No. That is exactly their point.

Can we agree to continue this on Elie's Blog? I may even revisit the issue on Cross-Currents.

Jack Steiner said...

(This was posted on Elie's blog and the discussion will take place there, but for the sake of those reading along I included it.)

Hi Yaakov,

We can keep this discussion going here. That is fine with me. If you look at who is pushing hardest on ID you will see that a substantial proportion of them are as I initially posited.

Look at USA Today and you will see some salient points. Here is an excerpt:

For more than a century, scientists have overwhelmingly accepted the theory of evolution. As recently as the 1960s, however, teaching about the theory in schools was a crime in several states.

Even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned such laws in 1968, resistance continued. People offended or frightened by the notion of natural selection demanded the teaching of what they called "creation science," a thinly disguised version of the Bible's Genesis story with little or no grounding in science. That, too, was found to be unconstitutional, an attempt to preach one view of religion to a captive audience of many faiths in the public schools.

Now, activists in dozens of states and school districts are pushing to require the teaching of what they call "intelligent design," which ascribes creation to a vaguely undefined cosmic force that sounds a great deal like the God of Genesis but usually isn't named as such.

Kansas' Board of Education is busy this summer rewriting the state's biology curriculum standards to accommodate the demands of intelligent-design advocates. Ohio took similar action last year. School districts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere are requiring the teaching of what they call alternative theories of evolution, regardless of whether they have scientific validity.

With more creativity and less obstinacy, reasonable compromises might be found for school children to discuss conflicts between science and faith. But the subject is treated more as a game of capture the flag. Children and science teachers are made into political pawns of those with religious agendas.

Nearly one-third of teachers responding to a National Science Teachers Association survey this year said they felt pressured to include creationism, or its various political offspring, in their teaching about life's origins. The National Academy of Sciences says efforts to discredit evolution or push it out of the classroom are going on in at least 40 states. If those efforts succeed, many students will get a seriously distorted science education.


I think that this is very telling. It helps to demonstrate my point that many ID proponents are not engaged in sound theory but just sound. There are an awful lot of resources out there that provide additional support that the theory is weak and that the push is coming from people who have a creationist push that they have camoflauged and repackaged as ID.

The http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2005/KS/78_flawed_draft_of_kansas_standar_8_10_2005.aspNCSE had this to say As expected, on August 9, 2005, the Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to send the latest draft of state science standards for external review. The latest draft, based on the so-called minority report composed with the aid of a local "intelligent design" group, the Intelligent Design Network, systematically deprecates the scientific status of evolution. Reuters reported that "[c]ritics say the moves are part of a continuing national effort by conservative Christians to push their secular views into the public education process," quoting NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott as saying, "This is neo-creationism, trying to avoid the legal morass of trying to teach creationism overtly and slip it in through the backdoor."

The bottom line for me is that I am not convinced that there is real scientific support for ID. I also am very wary of the torchbearers for ID because they have an agenda that doesn't make me real comfortable. And frankly I see that as a Conservative Xtian agenda that is interested in rolling back the clock. They may be and probably are good people, but the derech they walk is one that concerns me.

Note To Self

 This is more of a placeholder, a note to myself to review the posts here and update if needed.