Friday, December 23, 2005

(Small) triumph of reason

Especially on the eve of the eve of what is ostensibly a religious holiday, I couldn't be more pleased with the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, that Intelligent Design is not to be taught in the science classes in Dover, Pennsylvania.
"Not only did Jones rule that it's unconstitutional for the Dover, Pa., public schools to present "intelligent design'' as an alternative to evolution in biology classes because it merely advances a "particular version of Christianity.'' But in a painstakingly supported and often scathing 139-page opinion Tuesday, he also debunked many of the myths surrounding the so-called debate over evolution."
- extract from the above news article, in the Mercury News
I am also especially pleased that Judge Jones took the opportunity to make broader statements about the nature of ID than were strictly necessary in this particular case. Hopefully these statements will not only serve as a precedent for any further trials by the fundamentalist religious community to reintroduce pseudoscience into the science classroom, but they will also serve as an educational tool themselves.

This judgment should be required reading in any sociology or philosophy of science (or religion) class.

I also find it telling that the respected journal Science has delcared 2005 to be the year of evolution.

I don't doubt that some of the motivation behind this decision is the controversy in the US over ID versus evolution. In fact, Science's support of evolution as the most significant field of science in 2005 also serves as a reminder that science is neither postmodern, nor democratic. Its foundations can be argued in the philosophy class, but in the science classroom or the laboratory, the scientific method is not open to interpretation. Furthermore, even if close to half of Americans believe that a supernatural entity created the universe, the Earth and humanity from nothing, it doesn't make it any more true.

I do find it sad that the postmodern angle is still mistakenly used by people who are ignorant to the nature of the issues at hand. I only hope that in the light of this judgment, these people will realise that Intelligent Design is not comparable to evolution as a scientific theory. That, in fact, ID is not science at all, and thus should not be compared to it as such. This much has now been established beyond reasonable doubt.

So, when it comes to the editorial column from the Khaleej Times:
Even if Darwin'’s followers do not accept other theories, it doesn't change the facts that are all there for everyone to see. The whole of creation is a testimony to the power that runs this whole, mind-boggling business. Whether we agree or not, whether we believe in creation or evolution, we cannot ignore the clear and intelligent design that is so obvious in everything around us. You do not have to be a believer to see there indeed exists an Intelligent Design in all life, death and the re-birth.
I couldn't disagree more. It is apparent that those of a particular religious persuasion will always choose to see the agency of an interventionist deity in the world around them. Despite the illusory nature of this impression, it is evidently, and sadly, compelling.

I fail to see any evidence of an intelligent designer in life and death, and I don't subscribe to the concept of rebirth - at least not in the sense of the return of a consciousness in future bodies, even if I do comfortably subscribe to the eternal recycling of matter an energy, including that in our bodies.

Yet, even in light of the numerous affronts to evolution and science as a whole, the last few days have seen a significant triumph of reason over dogma. I can only hope that 2006 will see more of the same, although I'm sadly doubtful. Still, we can only continue the fight...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home