Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Fools for science

(via Polipundit) So the ACLU is suing a school for teaching intelligent design. Did these lawyers ever go through 6th grade? Don't they remember the basics about science?

Let's drop the oft-rehashed arguments about "separation of church and state". This issue is about pure science, or the lack thereof. If you had a decent curriculum when you went through grade school, then around the 5th or 6th grade your science book taught you about the scientific method. A simplified/paraphrased version to refresh your memory:

1) Create a hypothesis
2) Predict the results
3) Conduct an experiment and observe the results
4) Validate the observations against your prediction
5) Repeat the process

The essential idea is that once you've made your hypothesis, you need to conduct an experiment, see if the results confirm your idea, then refine your hypothesis/predictions and repeat the process over and over to catch any exceptions to the norm. Eventually you have a theory that holds for all observations over all iterations, the results of which can be reproduced by other scientists. Simple, right?

Simple indeed, for observable phenomena. But here's the problem with origin theory - it isn't observable or repeatable.

Grok that? You can not scientifically prove evolution or intelligent design. These are theories about a one-time, unobservable, non-repeatable event. Evolutionists don't have a Polaroid of the Big Bang, and Creationists don't have an .avi of the Creation week. To call evolution a scientific fact is an outright lie; to call intelligent design a religious myth is being obtuse. You can make a scientific case for either theory, and people will naturally believe one or the other case is more believable, but the fact remains, they are both theories.

Getting back to the point. . . neither evolution nor intelligent design should be taught as fact to children in school. However, neither theory should be excluded; the best thing a teacher can objectively say about natural origins is "Sorry kids, but we just don't know. Here are the two leading theories." The exclusion of either theory is an unjustifiable omission in a sound science curriculum.

As for the argument that intelligent design is just religion in disguise, it should be noted that the fact that someone may worship the designer does not invalidate the theory. Heck, I could argue that evolutionist Wiccans are actually worshipping the evolutionary process; should we throw evolution out as well? What about evolutionary deists who believe that God created the world then left it alone to let evolution finish it--do they invalidate both theories at once? What if I said my dog was the Divine Designer of the molecular structure and I start worshipping him--should we stop teaching chemistry in schools as well?

Our children are smart enough to figure things out on their own. I say give them the options, have the guts to admit to them that there are some things in our vast universe that we still don't know, and let them choose what to believe.

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