Monday, May 18, 2009

What are you afraid of?

I was watching a video between a lady from the Family Research Council (FRC) pitching the idea of “teaching the controversy,” by allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID) alongside Evolution in science classrooms, and someone opposing the idea.

During the exchange the FRC type asked “what are you afraid of?” The implication of course being there was reason to fear that students would choose ID over Evolution.

I had to think about that one for a second. Normally it’s the religious types that are trying to censor discussion. I’ve asked that question myself saying let’s put our “truths” on the table and let the light of reason shine on them and see which one wins.

However, there is a hidden assumption here. The hidden assumption is that those making the decision are competent to make that decision and knowledgeable enough to spot spurious claims. You will excuse me but most high school students don’t meet either criterion.

I reject placing ID upon an equal footing with Evolution simply because ID has not demonstrated it is science. The ID proponents have not published in peer reviewed journals and have not impressed even a minuscule portion of the scientific community that what they are pitching is science. There is almost universal agreement that ID is religion and that it violates the scientific assumption of naturalism.

Naturalism is a necessary restriction for science because non-naturalistic hypotheses cannot be falsified and a scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable. Even if ID or Creationism is correct, they are still not science!

I know that sounds a bit weird but its true. Science has a blind spot. It cannot include any hypothesis that relies upon the supernatural.

So ID is not science just like Holocaust Denial is not history. Deborah Lipstadt, the author of “Denying the Holocaust,” was once asked why she doesn’t debate Holocaust deniers; didn’t she want to defend her position against the other side? Lipstadt replied that there is no other side and debating a denier would extend to Holocaust Denial a recognition it did not deserve.

Same thing with the Theory of Evolution, there is no scientific alternative and to treat ID or Creationism as if they were an alternative would be to extend to them a recognition they do not deserve.

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