Thursday, December 22, 2005

“INTELLIGENT DESIGN” (ID) KO’D IN THE FIRST ROUND IN US DISTRICT COURT RUMBLE

CORPSE OF ID THEN THROWN OUT OF THE RING AND STOMPED UPON BY REFEREE
ID CORNERMEN AND PROMOTERS DEMAND A REMATCH, CLAIM FIGHT WAS “FIXED”, ASSURE VICTORY IN NEXT BOUT


US District Court Judge John E Jones III recently ruled that “intelligent design” is not science, and in the case at hand, was an attempt to impermissibly inject religious teaching into the freshman biology class in Dover, Pennsylvania. His decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover School District is thorough, broad, and well reasoned. If the Kitzmiller case were a prizefight, the title to this post would fairly well describe the result. But among Fundamentalist Christian Theocrats and “Movement” conservatives, the dead run for office and vote from the grave. And everything old and discredited can be made new again with the right talking points and enough talk radio and Fox News airtime.

In the widely watched case pitting the accepted science of evolution against biblical creationism recast as “intelligent design”, this rebuke of intelligent design (ID) is breathtaking. The opinion discusses the roots of the ID movement in the oxymoronically titled “creation science”. The decision discusses the “Wedge” document in which ID proponents strategize about remaking science with a “religious” worldview. The judge details how the specious arguments against evolution are not positive arguments in favor of ID. And finally, the judge takes the time to debunk the “irreducible complexity” fabrication of the IDers.

ID PROPONENTS CAN’T UNDERSTAND IT. INTELLIGENT DESIGNER MUST HAVE DESIGNED IT. END OF STORY


ID propaganda posits that some elements of life are “irreducibly complex” and could not have arisen through evolution. And because they could not have evolved, an “intelligent designer” must have designed them. This “intelligent designer”, in the words of nearly every ID proponent, is (guess who, says the woodpecker) God.[i] IDers often claim that the blood clotting mechanism and bacterial flagellum are so finely tuned and operating that they could not have arisen spontaneously through natural selection. But Judge Jones cited scientific literature that demonstrates that these systems are not “irreducibly complex”.

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S LAWYERS STUDYING ID STRATEGY FOR DEPOSED DICTATOR’S TRIAL
TWINKIE DEFENSE DIDN’T WORK. WHAT LEGAL ARGUMENTS COULD BE WORSE?

Listen to the brayings of leading Theocrat Richard Land:

"This decision is a poster child for a half-century secularist reign of terror that's coming to a rapid end with Justice Roberts and soon-to-be Justice Alito," said Richard Land, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is a political ally of White House adviser Karl Rove. "This was an extremely injudicious judge who went way, way beyond his boundaries -- if he had any eyes on advancing up the judicial ladder, he just sawed off the bottom rung."[ii]

To Land, Judge Jones is a judge who doesn’t know his place. At least “his place” in the judicial wing of the American Theocracy. And that the Chief Justice and Supreme Court nominee Alito do know who butters their communion wafers. Senators and Senate Judiciary Committee members, take note.

William Dembski, another ID proponent, prophesizes: "ID is rapidly going international and crossing metaphysical and theological boundaries," Dembski wrote. "The important thing is ID's intellectual vitality."[iii]

Intellectual vitality is a curious phrase to describe ID, given that any pretense to ID as an “intellectual” endeavor was foreclosed by Judge Jone’s decision And ID’s “vitality” is about as judicially robust as the “Twinkie defense”.

WHO LOSES IF ID ADVANCES


American students lose if ID’s false science is dignified in the classroom. America also loses as the sound science of evolution is diluted. A nation that is falling behind its economic competitors in science and math education will drop further behind. And a group often ignored in this debate, scientists and educators of faith, also lose. They understand that evolution and faith in God, a divine being, a creator, are completely compatible. But in the monochromatic landscape of the “religious cultural war”, people of faith that also cherish science, diversity and intellectual integrity are trapped. They are trapped in the no-man’s land between the Fundamentalist Zealocrats and their imagined opponents, the “Atheistic” Darwinists.

People who live in both faith and modernity also understand that the micromanaging designer God of the Fundamentalists and the Theocrats is a brittle God, an irreversibly shrinking God. The term “God of the Gaps” refers to the pre-enlightenment deities that made the grass grow, the water flow, and the thunder roar. Anywhere there was a gap in human knowledge, the gap was ascribed to the acts of a fickle god. No rain, too much rain, God is displeased. Still no cure for AIDS, it must be God’s punishment. Katrina, 9/11, the Tsunami, well just ask Pat Robertson.

But as science fills these gaps with explanations, this God of the Gaps must shrink and retreat. As science and human knowledge advance, this God of the Gaps is rolled back. Sensing defeat or disillusionment, the zealous stand more defiantly astride the last gap they can rationalize. They deny the patently obvious, that evolution is the engine of life on earth and they (and the Author, you, us) are just another product. The most intelligent product, the most dominant- more than the dog but not yet a demi-god. A smarter ape with better tools. Smart, sensitive, successful, but in the vast scheme of the universe, not Exceptional.

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM HELPS RATIONALIZE THE LAST GAP (OR GASP) OF “INTELLIGENT DESIGN”

Americans of most stripes see themselves and the nation as “Exceptional”. The Author’s post of December 12th discussed this peculiarly American conceit.[iv] And maybe this conceit of “Exceptionalism” finds good company with anti-evolution claimants in American churches. Evolution exists alongside the churches in Europe with nary a discouraging word. But anti-evolutionism, along with American Exceptionalism, are the 11th and 12th commandments of many American Christian denominations. Whether Fundamentalist American Christians are “Exceptional”, or just “Exceptionally” misguided on the scientific validity of evolution, is a question that the Kitzmiller v. Dover case has ruled upon, but will not finally decide.

MORE HOLIDAY THOUGHTS FOR TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS

In a recent post about the poor literacy rates in America, the Author thanked some teachers, professors and mentors that taught him to read, comprehend and think critically. It could not have been easy. Here are some more to thank. Mr. Frymier, Coach Gunn, Mr. Geier, Mr. Prickett, Mr. Hicks, Mr. Bales, Coach Baker, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Rex, Professor Smultskys, Professor Meyers, Professor Birky, Professor Hess, Professor Dennis Kaufman, Professor Johnson, and Professor Howard Kaufman. More in a day or two.


YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR SCIENCE AND YOUR DATA IN THE DESERT OF THE REAL!

[i] There are Intelligent Design proponents who rather facetiously claim that other “intelligent designers” could have designed life on earth. One school of thought is that the “Flying Spaghetti Monster’ is the intelligent designer. Others claim that space aliens seeded the earth with life. Another is that a human molecular biologist traveled into the past and created life. (But then there is that old time travel paradox of “can you kill your grandfather” that is the stuff of pulp science fiction).

The Author wrote back in September of this year that “The Great Gazoo” of Flintstone fame was the most likely candidate for “Intelligent Designer”. Gazoo scared the bejezus out of Fred and Barney. Gazoo was a space alien with advanced powers. And to submorons everywhere, he would appear to be supernatural because he could appear and disappear at will, listened to the pleas of Fred and Barney, and wore a funny costume. The Great Gazoo as Intelligent Designer post is reprinted below.
[ii] “Advocates of 'Intelligent Design' Vow to Continue Despite Ruling”, Washingtonpost.com
[iii] “Advocates of 'Intelligent Design' Vow to Continue Despite Ruling”, Washingtonpost.com ID is not passing any of the peer-review boundaries that keep junk science out of mainstream scientific literature, however. Judge Jones also noted in the opinion the ID has not produced any peer-reviewed work.
[iv] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Exceptionalism This Wikopedia entry on the topic of “American Exceptionalism” provides a basic introduction to this cultural myth and an overview of the arguments, pro and con. The phrase was first used by Alexis de Tocqueville, an historian and early observer of America.

1 Comments:

At 2:21 PM , Blogger Buridan said...

Great analysis Quantum11! You're exactly right about the shrinking landscape for fundamentalist religion. Modernity poses a significant threat and much, if not all, of the radical religiosity here and abroad is a matter of self-preservation. They're losing ground and up against the wall so to speak. The candle burns brightest before it burns out and I suspect that we'll see this self-preservation become more intense and radical in the years to come.

 

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