"So you want to change the definition of science to include the supernatural?"
"Yes," Thompson says, "we need a total paradigm shift in science."
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The above was from an exchange between Salon.com reporter Gordy Slack and Richard Thompson, who is representing the Dover School Board (in Pennsylvania) in the "Scopes 2" Intelligent Design trial - currently underway.
Now, there are two ways you can read and react to the quotes above. Either you can say, "Amen, brother!" Or you can say, "What is this world coming to?"
I would scream the latter.
The arguments have been there for years. You see a watch, you assume there was a watchmaker. Design begets designer. There are biological process too complex to explain with mere chance. And these are all fine arguments - they raise serious questions about the world in which we exist.
ID supporters also claim that even the Big Bang theory was once laughed at (even Einstein didn't believe his universe exploded billions of years ago - he was a "static universe" advocate), as ID theorgy is now, so why not support it?
Sorry, but Bozo the Clown was laughed at. That doesn't mean I'm going to listen to any of his cosmological arguments any time soon.
If you support teaching ID theory in public schools, you are basically arguing for teaching a form of religion in the classroom. And you can't do that in this country - so says the Supreme Court.
Say what you will about the faults of evolution, the "controversy" over whether it's the accepted form of biological study in the scientific world, or even whether evolution is a disprovable science at all. That debate should be had. After all, the nature of science is to question, to dive deeper, to foster understanding and truth.
But saying that a scientific alternative is out there - ID - is flat out silly.
For one, science begins with questions and tries to find the answers. Why is the sky blue? How long does it take for Neptune to orbit the sun? When do chimpanzees use primitive tools? Seek, study, think, understand.
ID, however, starts with the answer. God exists (or, sorry, a "designer" exists). Now how can we show it?
That's not science. Fundamentally, absolutely not. It stops science dead in its tracks, in fact. Why do some bacteria have a little tail that wiggles and allows locomotion? Gosh, I don't know. Must be God's will.
That, to me, is the wimp's way out.
Even to this day, there are some who believe that the Giza pyramids of ancient Egypt couldn't possibly have been designed, built, or maintained by mere humans. The job was too big, too complex, to allow for us puny mortals. Aliens must've helped.
I really think these kinds of arguments shortchange us people. I think we're smart enough, we're capable enough - we can do anything we set our minds to. Our ancestors built Stonehenge, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Giza pyramids, and the Eiffel Tower - and what evidence can you give me that they didn't that's beyond basic human capability and will?
The same thing, I think, is true for our understanding of our basic biological roots. Just because we can't understand how something works, or why something is the way it is, doesn't mean we never will.
Do we stop and just say, "God did it - good enough for me."
Or will we do the truly human thing: keep asking, keep looking, and eventually, maybe, find the answer.
If you're content with "God did it," then we don't speak the same language. "God did it" doesn't help me understand the world around me any better than "Aliens did it."
And that's why ID isn't science.
I'm willing to accept ID, Aliens, whatever as truth only if its scrutinized, tested, researched, debated, and put through the scientific method rigors any other theory is screened through.
But because no one can prove or disprove whether a designer built us as we are, it can't be called science. Call it religion, teach it in church, and let the rest of us actually learn something.
Maybe we can never really know anything, but I do know this: ID shouldn't be taught in any science class in this country.