A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

And They Call This SCIENCE???

And now, back to Kansas. With a marvelous little tidbit from the blog The American Street:

During the course of the hearings, the lawyer on the side of science, Pedro Irigonegaray, asked several of the witnesses for Intelligent Design creationism what they thought the age of the earth was. It’s a simple, straightforward question with a simple answer: about 4.5 billion years. The Intelligent Design creationists found it difficult. Some answers were ludicrous, such as Daniel Ely’s and John Sanford’s assertion that the earth was between 10 and 100 thousand years old. Others were evasive: Stephen Meyer and Angus Menuge refused to answer. Some of these “qualified witnesses” were embarrassingly ignorant: William Harris could only say, “I don’t know. I think it’s probably really old.”

"I don't know. I think its probably really old."

If any religious partisan of Intelligent Design wants to know why a secular atheist or an agnostic holds them in intellectual contempt, the answer lies right here. They deserve it.

As a philosophical argument for the existence of God, the Argument From Design (to give it it's traditional philosophical name) commands anyone's serious intellectual attention. You don't have to believe it, but, to retain intellectual respect in the discipline of Philosophy, you must address it, and either refute it, or offer a serious counter argument to it.

But as a sensible theory explaining how the interactions of Biology work, the Theory of Intelligent Design is a piece of bogus claptrap. It answers none of the serious questions about the biological world, or its place in the chemical and the physical world, little questions like: How old is the Earth?

Doing science is like building a brick wall. One brick is stuck to the other until you have a structure that you can't simply ignore and just step through. The Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection is a brick in a wall of science that extends across multiple disciplines and provides a coherent explanation of literally thousands of indisputable evidential facts. It answers thousands of real questions, with answers that make sense and lead to other answers.

The Theory of Intelligent Design does none of this.

Anybody can construct, through speculation, any theoretical brick they like. I can whip up a Theory of Invisible Space Alien Seeding, where each new species is brought from the planet Zircon and, once ejected from hyperspace by the Zirconians, mysteriously appears on Earth, perfectly suited to take its place among the chorus of Nature.

But I can't tell you how old the Earth is with my Theory either. Guess why. My theory is mere Science Fiction.

You may not like the exact color of any brick that's in the scientific wall. You may object to its shape or the amount of mortar around it. You may deplore that a trowel mark or two remains in that mortar. That doesn't give you the power to walk through the wall.

The Theory of Intelligent Design is intellectual hooey and bogus science. It no more belongs in a biology textbook, or a biology class than the Theory of Invisible Space Alien Seeding.