Sunday, April 27, 2008

The "Intelligent Design" Controversy

     I have been hearing quite a bit from evangelical christians about trying to put "intelligent design" into public education. Some have said that they are not finished because the court in the Dover trial was not an appellate court and so does not establish precedent. I have some news for them. Judge Jones (sppointed by George W. Bush) is probably the most sympathetic judge they are going to get.
     Oh, but the claims are interesting. They say that they don't want teachers to be silenced when they want to offer alternatives to evolution. I am not terribly impressed by large-scale evolution, myself; but I see no evidence that teachers are trying to offer alternatives. Indeed, in the Dover instance, teachers refused to read the statement prepared by the school board questioning evolution. They assert that "intelligent design" is not religious in nature. It has already been established that public schools cannot teach religious beliefs as science. But all the major public supporters are christian groups (groups set up to promote christianity not just groups composed predominantly of christians.)
     My own bias should be noted at this point. I do not trust christians when they are trying to spread christianity. Many are willing to "lie for Jesus." But there is a broader principle here. I do not trust the pushy salesman.
     At any rate, the current trend by ID advocates to try to link Darwin and Hitler reeks of dishonesty. My readings have suggested that Hitler rejected Darwin outright. There is certainly no evidence that belief in Darwin's ideas leads to Naziism. I get a distinct sense of an attempt to "rally the troops."
     There is one point on which I must agree with the ID proponents. It is true that when in the minority, evolution supporters sought to "teach the controversy" and that they seem to want to hide the controversy now that they are dominant. I think this speaks more to human nature than to anything else. When one is in the minority, one wants a chance to make one's voice heard. When one already has the minds of the largest part of the population, one does not want challenges to the control. I see the same effect in religious groups. Their claimed goals are quite modest when they have little control. But, historically, when they had greater control, they were strong suppressors of dissent.

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