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The death of creationism?
February 18, 2002 9:52 AM   Subscribe

The death of creationism? William Saletan is claiming that creationism is dead, because Intelligent Design isn't as reactionary as the old creationism, even though scientists still treat it as a threat. I think creationism in any brand is still a threat, regardless of how reactionary it is. What do you think?
posted by stoneegg21 (79 comments total)

 
I think Saletan puts it very well. I mean, what threat does Intelligent Design pose, and to what? All its substantial findings are based on science. Sure, some individual teachers teaching it will insert their own personal beliefs, but they would do that no matter what they were teaching. And students will learn the actual science. Sure, some will be told that God made it happen that way, but they'll also learn that the reason we think that is not because it was written in the Bible, but because science has discovered evidence of it -- and that that evidence, where it contradicted the Bible, had priority. Does anything else really matter?
posted by mattpfeff at 10:05 AM on February 18, 2002


"The law of physics .. when one pool ball (A) sets another pool ball (B) in motion the momentum lost by (A) is equal to that gained in (B). This is the law. But this is only provided something sets (A) into motion. The law does not set the ball into motion ... but if on a ship with the pool table, and the same occurred, it was not the law that did this, the wave caused the incident. The wave was moved according to the law of physics, but not moved by them. However far you trace back, the law of nature never causes anything.. "
C.S. Lewis
posted by aaronshaf at 10:05 AM on February 18, 2002


A threat to what exactly?
posted by revbrian at 10:06 AM on February 18, 2002


Dare I suggest that C.S. Lewis, a relgious man, righfully suggest that there must be a cause, or at least a first cause, and that Evolution does not have this. But then, if one is to use this sort of approach, who was it that set god into motion as a first cause and causer? What is good for the goose is good for the gooser.
posted by Postroad at 10:09 AM on February 18, 2002


The only threat that I see with Intelligent Design is that it is proposed as a theory when it really isn't one. It is essentially a post-hoc explanation of [some] existing data which cannot provide any testable predictions. Scientifically it belongs in the same bin as most new age mysticism and paranormal beliefs. That bin would be round and have foot pedal that lifts the lid.

As a belief system I have no problem with people believing whatever gets them through the night...
posted by srboisvert at 10:12 AM on February 18, 2002


I don't think any idea is a "threat."

In this society it is important to understand the concepts of both creationism and evolution, and whatever compromises people find between them.

We know the Earth orbits the Sun, and yet the metaphor of "sunrise" and "sunset" is not obsolete. It's an alternate view of the same data, abstracted a bit so we're not seeing the real mechanics. It's not hard science but it's not a "threat" either.

The problem I have with Creationism is they want to throw out science rather than stand beside it, and they want public schools to teach religion in science class. :P
posted by Foosnark at 10:17 AM on February 18, 2002


Postroad, the concern is the source of physics/evolution, not the ontology or "source" of that source. But, dare I suggest that there exists a sourceless (first) cause?
posted by aaronshaf at 10:22 AM on February 18, 2002


The only thing I hate more than people trying to get creationism in schools is people misusing and abusing the term "theory." A scientific theory is as close to an absolute as you are going to get. It's not the lofty maybe-correct, maybe-wrong definition people use in common language. To go from the hypothesis "I think maybe animals evolve over time" to the theory of evolution took the past 150 years of intense research in Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, Geology, and a whole host of other disiplines.

ID comes off as a hypothesis to fill the gaps where science can't give a satisfactory (according to these people) answer. It can't be proven nor disproven because there is nothing there. Hopefully, Ohio school boards will see it as the empty non-science it is.
posted by mathowie at 10:29 AM on February 18, 2002


Revbrian-I think it's a threat to the teaching of evolution and basically science. If all kids are taught that a major part of science is wrong, they will have a very hard time learning any real science later on. As a belief, ID is fine. I don't care what people believe. I just think it's a threat when someone tries to teach it in schools.

Also, I meant to say "creationism of any brand," not "creationism in any brand." Oops.
posted by stoneegg21 at 10:32 AM on February 18, 2002


"Intelligent Design" is merely a gussied up version of the "watchmaker" argument (the earth/universe resembles a great mechanism, where certain parts are interdependant and exhibit a characteristics of purpose, etc, etc. Thus: since mechanisms are designed, the universe/earth had a designer.) Dave Hume blew this out of the logical waters by (rightfully) noting that it was argument by analogy. Analogies cannot prove anything. All they can do is confer probability. The logical rule of thumb is: the better your analogy, the greater the probability. Hume offered his own alternate analogy, comparing the universe/earth to the body of a great animal. Parts go through aging cycles, rivers and winds mimick circulatory and respiratory systems, vegitation resembles hair growth, etc. etc. (He listed gobs and gobs of things). Thus: since animals reproduce through sexual union, the universe/earth came into being through sexual union. He didn't believe this (of course). He was merely illustrating that his analogy, being much stronger, deserved greater probability and if you reject it as nonsense, you are forced to reject the weaker alternative (mechanism) as well if you're to be logically consistent.

Now, let me hasten to add that this does not disprove the notion of a designing God. It might be true, it might be false. All Hume's refutation does is say that you can't use "design" as a proof.
posted by RavinDave at 10:37 AM on February 18, 2002


Existence does not imply creation.
posted by anapestic at 10:44 AM on February 18, 2002


A quote from The Revelation of God: "Had nature come out of chaos, then there would be no order or apparent design. As nature has order and design, this demands that its Parent be intelligent."

The difference sexual preferences are taught in public school, as there are a variety of lifestyles in America. Why can't we therefore teach the different beliefs of Creationism and Evolution?

In biology class we're assuming naturalism/materialism. Hey, supernaturalists can study biology just as deeply as naturalists can. My problem is that we are trying to indoctrinate the dogma of materialism in students, whereas it's merely a theory itself. "Scientific theories are never proven. They are merely well-established."

Intelligent design or not, we need some sort of prefice in class. Because biology so heavily assumes materialism, it's only right to explain that most people (or at least a ... huge chunk of the US) believe the universe is ultimately a product of a supernatural force. "Now the following can be view in a variety of perspectives..."
posted by aaronshaf at 10:46 AM on February 18, 2002


one of my pet peeves is that people commonly refer to evolution as "Darwinism." Darwin believed in phyletic evolution, a process by which animals gradually evolved over a long period of time; this is in contrast to more modern theories, such as punctuated equillibrium, where evolution happens quickly but in bursts.

the statements i have read on ID fall into similar traps that creationist rhetoric falls into: this i will admit. according to the article linked:

"Biological evolution, like creationism and design, cannot be proved to be either true or false," writes one ID enthusiast in Ohio. Since evolution is an "unproven theory," says another, "belief in it is just as much an act of faith as is belief in creationism or in the theory of intelligent design."

comments such as these really miss the point of natural science. i would contend that "proven theories" in the realm of NS are oxymorons. probabilities can be bolstered and arguments supported by testable evidence, but theories are always open to falsification. that includes evolution just as much as it includes the theory of relativity.

i have a question: why must, when one chooses to "believe" in a theory of natural science, the assumption be made among the latter quoted that belief is an absolute? why must i accept evolution and believe in it 100%? can't i say 80/20? 90/10? can't i say that evolution sounds right, and we've got a lot of evidence to show we're on the right track with evolution, but fuck if i know what we will find tomorrow morning in a tar-pit?
posted by moz at 10:48 AM on February 18, 2002


[Revbrian-I think it's a threat to the teaching of evolution and basically science. ]

Being brought up Roman Catholic I was taught creationism. I realized that creationism couldn't be literally true unless you discarded a whole lot of evidence when I was seven or eight years old. It didn't get in my way.
posted by revbrian at 10:56 AM on February 18, 2002


All hands up who think that the Theory of Relativity is also false!

A scientific theory is not possibly true, the same way a theory is to a normal person. A scientific theory is true in that it works. No facts are known that disprove it, even though it could possibly be disproved.

While attempting to disprove evolution on the basis that it's a theory, please also try to disprove gravity, relativity, and basically every law of physics, biology, chemistry, and math.
posted by stoneegg21 at 10:57 AM on February 18, 2002


RavinDave said: Thus: since animals reproduce through sexual union, the universe/earth came into being through sexual union.

Ah yes...the first iteration of the big bang theory.

[insert groans]
posted by srboisvert at 10:58 AM on February 18, 2002


Revbrian-Congratulations. You're both smart and rational. Not everyone else is.
posted by stoneegg21 at 11:01 AM on February 18, 2002


Point the first: no matter how far down the reverse timeline we can demonstrate how the chain of events must have happened in order to arive at the present state of the universe, it is and always will be possible to assert that God created the universe that way, 6,000 years ago. Philosophy 101 essay question: prove that the universe was not created, exactly as it is, five minutes ago. Can't do it? Don't feel bad, neither can anyone else.

Point the second: I think that the most valuable thing that can possibly come out of this debate is the debate itself; kids exposed to this sort of debate will be presented with unprecedented oportunities to hone skills in debate, logic and critical thinking, as well as being exposed first hand to the methods by which people in a free society decide on truth.

There are several boons to having this particular unendable fight raging somewhere: First, children with a rigorous background in these disciplines are a boon to both the Church and to Science (I'm much more worried that both sides will lose out to Pokemon and Britney Spears' breasts). Second, progress is based on new ideas, which are obtained, most often, by looking at old problems from unexpected directions, and who is to say that the next generation's Einstein might not someday say something like, "Say, if we postulate an infinitely powerful creator, then X, and if X, then here, have an extra-light-speed engine."

So, go Ohio. I'd rather follow rigorous public debate about fundemental philosophy than the Grammys, anyway.
posted by hob at 11:02 AM on February 18, 2002


The principle of equilibrium does a good job of relegating "intelligent design" to a question of faith. With trillions upon trillions of planets in the universe, it is a given that the planets which survive and develop enough to sustain sentient life will also be highly ordered (or sentient life, and life in general, would eventually die out). We sit here marveling at what we reason must be designed - which is laughable when you consider how many unordered worlds exist. We live on one of these precious ordered worlds, so we assume it must be by design. Uh huh. Whatever.

(I refer to "equilibrium" in the temporary sense. I still leave room for humans being stupid enough to snuff out all life on Earth.)
posted by fleener at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2002


All fundamental scientific theories, if to be believed as ultimate truths, are also matters of faith.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:16 AM on February 18, 2002


stoneegg21 said: A scientific theory is not possibly true, the same way a theory is to a normal person. A scientific theory is true in that it works. No facts are known that disprove it, even though it could possibly be disproved.


That is not actually true. Most accepted theories do not account for all the phenomena that fall into their domain and often times there are many incompatible and inexplicable findings. The theories remain acceptable until their shortcomings become overwhelming and a replacement theory is available.
posted by srboisvert at 11:17 AM on February 18, 2002


Being brought up Roman Catholic I was taught creationism.

These don't naturally go together, actually, given the Church's current stance on the subject (or, as I've posted before, Newman's stance nearly one hundred and fifty years ago).

There's also no necessary historical connection between evangelical Christianity and Creationism; see, e.g., David Livingstone's Darwin's Forgotten Defenders on pro-Darwinian evangelicals in the 19th c.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:22 AM on February 18, 2002


Thomas J Wise, I would recommend reading "Battle for the Beginning" by John MacArthur.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:32 AM on February 18, 2002


"All fundamental scientific theories, if to be believed as ultimate truths, are also matters of faith."

I think aaronshaf has something to say. Is that the Metafilter equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing because you don't like what other people are saying?
posted by dgeiser13 at 11:34 AM on February 18, 2002


As long as we're going to have this debate again, I'm going to honor a previous suggestion, name myself a Hatfield and take the side opposite the one I'm most inclined to favor. That is to say, I'm agnostic and think Intelligent Design is probably a composite of compromise and wish fulfillment intended to allow the god side to be heard in school. I would generally be disinclined to support that.

So, I take the opposite and affirm that we should allow this in school.

First, it must be recognized that creationism and science/evolution theory have been set up in direct opposition to each other. If you believe one, then it follows you can't reasonably support the other. So, if evolution theory disproves creationism, and to forestall an obvious path of objection, I believe that at least in the minds of many people it does seem to do that, then isn't teaching evolution as much a violation of the separation of church and state as any religious teaching? After all, what right does the state have to say my position if invalid if I can't at the same time say my position is valid? Why should one be allowed in school and not the other?

The answer - empirical evidence. We aren't making value judgements with respect to what we find. We merely report what we find, and indicate what that leads us to believe. It is a value neutral discussion. But having once established that in the minds of many people these two positions oppose each other, isn't that really a disingenuous response? I say that it is.

The problem here is that most people believe that there is some god that created the universe. Those people what their children to believe that as well. Schools are, in addition to places of learning, places of socialization. We expect that schools will produce good citizens who are members of their community. The community believes in God. What right do those who don't believe in god have to usurp that position. Why should the full force of the educational system be set up to indoctrinate our children in something that is antithetical to what the community believes.

Of course given all current research and findings, Evolution Theory appears to be correct. We must teach it, so there is only one solution. We must also teach that theory does not necessarily conflict with the communities belief in some supreme being. Note, I say "some" not "a" supreme being. We aren't arguing here that the schools teach a particular religion just that they help the children to see that Evolution Theory does not invalidate their belief structure or the belief structure of the parents.

Children - traditionally, people who've argued for or against evolution theory may have led you to believe that if one is true then the other must be false. That is a false delima. It is entirely possible to support the belief that the two may both be true.

Intelligent design is not in conflict with evolution or any other accepted scientific theory. It accepts what science has found and the conclusions science has drawn from that. It merely says that this may well fit within the confines of what you and your parents may believe with respect to a prime mover. What could possibly be wrong that?
posted by willnot at 11:37 AM on February 18, 2002


I agree with Saletan's point that "Intelligent Design" theory is nothing more than a watered-down, last-ditch effort by the creationists not to be tossed out of the game entirely. I also agree that there is a perfectly good reason not to teach it in science class - it's empty. It offers nothing in the way of useful predictions or falsifiable hypotheses and has contributed nothing to scientific progress. It's not science. If you want to teach it in philosophy or theology class, go ahead.

mattpfeff - ID theory has no "substantial findings." It also has no scientific evidence that "God made it happen."

RavinDave - A simpler counter-argument to the "Intelligent Watchmaker" analogy is as follows: Suppose an artifact of complex, functional order, such as a watch, a living organism or an ecosystem implies an intelligent Creator. Fine, now you've got your intelligent Creator. Now, your intelligent Creator is obviously an artifact of complex, functional order. (A watchmaker is more complex than a watch,after all.) So who made your Creator? Obviously a greater Creator. Who made the Creator of Creators? Must be another one. And so on. Nothing has actually been explained. It's turtles all the way down... Natural selection is the only workable theory we have so far for explaining extreme functional complexity based on simple, non-complex origins.

moz - I think you would find that Gould and Eldridge, the inventors of the "punctuated equilibrium" theory, would absolutely define themselves as Darwinists. Where they might disagree with the mainstream of evolutionary biologists is in some of the details of the mechanics of natural selection. "Darwinism" is generally considered to be the theory of evolution through natural selection. No one in the field seriously doubts that theory, but there are ongoing discoveries and controversies as to the precise details of how natural selection works in the real world.

srboisvert - groan [throws rotten tomato].

aaronshaf - Scientific theories are not meant to be believed as ultimate truths. Anything being taught as an "ultimate truth" has no business in a science classroom. A scientific theory is just the best explanation we have right now, given the available evidence. Essential to a scientific theory is some possible way of proving it wrong and the expectation that it will in fact someday be proven wrong, at least in part. That's how we progress.
posted by tdismukes at 11:39 AM on February 18, 2002


tdismukes - I agree, but I don't think it's taught that way in the classroom. I think it needs to be clarified.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:53 AM on February 18, 2002


Intelligent design is the last ditch effort of religion-in-schools people to win their battle on the turf of the education system as presently constituted.

However, this is at most an insignificant skirmish compared to the real battles: vouchers (which are not making a lot of progress, but which may start to do some winning soon) and homeschooling (which has been vastly successful.)

By the way, the overwhelmingly successful effort in 1990's to legitimize home schooling, which is now being followed by the effort (also starting to be won easily) to get home schoolers full access to public-school funded extracurriculars, sports, etc., leaving home schoolers with complete control over their curriculum but without any of the alleged "social" disadvantages of keeping kids out of the extracurricular stuff.
posted by MattD at 11:54 AM on February 18, 2002


I usually don't like Saletan articles. A few weeks ago he tried to explain how Ari Fleischer is a genius of PR management – let’s just say I didn’t buy it. Anyway, I agree with him here that Intelligent Design is definitly a weak theory as its simply a Creationism class taught on the HMS Beagle.

What really pisses me off about Intelligent Design is that stands to impugn Emergence theory as neo-Creationist. (Emergence is sort of neo-Chaos.) It kinda sorta argues Intelligent Design if you’re willing to do a selective reading.

aaraonshaf: “Had nature come out of chaos, then there would be no order or apparent design. As nature has order and design, this demands that its Parent be intelligent.”

Woah. Folks, in metaphysical conversations such as these, you’ll occasionally see a prime example of begging the question. Let’s all thank the Creator for giving us a chance to see one, because if He didn’t exist there would be no questions to beg.

(I know you didn’t write the quote, but you need to supply evidence of your premise before using it as your conclusion. Is nature not chaotic? Does nature have order or design? Certain aspects seem ordered but are they really?)
posted by raaka at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2002


All fundamental scientific theories, if to be believed as ultimate truths, are also matters of faith.

aaronshaf - Scientific theories are not meant to be believed as ultimate truths.

I don't think enough people realize the difference between theory and fact. I'm not defending creationism, people haven't realized that science has in many ways become religion.

Think about it.

People don't believe in god because it can't be proven that he exists. But we believe that everything is made up of atoms because that's what we were taught in science class. We will never see an atom though (just as we'll never see a god) but yet we still believe.

Yes, it's entirely reasonable that atoms exist, but we still must have faith in the notion that we're not being lied to, that scientists aren't just leading us in one huge logic cult.
posted by drezdn at 12:06 PM on February 18, 2002


willnot: heh. I like your suggestion. Since I tend to believe that schools should teach a balanced view of naturalistic evolution, I'll take the opposite position and argue evolution alone is appropriate in public education.

As you say, the community believes in God. But this point cuts against you. To argue that the public education system should take it upon itself to try and reconcile commonly held religious beliefs with scientific understanding is not only misguided -- many people are emotionally driven, especially when it comes to religion, and no amount of rational discussion will produce any change -- but it's also flat-out unconstitutional. Government should stay out of people's religious beliefs as much as possible - it should certainly not start interfering in and trying to change or undercut beliefs it doesn't like.

Unlike religion, science is just our best understanding of the natural world. It doesn't play favorites with religions - it is objective. If a religion happens to agree with scientific conclusions; great. If not, that's fine too. The only way to protect the religious freedom America holds so dear is to keep the public school system religiously nuetral.

It is true that some highly educated people have raised scientific objections to evolution. It is also true that some highly educated people have theorized the existence of super-strings. We don't teach super-string theory in high school for two reasons: it is too complicated (it would confuse many high school students and muddy other issues) and it is not yet proven. The same is true of intelligent design: ID theory not the mainstream view, and it is too complicated - students need to be taught simplified truths that reflect a general consensus, because they can't handle a more nuanced approach.

Schools should take a conservative estimate of the current scientific consensus -- after all, we're just trying to give kids a basic education that will get them through life, not make them into scientists.
posted by gd779 at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2002


"The law of physics .. when one pool ball (A) sets another pool ball (B) in motion the momentum lost by (A) is equal to that gained in (B). This is the law. But this is only provided something sets (A) into motion. The law does not set the ball into motion ... but if on a ship with the pool table, and the same occurred, it was not the law that did this, the wave caused the incident. The wave was moved according to the law of physics, but not moved by them. However far you trace back, the law of nature never causes anything.. "
C.S. Lewis


Interesting this, that the big bang theory comes about primarily as a result of tracing why we can observe from the laws of physics back to the point where everything collapses in on itself to create a singularity.

Hawking explains this quite well. Certainly something must have happened "before" the singularity. However that point is unknowable within our current understanding of physics. The difference between the scientist and the theologian is the scientist is willing to admit "I don't know" while the theologian says, "you don't know, therefore it must be God."

All fundamental scientific theories, if to be believed as ultimate truths, are also matters of faith.

True, but then again science doesn't claim to be in the business of finding "ultimate truth" but instead "pragmatic truth" or "useful truth." Good scientific theories work if they are useful for explaining how the world works. Bad scientific theories fail when they can't explain how the world works. Scientific faith is ultimately faith in the inductive process. We have faith in the theory of gravity because experience after experience validates the theory of gravity.


The difference sexual preferences are taught in public school, as there are a variety of lifestyles in America. Why can't we therefore teach the different beliefs of Creationism and Evolution?

Probably for the same reason we don't teach kids that if they send a dollar to the first ten names on the list and put your name on the bottom and forward the letter to ten different people they will make a lot of money. The fact that someone believes a fraud does not mean that that fraud should be taught in school. But I have no problem with teaching Christian origin myths, alongside Hopi origin myths, and Scientology origin myths.

In biology class we're assuming naturalism/materialism. Hey, supernaturalists can study biology just as deeply as naturalists can. My problem is that we are trying to indoctrinate the dogma of materialism in students, whereas it's merely a theory itself. "Scientific theories are never proven. They are merely well-established."

Actually, the assumption is not for materialism. After all, there is no reason why someone could not design an experiment to test for that "supernatural" forces. However what science does demand is that if no evidence for the additional entities is uncovered, then those additional entity should be excluded from the theory. After all, I could really believe that pixies are responsible for gravity. However my description of gravity must be limited to what I can empirically verify.

Intelligent design or not, we need some sort of prefice in class. Because biology so heavily assumes materialism, it's only right to explain that most people (or at least a ... huge chunk of the US) believe the universe is ultimately a product of a supernatural force. "Now the following can be view in a variety of perspectives..."

Actually, I have talked quite a bit with science teachers who teach evolution. Every single one of them spends considerable time talking about the nature of science, and the fact that science does not contradict religion.

It is true that some highly educated people have raised scientific objections to evolution. It is also true that some highly educated people have theorized the existence of super-strings. We don't teach super-string theory in high school for two reasons: it is too complicated (it would confuse many high school students and muddy other issues) and it is not yet proven. The same is true of intelligent design: ID theory not the mainstream view, and it is too complicated - students need to be taught simplified truths that reflect a general consensus, because they can't handle a more nuanced approach.

The problem is, most proposals for ID theory are not based on trying to handle a more nuanced approach. After all, no one is trying to push Hoyle's panspermia theory into the classroom. Bringing ID theory into a more nuanced approach would require pointing out that ID theory has some serious problems that make it a not very viable theory. Instead it seems like that ID theory is primarily promoted because it is the rather dishonest "god of the gaps" approach.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2002


Oh goodness. another creationism debate.

You will all smoke a big wolf turd in hell for even talkin' about this crazy nonsense. Everyone knows that Donkeys can talk, People can fly, and a man named Jesus lives up in the sky!
posted by bradth27 at 12:23 PM on February 18, 2002


aaronshaf - I'll agree with you that science as actual science is not often taught in the classroom - in any area of science, not just evolution. (At least not prior to college level courses.) Generally what gets taught is a collection of "facts" representing simplified and usually somewhat out-of-date findings from the discipline in question. The students are expected to memorize and regurgitate these facts, but are never really taught what scientific thinking and the scientific process is all about or how these facts were figured out in the first place. To a certain extent, this is unavoidable, students need background information if they are to use the knowledge base that modern science has accumulated. However, I wonder if a student is just presented with "facts" from scientific authority to be accepted on faith, then how is he or she to distinguish this information from the "facts" presnted by a religious authority or a new-age guru? Especially if the non-scientific authority is more persuasive or the non-scientific "facts" make more intuitive sense. Anyway, the actual method of discovery is often as or more fascinating than the results of the discovery - and I feel kids are getting cheated of that.

willnot & gd779 - Kudos for taking a more interesting & open-minded approach than most of us!
posted by tdismukes at 12:40 PM on February 18, 2002


"Scientific theories are never proven. They are merely well-established."

Exactly, aaronshaf. Scientific theories are falsifiable, but have yet to be proven false. "Creation science" is not falsifiable, and is therefore not a scientific theory. Let it be taught as cultural mythology, alongside other beliefs of faith.
posted by liam at 12:47 PM on February 18, 2002


Cannot scientists hold sway in realms of science, and theologists in the arena of religion? Throughout history, each has hastened to cross the borders to the other, like unto rival Khans, each believing the other's village holds brighter treasures, fancier women, and faster horses. Neither is satisfied to hold dominion over their own territory and nothing more.

Foolishness. Theology should deal with the nature of God and his Word, while Science should deal with Physic, et al, and eschew Metaphysic. They can - and should - be mutually exclusive and, thereby, an end put to these exhaustive debates. To which, I add my .02...

"Less Filling."
posted by UncleFes at 12:52 PM on February 18, 2002


We will never see an atom though (just as we'll never see a god) but yet we still believe. Behold
posted by JackFlash at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2002


KirkJobSluder - I think you misunderstand. GD779 is with his argument that you quoted speaking against teaching ID in school. The statement that you are arguing against actually supports your position.

Interesting - I always discounted the idea that people are just looking at the names and not what the names are saying. I may have been wrong.
posted by willnot at 1:10 PM on February 18, 2002


Evolution is a Fact and a Theory says Stephen J. Gould. And as far as the theory part of it goes, that certainly has 'evolved' over time, as one would expect with scientific inquiry. Evolution may refute the creation stories of religions, but that has nothing to do with the fact/theory of God.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:17 PM on February 18, 2002


We will never see an atom though (just as we'll never see a god) but yet we still believe. Behold

But can you prove that is an atom? You end up having to take someone's word (ie. have faith that they aren't lying to you)... In much the same way that some believe the shroud of turin is real... Etc.

I'm not saying that it isn't an atom, but we can never be sure that something is "true" unless we see it with our own eyes... And even than it can be wrong.
posted by drezdn at 1:55 PM on February 18, 2002


They can - and should - be mutually exclusive and, thereby, an end put to these exhaustive debates.

The problem is that everyone wants to know how the world began, and everybody wants to be right. So, a debate.

And historically, I don't think you very often saw scientists burning priests at the stake for their heathenistic views. [Sweeping Generalization]Rarely in the western world has science ever been a oppressive force.[/Sweeping Generalization]
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:24 PM on February 18, 2002


Now I'm just an average Joe, not a "big thinker," but it seems to me this can be resolved fairly simply. The concept of Intelligent Design appears to address one issue (the design), and leaves what happened thereafter to "science." So we have two disciplines: what happened "before" there was anything, and what's happened since. In the former, we have creationism, intelligent design, Hawking, quantum physics, "anything can come from nothing," etc. In the latter we have evolution. So you teach evolution as explaining everything that has happened from one nanosecond after the big bang. Everything else gets lumped together as "stuff people argue about because nobody knows," and you spend about five seconds on it in public school. Even the "science" of pre-big bang is so theoretical that it's not worth elevating over religious or spiritual theories (not saying one side or the other is right, just that they have about equivalent educational value).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2002


And historically, I don't think you very often saw scientists burning priests at the stake for their heathenistic views.

Hence my staunch and bloody campaigns under the banner of Science against the theists. But, after so many battles, to see another brewing when the debate - over the beginning of the world, to use your example - is so meaningless (in that the religious will always believe in a created world, the secular will always believe in an evolving world, and the twain shan't meet) as to beggar the question.

The real battle here is for the minds of schoolchildren. Science wants empyricism and critical thinking taught, Religion wants to prosyletize a generation of potential converts, and the fools that populate the school boards (quite possibly, the elected position least difficult to obtain) are often so ignorant of the nature of their job that they are subject to endless manipulation. To end it: For good or ill, the school system today is a wing of the state and federal government; we have a policy of separation of church and state, that explicitly says that the government may not sponsor and/or support a specific religion over another. Since ID is at its fundament a theological theory, its teaching violates the separation of church and state. You cannot prosyletize in a state-funded school. EoS.

Those who wish to see that their children are educated as to ID - which is perfectly within their rights - should seek to place them in schools that are not state-funded and wherein the teaching of ID would not be sanctioned - to wit, Catholic or other religious-based schools, of which their are a plentitude, or consider the increasingly popular option of home schooling, either formally or informally.
posted by UncleFes at 2:51 PM on February 18, 2002


Hob: ... who is to say that the next generation's Einstein might not someday say something like, "Say, if we postulate an infinitely powerful creator, then X, and if X, then here, have an extra-light-speed engine."

Well, no, he won't, for several reasons. The reason I'd like to highlight is actually quite mundane:

He won't because when he shows up for his job interview at Extra-Light-Speed-Engines Inc., and the Chief Scientist sees on his resume that he learned science at West Bumfuck College of Creation Science, the Chief Scientist won't give him the job. He'll never get the opportunity to invent his warp drive.

And that is my real concern about teaching ID or any other third-rate nonstandard curriculum: American students are already getting creamed by foreign competition. Why oh why would we further throw in the towel and give students anything but the best? This is almost a national security issue: for all the worst reasons, our schools are turning out dumber and dumber kids. How will they compete when we insist on dumbing them down?
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 2:57 PM on February 18, 2002


West Bumfuck College of Creation Science

Hey! I got an Associate's degree in Theocratical Physics - from there.
posted by UncleFes at 3:04 PM on February 18, 2002


Go WBCCS "Monkeyspankers!"

heh heh heh

posted by UncleFes at 3:06 PM on February 18, 2002


UncleFes: Go WBCCS "Monkeyspankers!"

I may have just stumbled into a lucrative new career in educational consulting...
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 3:20 PM on February 18, 2002


As a student, I have found that teachers tend to teach what they want to teach, and if it is of a subjective or controversial nature, they will take their own stance on issues. The key to doing extremely well on tests and in any class is finding out what each teacher thinks is important. Mandating that they must teach something so trivial as Intelligent Design will most likely do nothing to change their teaching styles, and ID deserves only a brief mention if anything anyway, hell the term "intelligent design" is pretty self-explanatory don't you agree?
posted by banished at 3:27 PM on February 18, 2002


For those quoting Gould. Please read:

Why Stephen Jay Gould is bad for evolution
posted by jeblis at 3:35 PM on February 18, 2002


Drezdn: [first post] we believe that everything is made up of atoms because that's what we were taught in science class. We will never see an atom ... yet we still believe.

This just proves my point. (1) As JackFlash beat me in showing, people see atoms all the time, and (2) I don't mean to beat up on Drezdn, but if every American child received a proper science education, Drezdn (and they) would know that people see atoms all the time and would not make such a mistake.

Drezdn: [second post] ... can you prove that is an atom? You end up having to take someone's word ...... we can never be sure that something is "true" unless we see it with our own eyes...

Okay, Drezdn, now I will beat up on you. :-) Your eyes are probably the least trustworthy instrument you could choose. Do you know how your eyes work? Have you had them audited? I'm serious. Could you take them apart and calibrate them? Then put them back together? Can I and three other judges please open your skull and peer-review the process by which visual perception makes its way through your eyes and brain, then every word of your description makes its way to your mouth? For a scientific instrument like the STM, the answer is a resounding "yes" to all these objections.

Real scientists don't waste time with Epistemology 101. They've already been there, done that. Real scientists roll up their sleeves and get stuff done.

Crummy science education produces citizens unable to use science, and unable to make informed decisions about education and science policy.

C'mon, folks, Americans invented modern science. This is our heritage. This is our culture. Let's teach it to our kids.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2002


Hieronymous Coward, my point is that you never actually see atoms themselves, only the results of atoms (the structures that results from millions of atoms combining)... What I'm attempting to convey is the lack of skepticism people have towards want science tells us.

Skepticism is healthy even in science.

Think about it. If everyone assumes that Einstein is correct, than man will never travel faster than the speed of light. If however, someone finds a flaw in Einstein's thinking then one day we may be able to travel faster than the speed of light...

from Run Lola Run
"The Ball is round...
The game lasts 90 minutes...
the rest is theory."

This sums up my opinion of science.
posted by drezdn at 3:47 PM on February 18, 2002


I suppose I should stay out of this though because I'm arguing philosophy, a broader idea about science and life, rather than whether or not Intelligent Design is right or wrong...

But than again most early scientists were philosophers (as were most early psychologists)
posted by drezdn at 3:51 PM on February 18, 2002


Americans invented modern science.

Funny, I didn't know Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were Americans. Jes ignerant, I guess.
posted by signal at 4:08 PM on February 18, 2002


drezdn - I get what you're saying (sort of), but what you seem to be leaving out is the idea that science experiments are repeatable. You could if you wanted to build your own scanning tunneling microscope and see the atoms for yourself. It would take a lot of money and a lot of training and specialized knowledge, but you could do it.

But, you don't have to due to the magic of a little think called peer review. See when scientist 1 looks through the view finder and says guys, I think I've found the atom, scientist 2 3 and 4 run out and do the experiments themselves to confirm.

Sure, maybe all the scientists got together and decided to pull a fast one and stage the moon landing on a Hollywood soundstage, but they'd have to convince every single science student to be in on it from now until the end of time to get that to hold up. Eventually somebody who got into it for the love of learning is going to poke their heads up and say hey these people are all a bunch of cons.

Since that hasn't happened, it's reasonable to proceed on the assumption we haven't been lied to - particularly as it doesn't much matter one way or the other. You might just as well hold up a dishrag and ask us to prove it’s a dish rag. Once you get past a weak semantic/philosophical/metaphysical argument, you’re left with the fact that it is a dishrag because it behaves like a dishrag, and it is convenient to think of it as such.
posted by willnot at 4:10 PM on February 18, 2002


Drezdn: you never actually see atoms themselves, only the results of atoms ...

True, but that is even more true of your eyes. You never see anything, what you "see" is the highly indirect result of a lengthy closed process involving rhodopsin electrochemistry, memory formation, etc. With a device like the STM, the process is quite simple and is wide open to review. You trust what you understand, and "seeing" with the STM is far better understood than seeing with the eye. But enough about seeing...

What I'm attempting to convey is the lack of skepticism people have towards want science tells us. Skepticism is healthy even in science.

But science is institutionalized skepticism.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:46 PM on February 18, 2002


True, but that is even more true of your eyes. You never see anything, what you "see" is the highly indirect result of a lengthy closed process involving rhodopsin electrochemistry, memory formation, etc. With a device like the STM, the process is quite simple and is wide open to review. You trust what you understand, and "seeing" with the STM is far better understood than seeing with the eye. But enough about seeing...

HC, you're putting it backwards. The only thing you know for sure is that you have certain perceptions. You are right to observe that you don't know if they're veridical, but that same observation entirely undermines any claim you might make about electrochemistry, etc. -- because, obviously, the only way we form any scientific theory is by assuming that when we observe the results of the experiments we do, we are somehow observing something real.

That is, if you don't simply accept that our perceptions allow us to observe something "real", you never get anywhere. Our perceptions must be prior to any science, even the science of perception.
posted by mattpfeff at 5:11 PM on February 18, 2002


I think well of all skepticism to which I may reply "Let us try it." But I no longer want to hear anything of all those things and questions which do not permit experiments. This is the limit of my "sense of truth" for there courage has lost its rights. Nietzsche
posted by onegoodmove at 7:04 PM on February 18, 2002


Best.Thread.Ever. (applauds) Kudos to all.(/applause)
posted by Lynsey at 8:00 PM on February 18, 2002


Ok. I'm definitely no scientist and so I am a bit confused with this line of logic

1. A scientific theory is as close to an absolute as you are going to get

2. Evolution is a scientific theory

3. The only way we form any scientific theory is by assuming that when we observe the results of the experiments we do, we are somehow observing something real

4. Science experiments are repeatable

If this is all true then why is it scientifcally more valid to believe that we were created by chance out of chaos and formed, again by chance, into order than to believe there may have been intelligent design behind our origins? Both are ultimately unable to be verified by repeatable scientific experiments... aren't they?

'But I no longer want to hear anything of all those things and questions which do not permit experiments.'

How can we experiment on a theory in which something can come from nothing with no conscious or deliberate design or creation?
posted by Danielle_T at 8:50 PM on February 18, 2002


I would like Danielle's question answered.
posted by aaronshaf at 10:02 PM on February 18, 2002


I am a bit confused with this line of logic

There is no line of logic there, those are simply four separate arguments that have been offered here.

why is it scientifcally more valid to believe that we were created by chance out of chaos and formed, again by chance, into order than to believe there may have been intelligent design behind our origins?

There are two sorts of answers to this kind of question. One is, there is the presumption that the first type of scenario you describe ("created by chance") is one that science will ultimately be able to make sense of, and offer some explanation for; whereas the latter scenario -- the intelligent design scenario -- appeals to some power that by definition answers to no scientific explanation.

The other sort of answer is that, yes, there are some questions we will never have any answer for, but it would be a mistake to therefore posit some mysterious, unknowable and unnatural explanation just to fill that void. Rather, we should accept that there will never be any evidence for any explanation one way or the other, and leave it as an unknown. In other words, face uncertainty rather than subscribe to a belief we have no good reason to hold.

(This of course does not rule out the possibility that "there may have been intelligent design behind our origins", as you say; it's only an argument against believing that there is an intelligent design, given the fact is that there is no good argument for it (i.e., there's no evidence or data that the physical sciences cannot otherwise account for).)
posted by mattpfeff at 10:44 PM on February 18, 2002


In answer to Danielle's question - first of all, I would take issue with #1. It is true that a "theory" means an overarching explanation which explains a wide variety of observable phenomena - and thus, to get to the level of "theory" as opposed to hypothesis, there has to be a lot of supporting evidence. But I think it's overstating it to say that a theory is as close to fact as you can get - remember that Newton's theory of gravity lasted for a very, very long time before it was discovered to be incorrect.

I would also disagree with #3. A theory does not always rise and fall on experimentation. Rather, its validity is tested by comparing the predictions made by the theory with observable reality. Sometimes the observations are based on direct experimentation, but often they are not.

Furthermore, Danielle's question gets the theory of evolution wrong. The theory of evolution doesn't say that there is no creator or intelligent designer, only that none is necessary to explain the physical evidence we see around us in the world. Under the theory, it's certainly possible that there is an intelligent designer. No matter how much evidence builds up supporting the theory of evolution, it will never be able to disprove the existence of an intelligent creator.

That's because the idea of an intelligent creator has nothing to do with science, which simply isn't equipped to answer such questions. That is one of science's limitations - and those who try to extend science into the realm of either proving God exists or proving he doesn't are pushing the discipline beyond its capabilities.
posted by Chanther at 11:01 PM on February 18, 2002


Danielle_T: you may want to re-read the article that started off this thread. It's point was that there's precious little difference between the Darwinist view and the Intelligent Design view. Which is the same point that you're making, I think....
posted by electro at 11:26 PM on February 18, 2002


Danielle: How can we experiment on a theory in which something can come from nothing with no conscious or deliberate design or creation?

That's actually an area of vigorous investigation, and has been for a long while. The assumption that scientists have been trying to prove is that simple biological systems emerged from purely chemical systems. If this is true, it should be possible to recreate those conditions under which the first life-like systems began.

The best-known success in this field is over 40 years old now. Oro (Nature, 1961) found that hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, both of which were abundant in the early earth's atmosphere, spontaneously combine to form adenine, one of the nucleoside bases that make up RNA and DNA. There are other chemists (Eschenmoser, for example) who are studying other spontaneous syntheses of biologically important molecules. There's also a biologist named Gerald Joyce at the Scripps Institute who has been trying to engineer simple RNA enzymes that catalyze their own replication, which is what a lot of leading scientists now believe is what early life looked like.

It's all really beautiful, really interesting science. It's just hard to get funding doing research that's so far removed from practical application.
posted by shylock at 11:57 PM on February 18, 2002


The linked article claims, ID accepts that...species evolve through natural selection

Is that really so?!
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:58 PM on February 18, 2002


"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong."
-- Richard Feynman
posted by johnnyace at 1:32 AM on February 19, 2002


A word on scientific theories and repeatability. I think it's an article of faith to begin with, to suppose that just because something is repeatable, that it will continue to be repeatable. For example, I just picked up my pen and let go of it, and it fell. I could do it another ten zillion times, and it could fall every time, and that still wouldn't mean that there is such a thing as an absolute law of gravity that will affect that object in the same way every single time it is dropped, from now to the end of time. To even say it's more likely that it will drop than not drop is to suggest that the way things have been previously is always an indication of how they're going to happen in the future...and how can we argue that's the case, except with the tautological argument that so far it seems to be?

As far as we know, there is a little midget standing on the other side of a space-time curtain, controlling all the physical and chemical reactions we keep track of, allowing us to believe that there is some sort of universal consistency. But he could change the rules at any time. Maybe.
posted by bingo at 1:57 AM on February 19, 2002


Prove that the universe was not created, exactly as it is, five minutes ago. Can't do it? Don't feel bad, neither can anyone else.
posted by aaronshaf at 2:05 AM on February 19, 2002


Hieronymous: C'mon, folks, Americans invented modern science. This is our heritage.

Signal: Funny, I didn't know Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein were Americans.

And I didn't know Galileo (1564–1642) was modern...

Look, if I realized MeFi readers needed that much handholding I'd drop colloquial English and instead say something like "Starting around the mid-19th century, Americans and American institutions began to challenge the European monopoly in cutting-edge basic and applied research. By the mid-20th century the work coming out of America had overtaken that of Europe, as measured, e.g., by proportion of Nobel prizes, number of literature citations, magnitude of funding, and growth of research universities. Thus science is one of America's unique contributions to modern life, forming an important part of America's cultural heritage." There, 75 words that do the work of 4. :-P

Oh, and about Einstein... Einstein renounced his German citizenship and emigrated to America in 1933, and held US citizenship from 1940 until his death in 1955 in Princeton. While in America he was a magnet helping to attract talent from overseas (and funding from within), thus building precisely the post-war American dominance in science that I am talking about.

Signal: Jes ignerant, I guess.

No comment.

Okay, enough snark-hunting. What's important here is that America has been the world leader in science since at least WW2, largely on the strength of its ability to attract the best talent from other nations. The Herb Boyers and Ed Wittens and Stan Prusiners of this world don't run off to Czechoslovakia to do their work; and the Steve Chus and Martinus Veltmans of the world don't stay home. America is the place to do science nowadays. Thus for America to teach bad science to its own students is to trash its own heritage. It's like ignoring Jazz (which, unfortunately, we also do).

Or for those who don't care about heritage, I'll restate my core economic argument a bit more bluntly: teach a kid Creation Science and he'll flip burgers for life.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 2:09 AM on February 19, 2002


If this is all true then why is it scientifcally more valid to believe that we were created by chance out of chaos and formed, again by chance, into order than to believe there may have been intelligent design behind our origins? Both are ultimately unable to be verified by repeatable scientific experiments... aren't they?

The overemphasis on experiment is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of science. Basically a theory is held to be true if repeated observations in different contexts verify the predicted results of the theory. For example, in astronomy there are very few areas where it is possible to design an experiment. However you can take a theory like Hubble's law: The average red-shift of other galaxies increases in proportion to their distance from the Earth. You can't experimentally verify Hubble's law, you can't create a galaxy in the lab. You can collect more data and see if it fits. After collecting data on hundreds, and then thousands of galaxies, we can now say that Hubble's law is true.

Likewise with evolution the ammount of data proving that it exists is massive. In fact, more independent lines of evidence support evolution than exist for the existance of the Jovian moons. And yet, no one questions the existence of the Jovian moons, or even Pluto (an object who's existence is supported by only one line of evidence).
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:58 AM on February 19, 2002


i was just thinking it seems like intelligent design should fall under the category of metaphysics, which i think is the argument saletan seems to be making, but with hawking pushing the anthropic principle you kind of have to wonder.
posted by kliuless at 8:57 AM on February 19, 2002


Prove that the universe was not created, exactly as it is, five minutes ago. Can't do it? Don't feel bad, neither can anyone else.

Prove it was :)

Nah, don't bother. Just cite a single, concrete piece of evidence that suggests it was. That points in that general direction. That hints at it. That could even be remotely considered at hinting at it.

Can't do it? Don't feel bad, neither can anyone else :D
posted by UncleFes at 9:11 AM on February 19, 2002


And I didn't know Galileo (1564–1642) was modern...

I would consider that modern. But I would guess we're looking at different scopes. If you want to say post-WWII science or 20th century science, just say it.

Or for those who don't care about heritage, I'll restate my core economic argument a bit more bluntly: teach a kid Creation Science and he'll flip burgers for life.

And some would argue having a plentiful supply of burger flippers (or "customer service reps") is exactly the goal of current political trends regarding education.
posted by ahughey at 9:33 AM on February 19, 2002


Nah, don't bother. Just cite a single, concrete piece of evidence that suggests it was. That points in that general direction. That hints at it. That could even be remotely considered at hinting at it.

Problem is, either way you can't scientifically prove a thing.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:56 AM on February 19, 2002


Problem is, either way you can't scientifically prove a thing.

Ah, but there is physical evidence and the results of repeatable observation and experiment that points to general conclusions - which are continually modified as new evidence is discovered - for the various science-based theories of universal structure. Which is something that ID and all the other various forms of theocratically-based creation theories studiously and carefully avoid.

But even taking your point at face value - you can't prove it one way or another - what makes more sense? A big bang in which matter and energy explode under enormous pressure and mass and continues to expand (something we can observe happening today) OR an omniscient invisible magical being, whose capabilities and aspects are debated amongst it's most devoted followers to the point of warfare, who has not only set the entirely of the universe in motion for the sole benefit of the denizens of a smallish planet in a backwater arm of an off-the-beaten path galaxy BUT ALSO planted a bunch of fake-out evidence on (and off) said planet to fool the still-very-much-genetically-apelike inhabitants for no apparent reason AND THEN keeps the whole caper to itself, save for a couple of long, rather boring books that smack of mythology, filled with tales ranging from outright fantasy to thinly-disguised allegory to blantantly disprovable "history," have dubious authorship and suffer the depradations of multiple imperfect translations?
posted by UncleFes at 12:20 PM on February 19, 2002


Metafilter: the place to debate all the fine points of caviar -- while your own children starve to death for want of bread.

We've spent 10,000 words in this thread pondering such earthshaking issues as: Can I trust what I see? How do I know the universe isn't an illusion? Is Galileo "modern"? etc.

NO ONE CARES (or should care).

While we fiddle, Rome burns. Here in the capital of modern science we permit weirdo ideologues to teach bad science to our own kids. (It's no surprise: we permit marketers to feed them bad food.)

Thus I refuse to rehash Epistemology 101, I refuse to polish my own minor comments to a flawless sheen, and I refuse to entertain conspiracy theories.

Ohio is a state of 11 million people, 2 million of them school-age. Introducing junk science into Ohio classrooms won't automatically turn all 2 million into moronic zombies, anymore than feeding them Big Macs will automatically give them all cardiac disease, but it does keep chipping away at the pillar. "Let's take 2 million kids and make them all just a little bit dumber, a little bit less competitive, a little bit more confused." Great.

Enough talk: action. Time to write a letter to the Ohio school board, explaining dismay that Ohio is wasting its time, money, and minds on junk science.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 2:45 PM on February 19, 2002


For those MeFiers who share my desire to replace talk with action, I'll make it easy: here are the names and addresses of all Ohio school board members, ready to paste into your email client.

Jennifer L. Sheets <Jennifer.Sheets@ode.state.oh.us>
Cyrus B. Richardson Jr. <Cyrus.Richardson@ode.state.oh.us>
Susan Zelman <sdea_zelman@ode.state.oh.us>
Virginia E. Jacobs <Virginia.Jacobs@ode.state.oh.us>
Martha W. Wise <Martha.Wise@ode.state.oh.us>
Carl Wick <Carl.Wick@ode.state.oh.us>
G. R. "Sam" Schloemer <George.Schloemer@ode.state.oh.us>
Marlene R. Jennings <Marlene.Jennings@ode.state.oh.us>
Michael Cochran <otacochran@aol.com>
Deborah Owens Fink <deb@uakron.edu>
Jennifer Stewart <Jennifer.Stewart@ode.state.oh.us>
Virgil E. Brown Jr. <Virgil.Brown@ode.state.oh.us>

Richard E. Baker
Thomas E. McClain <mcclain@battele.com>
Joseph D. Roman
Emerson J. Ross Jr.
Jo Ann Thatcher
James L. Turner
Sue Westendorf <Sue.Westendorf@ode.state.oh.us>

Governor Bob Taft <Governor.Taft@das.state.oh.us>
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:06 PM on February 19, 2002


We've spent 10,000 words in this thread pondering such earthshaking issues as: Can I trust what I see? How do I know the universe isn't an illusion? Is Galileo "modern"? etc.

NO ONE CARES (or should care).

I refuse to rehash Epistemology 101


Sounds like an epistemological argument to me.

Anyway, I care about those issues, and I think that they are issues worth caring about. After all, if we shouldn't care about them in and of themselves, why should we care so much how they are dealt with in school? And why should we write to anyone on that list?
posted by bingo at 2:08 AM on February 21, 2002


AiG's response to evolution.
posted by aaronshaf at 10:37 AM on June 4, 2002


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