Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pat Robertson unwittingly undermines the ID argument

Good god -- how is it this man is still taken seriously as some sort of authority?

The citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania voted their school board out of office because the board tried to introduce the concept of "intelligent design" into the high school science curriculum. In response, Robertson criticized the citizens of Dover on his show, "The 700 Club:"

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city ... [a]nd don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there[.]"

First of all, it's difficult to believe anyone can even think like this, let alone say it out loud on a national and worldwide (sadly, this message is widespread) television broadcast. This type of statement can't pass the straight face test. Second, Pat Robertson just confirmed that the concept of intelligent design is based on religious beliefs. Not just any religious beliefs, oh no, but conservative, fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs.

Proponents of intelligent design want that concept presented as an alternative to the theory of evolution, they want children to know that evolution is not a fact and is not proven. Ironically, these same proponents will not question their own religious beliefs and assumptions which lead them to the conclusion that some aspects of nature are so complex that they never could have just evolved -- that some intelligence must have designed (created?) them.

The United States' future as a country depends on the education of its children. I'm all for questioning established thought and theories, but if children are taught that the concept of intelligent design has any basis in science they will be at a distinct disadvantage once their education progresses beyond high school. They'll be at a distinct disadvantage in life. When people, especially children, stop questioning the observations and evidence of reality around them, they stop thinking. They stop growing.

Just once I'd like to see proof that intelligent design is a valid explanation for natural complexity. Just pointing to something in nature and saying "that's impossibly complex, it must have had a designer" is not proof. The thing is, one cannot prove one way or the other whether a designer was responsible for anything in the natural world. At least not without meeting this designer or seeing this designer's blueprints. This is where what is required to believe that intelligent design is valid reveals itself: one must have faith.

There's nothing wrong with faith. It is a necessary part of life to have faith in one's own abilities and those of others. Faith is required to love, to trust, to take risks. Faith, however, cannot be used to prove anything. One cannot argue or rationally justify faith.

It just is.

So let's please stop this charade that squeezes intelligent design into the definition of "scientific theory" by redefining what science means. Call it a modern evolution of the idea of creationism and leave it at that.


Bert said...

Bravo, Kevin. I couldn't have said it better myself!!! This is quite a pertinent discussion, as there is now a THIRD contender in the the debate. I wonder if you've heard of it. Be sure to browse through the website and look at the Kansas State Schoolboard responses to the letters and such. The website is I am a convert after visting.....

Kevin said...

ha HA! I love it. I've heard of FSM but didn't know there was a site dedicated to it. I don't think you can refute their conclusion that the rise in global temperature and the decline in number of pirates (approximate) have a statistically significant relationship!

I'm considering converting especially after reading that their heaven is WAY better with a Stripper Factory and a Beer Volcano.