Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Intelligent Confusion...

It's amazing that normally intelligent people, when presented with the prospect of the teaching of Intelligent Design, lose the use of their cognitive faculties. Consider the incident related to by Instapundit in which George Bush was asked about the teaching of Intelligent Design.
Bush wants to teach Intelligent Design in schools. That's just pathetic.

It's not going over well in some places on the right, either. Rick Moran at Right-Wing Nuthouse writes:

Alright then, I’ve got a few more “ideas” that students should probably be exposed to as long as we’re talking about filling their heads with a bunch of nonsense like ID:.

1. The earth is actually a bowl sitting on the back of elephants. Hey! If its good enough for the Hindus, why not us?

2. The God Manitou took pity on a mother bear who had lost her cubs while swimming across Lake Michigan and turned the cubs into islands (the Manitou islands) and the mother into a sand dune (Sleeping Bear Sand Dune).
...Now if I were a White House spinmeister I'd say this was just about teaching children the shape of the debate. But I feel sure that Bush wouldn't be satisfied by a curriculum that exposed the many fallacies of Intelligent Design (the biggest being that its proponents start with a particular Designer in mind and then try to marshal the evidence). And certainly the constituency that he's trying to satisfy wouldn't be. Nor would various other hypotheses (e.g., that our universe is actually a computer model itself, being run by unknown others for unknown purposes) satisfy, I suspect, even though there's more evidence for them -- we see computer models every day -- than for creation by a deity.
At once we have comparisons to various creation myths - has the concept of a "strawman" ever been explained to these people? Or we have claims that a particular Designer is chosen first and then the evidence patterned around said Designer. Such claims only expose the ignorance of the writer to the actual claims of ID proponents. And is it really beyond the horizon line of these people to see that a computer model was generated by a designer? Has it ever occurred to these individuals that the issue should be what is the correct explanation and not what is science? You know - whether or not something is true should trump whether or not it fits within a particular category. You see, the issue really isn't whether or not we should also teach various culture's creation myths or whether or not ID is really science. No, the issue is an a priori assumption that only determinism and chance can explain the reality of our world (including the reality of the abstract). Hence the super-natural, by their imposed definition, is not now, and can never be allowed to be, a possible explanation. Indeed.

2 comments:

ReSoT4eM said...

Rusty,
I knew the response to Bush's statement would be outrage. It's obvious most journalists and pundits who have commented on the story have never taken the time to read the writings of ID theorists like Bill Dembski. Even people defending the president and ID theory appear to confuse it too easily with creationism.

I have yet to see the basic theory of ID refuted. That is: if the mathematical probability of an object or system arising naturally is extremely small, then one can infer that it has been designed. Or stated another way: complex specified information (CSI) is always the result of intelligence.

When opponents start attacking the real theory instead of strawmen, they'll have my ear and my respect.

Anonymous said...

Why can one infer that it has been designed? At what point does something become so unlikely that it can't happen?