Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Intelligent Design Hits the Pennsylvania House

Oh joy, I guess it's our turn. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House debated a bill that would allow schools to teach "intelligent design" side by side with evolution. I've been here before, at some length, and I'm not the only one. Furthermore, I have expressed my willingness to entertain bona fides efforts to challenge, in a scientific effort at falsification, the propositions underlying evolutionary theory. This enterprise lies at the very heart of scientific inquiry, and I support it. But the article notes the inability of pols to treat it this way.

Intelligent design "tells you that Mount Rushmore and the pyramids are designed," said Franklin & Marshall College philosophy professor Michael Murray, in suggesting that the very complexity of life implies that something smart created it, just as we'd infer the same thing about a car, a stopwatch or Mount Rushmore. But intelligent design "can't tell you whether God, man or the Martians did it."

Yet the identity of this intelligent creator is the elephant in the room, and opponents of the design concept say that, unless the Martians did it, intelligent design by default points to a supernatural creator. And that points to a belief that is fundamentally rooted in religion, not science.

And one need look no further than the article itself for evidence that this is the case.

The battle lines were drawn in the hearing's opening minutes, when Lancaster's Rep. Tom Creighton, the prime sponsor of the bill, urged everybody to reveal their biases, then furnished some of his own, suggesting people who subscribe to evolution were generally atheists, while the intelligent design crowd are biblical creationists.

Such facile generalizations really warrant no reply beyond, "Dumbass." And that's all I'm going to say. The only good thing about this story is that, evidently, ID superstar Michael Behe, who teaches in Pennsylvania, was in attendance and testified. At least one guy with an IQ over 100 and something interesting to say attended the hearings.


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