Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Intelligent design - science, not religion

This post on ID: The future neatly summarizes my thoughts on why Intelligent Design is not a religious project, despite the obstinate insistence of its opponents otherwise. The reasons for this insistence are complex, but one of the key ones is that as long as it is considered to be a religious project, the US constitution can forbid evidence for design to be considered in public schools.

I wonder whether this means that evidence against naturalistic worldviews must also be banned from US public schools, as suggesting that they are wrong would imply that a religious worldview might be right, which might be unconstitutional.

Incidentally, a commenter said on the issue of bullying :that:
When the Discovery Institute actively promotes bullying of high school teachers who teach evolution, it's really poor form to complain about imagined bullying the other way.
When asked to back this up, he said:
Sure. Start here with Jonathan Wells' 'Ten Questions to Bully High School Teachers With'

Note that Wells is a "fellow" at DI, and note their defense of the bullying document:
The actual title of the paper is "Ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution." - which immediately softens the tone - by retitling the paper in this way, the commenter was already adding spin.

Why is it bullying to ask for evidence in support of a scientific theory? When we learnt about gravity, we learnt about Galileo's demonstrations. When we learnt about relativity, we learnt about how the 1919 eclipse and the precession of Mercury provided evidence in support of it. We can learn about the heliocentric model, and how the geocentric model with all its epicycles was really struggling beforehand.

But what evidence is presented in schools in support of evolution? The last thing scientists should be doing is being happy with inadequate evidence. I want to know that the things I have learnt really stand up. To be told to believe in something when no credible support for it is offered is not scientific.

So, commenter, I don't accept that as evidence of bullying "for a start" - unless you can show me in what sense it is bullying. Come up with something else.