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Equal Time For Creationism 3451

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-say-something-nice dept.
Brian Berns writes "Many news sources reported on President Bush's recent semi-endorsement of 'intelligent design', the politically correct version of creationism that is currently in vogue among groups of conservative Christians in the U.S.. While Mr. Bush was reportedly reluctant to make news on this topic, he apparently felt it was an issue he could not duck. Most of those same news sources, however, missed the recent condemnation of Darwinian evolution by the Catholic cardinal archbishop of Vienna. This NY Times op-ed appears to mark a deliberate attempt to reverse the late Pope John Paul II's acceptance of evolution as 'more than just a hypothesis'."
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Equal Time For Creationism

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:58AM (#13239548)

    Oh, dear God...the Intelligent Design debate rears its ugly head once again. I predict a thousand comments on this story...easy.

    OK...let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

    Intelligent Design is not just unproven, it is inherently unprovable. Intelligent Design is not a science in any sense, but a theology, and as such, its place is in the church/mosque/synagogue/whatever, not in the classroom.

    (Note: during these debates, the issue of my own faith is always raised, so let me address that now. I am a Christian. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ died so that we may be saved.)

    HOWEVER , I do not believe that such matters of faith should be taught in schools. I know that my faith is inherently unprovable...that's pretty much the definition of 'faith'. Matters of unproven, unprovable faith belong in your chosen place of worship. Matters of proven, or at least provable fact belong in the secular classroom.
    • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#13239574)
      I have to say that the world would be a better place if more Christians were like you.
      • by pizen (178182) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:10AM (#13239717)
        So true. Or at least if the ones that are were more vocal. I think the people giving Christianity a bad name are in the minority among Christians but they are, unfortunately, a very vocal minority.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:52AM (#13240392)
          it's not just the very vocal minority, but the media that chooses to run only sensationalist stories about the minority, and never provide any scale to reality.
          • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012.pota@to> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:09PM (#13241587)
            It's not just the media choosing to run only sensationalist stories, but media consumers, who mainly buy crap and leave thoughtful articles unread.

            And it's not just the media consumers, but the brains of media consumers, which were hardwired by evolution to prefer gossip, political posturing, and photos of pretty girls and cute babies eating ice cream over thoughtful, rational discourse.

            So nobody believes in evolution because of evolution. Which to my mind pretty much proves that there's no intelligent designer involved in this process.
            • by jjjefff (525754) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:28PM (#13242630) Homepage
              So nobody believes in evolution because of evolution. Which to my mind pretty much proves that there's no intelligent designer involved in this process.

              Unless the designer's motives are not what you think...
            • by Rei (128717) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:42PM (#13242799) Homepage
              There's only one way to get this out of the media: a compromise. And there's only a fair way to compromise: equal time, just like the creationists want. Cover both timelines with equal detail devoted to equal periods of time.

              Of course, since the evolutionary timeline runs for ~4.5 billion years and the ID timeline for ~6,000 years, that would mean giving it about one second per school year.
        • by TopShelf (92521) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:03PM (#13240583) Homepage Journal
          You could say the same about Muslims these days. The most consistent portrayal of Islam in the mainstream press relates (quite naturally) to the terrorist incidents which occur almost daily. While moderates may claim that those people "aren't really" Muslims, they are clearly motivated by their religious beliefs.

          Just label me agnokapathetic*. While taking Classical Greek in college I came up with that word, which best describes my beliefs in this area.

          *I really oughta copyright that word.
        • by kaellinn18 (707759) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:24PM (#13240906) Homepage Journal
          There are those of us who feel like TMM, but the minute anyone says anything that would be moderate or go against the ultra-conservative right, they are immediately ripped apart.

          The most recent incident that comes to mind is Senator Frist's support of more federal funding for stem cell research. He has since been ripped up publicly by ultra-right groups such as James Dobson's (*shudder*) Focus on the Family.

          I find it highly upsetting that not only must those kinds of fundamentalist Christians try to force their beliefs on the nation, but also that they must resort to attacking their fellow believers in public forums in order to further their cause. This, to me, is inherently non-Christian behavior, and it makes me sad to see my so-called brothers in Christ act this way. In the end, it only serves to hurt their agenda by making us all look like hypocrits.
    • by a whoabot (706122)
      Just like Phillip Johnson and his Intelligent Design Movement I support placing creationism over scientific theories in science classes. But I'm just being an agent provocateur.

      If the trend continues, it will no doubt bring about the fall of reason in American culture, essentially the fall of Western(that's where it's derived from I guess, of course reason can be found in the cultures of various geographic locations, not just the West) culture in America. And then the fall of America itself, which is good
    • You stole my post! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      The only thing I might disagree with is the statement that it does not belong in the classroom. It could very well belong in a philosophy classroom or a theology classroom but not in a biology class room.
      I will go a little farther. I have been to some lectures on Intelligent Design. I found them deeply disturbing. They where full of at best bad science if not out right lies. I found them deeply disturbing on religious grounds. Part of my faith is a belief that lies do not serve God.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858)
        One thing I do feel this debate highlights is the problem with science teaching in modern educational systems. Science is taught almost as a religion - you are taught that certain things are true about the universe. If science were taught well, you would learn that everything you are being taught in science is a lie (but a convenient lie, and the closest approximation of the truth we know so far).

        If we want to keep religion out of science then we have to stop teaching science as a religion.

    • Creationists and IDists - careful what you say [slashdot.org]. You could be blocked from posting for over a month.
    • by Dread_ed (260158) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:23PM (#13240892) Homepage
      Matters of faith definitely do not need to be taught in science class.

      I am a Christian with specific beliefs about the Bible based on study of the scriptures from the original languages as found in the oldest/most accurate possible manuscripts.

      The things I believe and have read in the Bible are not accurately represented by the ID/creationist crowd.

      I venture to say that just about every Christian denomination has a slightly different take on the whole Creationist idea. Even within each denomination there is variance.

      Allowing someone in the public school system to teach my childern about non-secular matters is ludicrous. I have a church to learn all about God, from people who actually believe what they are teaching and have a reason to investigate it and understand it.

      I could not hold these "Christians" that would allow the public school system to teach their childern a bastardized and generic form of their theology in lower regard. They would sacrifice the truth of what they believe (the variances in creationism's proponents beliefs) in order to have some sort of political advantage. In my opinion they are taking their faith and using it as a blunt instrument to beat the "unbelievers" with all the while neglecting the spiritual education of their own children.

      Creationism and ID do have a place in the classroom, but it is in philosophy class. If Christian activists want to make a difference maybe they could use their considerable political clout (which they seem all too eager to use and abuse) to get philosophy classes introduced in earlier class levels. As it is most people have to wait until college to be able to take it as an elective.

      Considering the benefits of the critical thinking skills developed when studying philosophy I would think that any self respecting Christian would love this to be available to their children.

      Then again a self repsecting Christian stays out of politics, teaches their children about theology themselves, and realizes that privacy is important in spiritual matters.
  • Film at 1100 A.D. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XorNand (517466) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:58AM (#13239549)
    Sooo... a leader of the Catholic Church favors the teachings of the Bible over science? This isn't even news over at the 700 Club; it's certainly not 'news for nerds'. Guess Zonk just felt like fanning a religious flame war this morning.
    • Re:Film at 1100 A.D. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Proaxiom (544639) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:25AM (#13239944)
      Actually the Catholic Church has generally stayed away from confrontations with scientific theory ever since getting egg on its face around the Galileo fiasco and heliocentrism.

      A nineteenth century pope (Leo the somethingth, I think) went so far as to lay out sensible boundaries for religion and science, essentially asserting that science has no business telling people what to believe about God, and the Church has no business entering into debates over empirical study.

      Accordingly, the Church has never actually opposed most of Darwinism, and has tacitly accepted it, with the critical caveats that Catholics cannot believe in the process being 'random', as whatever happened has to be part of God's plan. (Also, Catholics have to believe that humans exclusively have souls.)

      This position won't change any time soon, notwithstanding the odd vocal Archbishop.

      • Re:Film at 1100 A.D. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:56AM (#13240453) Journal
        Pope Pius XII's 1950 encyclical Humani Generis [vatican.va] asserts that Evolution, as long as it is not used to uphold atheism, is not in conflict with the teachings of the church.
        For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.
  • Intelligent debate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:58AM (#13239551)
    While I fully acknowledge that there are Creationists out there who quite literally believe the Bible's version of the creation of the Earth and our species, and indeed the universe, reject evolution out-of-hand, and ignorantly stand steadfastly against science, there is an actual place for philosophical debate about why we're here.

    "Intelligent design", not in a form that has been co-opted by anti-evolution Creationists and people who think pi should be equal to exactly 3, has a place in this debate.

    Does it have a place in a biology class? No.

    Does it have a place in a philosophy class? Absolutely.

    I rather liked this sequence from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Patrick Stewart elegantly sums up my, and likely many others', thoughts on this matter.

    DATA: I have a question, sir. What is death?

    PICARD: Oh, is that all?

    You've picked probably the most difficult of all questions, Data.

    [There is the beginning of a twinkle in Picard's eyes again. It is the sort of question that his mind loves.]

    Some explain it by inventing gods wearing their own form...and argue that the purpose of the entire universe is to maintain themselves in their present form in an Earth-like garden which will give them pleasure through all eternity. And at the other extreme, assuming that is an "extreme," are those who prefer the idea of our blinking into nothingness with all our experiences, hopes and dreams only an illusion.

    DATA: Which do you believe?

    PICARD: Considering the marvelous complexity of our universe, its clockwork perfection, its balances of this against that... matter, energy, gravitation, time, dimension, pattern, I believe our existence must mean more than a meaningless illusion. I prefer to believe that my and your existence goes beyond Euclidian and other "practical" measuring systems... and that, in ways we cannot yet fathom, our existence is part of a reality beyond what we understand now as reality.


    It's unfortunate that rabid anti-science Creationists have bastardized this debate, so that we can't really have a frank discussion about the science and theory of evolution on a backdrop of philosophical questions about how and why we're here.

    In my 7th grade biology class, I'll never forget a kid raising his hand during the section on evolution and asking, "What about the Bible?" After a pause, the teacher replied, quite simply, "Well, some might say the Bible tells what God did, and science explains how he did it." Whether or not you agree fundamentally with religion in any form, it was a concise, non-confrontational answer to an honest question.

    I do find it interesting the links that the submitter chose. For instance, a link of a center attempting to discredit Darwinian evolution was picked for "Intelligent Design" (in an obvious attempt to elicit a certain reaction), while the Wikipedia link was picked for Creationism. Why not pick the Wikipedia link for Intelligent Design [wikipedia.org], too, which describes in a pretty unbiased fashion what it generally is? Intelligent Design might not be science, but it certainly has a place in philosophy. And further, Intelligent Design and Creationism are NOT the same thing. That some Creationists have co-opted the term is unfortunate, but still doesn't make Creationism equal to Intelligent Design.

    And is it any surprise that an agent of the Catholic Church condemns evolution? I mean, come on, people...is this really news? Why don't we have a front page slashdot story about what the Muslim Brotherhood believes?

    Intelligent Design, at its most basic level, asks that with all the beauty, wonder, and astounding perfection that make up the physical world around us, and indeed the science itself which proves it to be more and more elegant as time goes on, might there possibly be a force that surpasses our understanding that has allowed for, or caused, its, and our, creation? Is this provable? Nope. Is it
    • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:03AM (#13239622) Homepage
      It's unfortunate that rabid anti-science Creationists have bastardized this debate, so that we can't really have a frank discussion about the science and theory of evolution on a backdrop of philosophical questions about how and why we're here.

      It's unfortunate that the President of a developed country who is in direct charge of some of the most powerful and awesome technologies created by scientists continues to push an agenda that is anti-science.

      Let's keep the Government's representatives' religious beliefs and traditions out of our personal lives please.
      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:12AM (#13239739)
        It's unfortunate that the President of a developed country who is in direct charge of some of the most powerful and awesome technologies created by scientists continues to push an agenda that is anti-science.

        I agree.

        But what does this have to do with anything I said?

        I'm glad you're so righteously smug in your ethical beliefs regarding what can and can't be done with embryos, since that is almost certainly to what you're referring.

        Personally, speaking as someone whose training has been almost exclusively in medical science, I fully support embryonic stem cell research. We have embryos that are and will continue to be destroyed today, that could absolutely be harvested for research. However, to ignore any ethical debate on such issues is just as ignorant as you'd paint the opposition. Scientifically, an embryo is, strictly speaking "human life"; so, when and why is it ok to end such life, regardless of the state it may be in? Why should we not examine the important ethical questions? There is absolutely no doubt that significant scientific benefit could come from cloning or farming of humans in more developed forms. So should we push forward with things such as that, full force? Or should we ask important questions that define our very humanity?

        On this closely related topic: I am also not anti-abortion. But abortion is not only a "medical procedure", and not only about a "woman's choice". A life is ended. I am willing to concede that it ultimately be better, societally, for unwanted children to not be born. It does somewhat fly in the face of the concept that actions have consequences, but indeed, the action of forcing someone to have a baby they don't want itself has consequences. Consequences that will be manifestly negative. However, the assertion that abortion is only about "life" or "choice" are equally disingenuous. It's about both.
        • by garcia (6573) *
          I'm glad you're so righteously smug in your ethical beliefs regarding what can and can't be done with embryos, since that is almost certainly to what you're referring.

          I'm glad you're always so righteously smug in your assumptions on what others are saying, but in this case you couldn't be more wrong.

          What I was referring to was the fact that the President holds his religious beliefs above all else even when it might not be in the best interests of the country he presides over. The President of our country s
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#13239576)
    Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists: "Not all opinions are of equal value, and we need to teach science - not religion -- in our science classes. We wouldn't teach astrology in astronomy courses, or give flat-earth teachings 'equal time' in the geography class."
    • "....We wouldn't teach astrology in astronomy courses, or give flat-earth teachings 'equal time' in the geography class."

      Give it time, give it time.

    • by falzer (224563) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:10AM (#13239704)
      The American Geophysical Union also weighs in [agu.org] on this recent news.

      Quote:

      "Scientific theories, like evolution, relativity and plate tectonics, are based on hypotheses that have survived extensive testing and repeated verification," Spilhaus says. "The President has unfortunately confused the difference between science and belief. It is essential that students understand that a scientific theory is not a belief, hunch, or untested hypothesis."
    • by dr_dank (472072) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:57PM (#13241390) Homepage Journal
      "Not all opinions are of equal value, and we need to teach science - not religion -- in our science classes. We wouldn't teach astrology in astronomy courses, or give flat-earth teachings 'equal time' in the geography class."

      In this modern era of anti-intellectualism in the US, many would dismiss this statement out-of-hand as an arrogant, godless, know-it-all liberal who mocks the very foundation of our Christian nation. Rational debate with these types of people is a wasted effort.

      These are the same people who thought that, given some extra time, Jesus would come riding down on his magical unicorn to shit a new brain into Terry Shivo's head. People will believe what they want to believe and nothing will change that.
  • Equal Time (Score:3, Informative)

    by helix400 (558178) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#13239608) Journal
    The article said nothing about Bush supporting "Equal Time". Also, why lump Bush with other religious leaders who condemn evolution? This whole summary smacks of Slashdot sensationalism.
  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:03AM (#13239619) Homepage
    from: Bush Urges Schools to Dump Old Evolution Curriculum for 'New Biology' [ridiculopathy.com]


    CRAWFORD, TEXAS- For decades the United States has been lagging behind other countries when it comes to education, particularly in the sciences. Mainly this has been blamed on a lack of funding and national attention, but some pedagogical experts like President George W. Bush feel that other factors might be at work. For example, the President says that biology textbooks are horribly out of date, based on the 19th century writings of a man who wasn't even an American citizen.

    If the US is to remain competitive in the world market, its young people are going to need an updated understanding of the world around them. To this end, the President today proposed a federal funding mechanism to encourage local schools to replace the antiquated notions of evolution and cosmology with the a origination theory making waves in Internet-based think tanks all over Middle America: Intelligent Design.
  • Oh Joy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:04AM (#13239630)
    Let the rehashed arguments begin. Let me summarize 90% of the forthcoming posts...

    25%: Creationists are stupid idiots who are basically Luddite Talibans without the beards.

    40%: Creationists are wrong for x y z reasons.

    10%: Defending particular versions of creationism that are basically compatible with the non-metaphysical aspects of evolution.

    15%: We went to Iraq for the oil. And people in Kansas are stupid.

    So how about we just skip the posting on this article, and move on to the next? The repetitious was the Slashdot community deals with posts regarding evolution is boring.
  • The Arguement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thoolie (442789) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:04AM (#13239635) Homepage
    The arguement that the "Intellegent Design" folks put forth is that, "It's impossible to have a system as complex as human beings WITHOUT someone doing the desiging...the odds of it happening are just too small"

    I find that if people look at simple statistics, they would see that not only is it possible, but we HAVE to be here (atleast if you subscribe to Hawkings POV), that is, if the universe is infinite, and time is infinite, then, no matter how small the statistical probability is (e.g. there is only a .00000000001% chance that evolution could work), that in an infinite system, it will STILL HAVE TO HAPPEN, no matter how small.

    SO, if you say, "It can't happen because statistically, it is too small...", you are still leaving the door open to it happening, and in an infinite universe, it will HAVE to happen.

    Yea, pretty simple.

    Think of it as the chance is .0000000000001% * X, if X->inf, then we get, eventually, 1.
    • I think you miss the point of evolution, it's not random dumb luck that it happened upon a fantastic design - evolution isn't random selection, it's natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, and probably other selection mechanisms we haven't discovered yet. Evolution is in a sense guided - there are demonstratable mechanisms at work selecting the very best variations in offspring and discarding the rest.

      The universe does not appear to be infinite, nor does the time it has existing for. Evolution i
    • Counterargument (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aguila (235963)
      Unfortunately, the parent argument is flawed. I will not dispute that while small, there is a finite probability of an intelligent life form evolving. Thus, given an infinite universe and infinite time, intelligent life would occur. However, I believe that you have glossed over some assumptions:

      a) The universe is infinite spacially...
      This is just wrong and not worth discussing. You may get varying opinions about the rate of expansion/contraction of the universe from astronomers, but the scientific community
    • Re:The Arguement (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dalutong (260603)
      Especially since we had an infinite amount of time for it to happen. It would be more confusing if it hadn't taken billions of years. The # of chemical interactions that happen in billions of years is tremendous.

      And I have to ask -- if ID is indeed true, then aren't single-cell organisms God's primary children? And who's to say we're the end product? It took such a long time to get humans from proto-humans -- maybe those proto-humans thought THEY were the end product. And then we came. So who's to say we're
  • by Saggi (462624) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:05AM (#13239645) Homepage
    In my beliefs I have a very short version of the relation between God and Science, especially in regards to the creation.

    Let's put it like a question:

    "If you should create mankind, and do it really smart. How would you do it?"

    Answer:

    "Snap you fingers! Make the big bang, set the fundamental laws in motion and wait a couple of billion years."

    If you are God, time doesn't really matter, do it? Billions of years or some days would be the same.

    In regards to the laws of energy, matter etc. everyone realize that the construction of the universe is brilliant. Today we even recognize physical laws by the way they look. If they are mathematically nice and simple, they are usually right.

    But the one answer Science always fails is; What (or who) started it all? The creator is still a fully plausible explanation.

    In my opinion, anyone who disregards the scientific laws, disregards the creation it self. If the laws that rules this world is brilliant, why settle for something less brilliant. Some ideas made by man. 7 days or whatever...

    A lot of people believe that the bible is to be taken literal. I my opinion they could not be more wrong, for several reasons. It all comes down to the fact that the book I written by man! Some may argue that it was inspired by God (and I might even agree) but it's still a manmade text. The written language (in any form) will in my opinion always fail to explain the divine. The God I believe in is too big for letters and text. The creation he (or she?) made and the method he used to make it, is too big for any of us to fully understand, much less write down in text.

    An other fundamental reason where the bible fails (still because it was written by man) is the fact that God, even if he dictated the words could not describe the fabric of space 2000 years ago. Humans simply could not understand it. We might have a better chance today (even thou some parts still eludes even the best scientists). Therefore God would describe only the parts that could be understood by man back then, and simplify the rest. Creation was simplified into a story about the 7 days. What else could God say to the poor human that should write it down? Should he start explaining about energies and matter? Even the words we use today are manmade. I bet God didn't call it a "proton" back when he made it. (Wonder what the divine word really is?)

    So if God is brilliant, he made a brilliant world. Science shows us a brilliant world, the bible doesn't. The bible shows us a dictated world. A world that just is! Period! No arguing, no fanciness! But that is not the world I see. I see a world of possibilities... of brilliance. My God is a brilliant God.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:08AM (#13239678) Homepage Journal
    1. Evolution is not "just a theory," because in scientific usage, "theory" does not mean "unproven guess" as it does in common usage; it means "hypothesis which has stood up to rigorous testing against the best available evidence." In this sense, evolution is "just a theory" the same way gravity is "just a theory."
    2. In a similar vein, "law" in a scientific sense means "theory which has stood up so well and so long that although it's possible to disprove it, that doesn't look likely to happen." Evolution in this sense is a "law" to the same degree as Newton's laws of motion (suitably modified by Einstein) or the laws of thermodynamics.
    3. Those who oppose teaching creationism in schools are not "afraid of teaching the controversy." There is no controversy among biologists about whether evolution happens, although there may well be controversy about the specific details, any more than there is controversy among historians over whether the Holocaust happened or controversy among geographers over whether the Earth is round or flat.
    4. If we are to include Judeo-Christian-Islamic creation myths (both "young Earth" and "Intelligent Design" varieties) in science classes, why stop there? Let's throw in the Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Jainist, etc. creation myths too. "Teach the controversy," right?
    5. There is no inherent conflict between religious belief and the scientific method, unless believers make it so. Many scientists are religious. Scientists do not "hate religion" or "hate God." When religion makes specific, testable claims about the nature of reality, then it is putting itself into science's realm, and faces the same risks of disproof that any other set of demonstrably wrong ideas does. As long as it sticks to matters of morality and spirituality, it can go its merry way.
    There you go, folks. Now, enjoy your regularly scheduled flamewar.
    • by gothzilla (676407) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#13239785)
      You messed up one thing. Theories like evolution cannot become laws. A law governs something very precice and finite. A theory like evolution is a huge collection of laws, theories, and hypothesis, as well as a whole bunch of stuff that hasn't been discovered yet. Evolution as a whole is a theory that has withstood scientific scrutiny, but it cannot be a law because it covers too much scientific ground.

      One more thing you forgot to mention. Intelligent design is the hypothesis that SOMETHING created all of this. Part of Intelligent Design is the possibility that we were all created by intelligent beings from another world. Fanatical Christians attempt to twist Intelligent Design to only include God as the possible creator, but that destroys it's standing as science. For it to be actual science and to even be able to compete with evolution, it HAS to take into account that aliens or some other type of intelligent being besides a Deity created earth and all of us. It does absolutely nothing to further their religious agenda, yet for some reason they cling to it like Jesus himself.
    • Actually we have an incorrect idea of what a "Law" is. It is not a theory that has stood up to rigorous testing.

      Theory vs. Law [pa.sk.ca]

      Essentially, a law describes what happens. Theories attempt to explain why.

  • by mmarlett (520340) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:09AM (#13239697)

    In Kansas, we intelligently design all the time.

    My favorite current theory is the Flying Spaghetti Monster [venganza.org]. Please note how it also explains global warming with the decline of the world's pirate population.

    From the founder's open letter to the Kansas Board of Education, which is considering re-writing the state's science standards to have none: "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."

  • Humbug (Score:3, Insightful)

    by October_30th (531777) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:11AM (#13239725) Homepage Journal
    Equal time for Creationism == Equal time for religious nonsense.
  • Very clever wording (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Kennedy (128669) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:16AM (#13239803) Homepage
    I'm disappointed that more media sources haven't picked up on how clever the wording is when ID is discussed. Suggesting that we teach students "both sides of the controversy" sounds wonderfully reasonable, but it means you accept that there is a debate, and that there are two sides to discuss. Wonderful PR work.

    A blunt anology is to holocaust denial; should we teach students in schools the version of history espoused by ring-wing neo-nazi groups? After all, we should show them both sides of the debate.

    (Note that I don't think this kind of attack need lead to bad science in schools: you can have great fun accepting that neo-Darwinistic evolution is 'just a theory', as you can then discuss testability, predictions etc, and how it's doing against the evidence and what changes had to be made. Now do the same with ID - no testability, no predictions etc. Now pick the theory you want to use. For bonus points, discuss why ID is simply a stupid idea using Gould's separation of magisteria, or Fowler's mythos vs logos viewpoints.)
  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#13239816) Homepage
    If Bush believes Intelligent Design, why aren't any of his goverment agencies providing any funding to study it?
  • fuck em' (Score:3, Funny)

    by squarefish (561836) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:22AM (#13239892)
    MC Hawkins says:

    Fuck the Creationists
    Trash Talk
    Ah yeah, here we go again!
    Damn! This is some funky shit that I be laying down on your ass.
    This one goes out to all my homey's working in the field of
    evolutionary science.
    Check it!

    Verse 1
    Fuck the damn creationists, those bunch of dumb-ass bitches,
    every time I think of them my trigger finger itches.
    They want to have their bullshit, taught in public class,
    Stephen J. Gould should put his foot right up their ass.
    Noah and his ark, Adam and his Eve,
    straight up fairy stories even children don't believe.
    I'm not saying there's no god, that's not for me to say,
    all I'm saying is the Earth was not made in a day.

    Chorus
    Fuck, fuck, fuck,
    fuck the Creationists.

    Trash Talk
    Break it down.
    Ah damn, this is a funky jam!
    I'm about ready to kick this bitch back in.
    Check it.

    Verse 2
    Fuck the damn creationists I say it with authority,
    beause kicking there punk asses be me paramount priority.
    Them whack-ass bitches say, "evolution's just a theory",
    they best step off, them brainless fools, I'll give them cause to fear me.
    The cosmos is expanding every second, every day,
    but their minds are shrinking as they close their eyes and pray.
    They call their bullshit science like the word could give them cred,
    if them bitches be scientists then cap me in the head.

    Chorus

    Trash Talk
    Bass!
    Bring that shit in!
    Ah yeah, that's right, fuck them all motherfuckers.
    Fucking punk ass creationists trying to set scientific thought back 400 years.
    Fuck that!
    If them superstitious motherfuckers want to have that kind of party,
    I'm going to put my dick in the mashed potatoes.
    Fucking creationists.
    Fuck them.
  • Sounds OK by me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vinnie_333 (575483) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:23AM (#13239917)
    You know, I'm fine with this; and I'm not one to agree with Mr. Bush. Mostly, I'm ok with it because Bush says that intelligent design should be taught "alongside" with evolution a competing theory. That mean evolution will be taught. Others would have evolution removed entirely from the curriculum. That's just plain wrong. Even if you don't believe in it, you should be exposed to it. That's how you make informed decisions.

    Most of the people I know that are whole heartedly against evolution, haven't got the faintest idea how it works. They were never exposed to it and won't take the time to read anything about it. However, when I was in grade school, my science teacher would occasionally interject that intelligent design is a possibility that can't really be ruled out. Then he'd go right back into evolutionary theory. I believe he was doing it to keep certain people off his back. But, it didn't turn me into a right wing ultra conservative bible banger. It just taught me to keep an open mind. I still believe what I believe, but I do admit that I might be wrong.

    Of course, the real problem they are going to run into is which intelligent design [venganza.org] concepts they are going to teach. Even sticking within the Judeo-Christian dogma, there's quite a few different viewpoint on the subject. These are teachers after all, not theologians. But, that topic will only cause heated arguments amonst all the right wingers... which is always fun to watch.

  • THE DEBATE. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:24AM (#13239924) Homepage
    1905.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach religion in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: No, we should not teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    1955.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach "creationism" in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Um, that's the exact same thing as before. You're just calling it "creationism" instead of "religion". And you shouldn't teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    2005.
    CHRISTIANS: We should teach "intelligent design" in schools.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Um, that's still the exact same thing as before. You're just calling it "intelligent design" instead of "creationism". And you still shouldn't teach religion in schools.
    COURTS: Yeah, pretty much.
    (Pause.)

    2055.
    SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: We should teach science in schools.
    COURTS: Citizen, you have committed an Error. Please stand by until an armed guard can escort you to a Free Speech Zone.
    CHRISTIANS: Man, living in a hyperbolic hypothetical example rocks!
  • by Swamii (594522) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:27AM (#13239971) Homepage
    "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."


    What may come as a surprise is that most Creationists and IDists agree that there is speciation and adaptation. It's evident that animals adapt. What is more the crux of conflict is whether species can adapt to become an entirely new and different specie.

    What's more, Creationists and IDist don't like the fact that evolution doesn't have any real answer for the source for life. The "lightning zapped a glob of primordial ooze, thus forming the first proteins" idea is not only unnatural (life coming from non-life), but also unproven (why can't we reproduce this phenomena today?)

    To say evolutionists have all the answers isn't true, is it? Considering we can't even explain with certainty how life started in the first place, it's naive to think evolution is the answer to everything; evolution may be what's happening to species now and in the past, but that doesn't explain where the species originated. I read recently in National Geographic a scientist who was quoted as saying that evolution is right, but as far as how life got here to evolve in the first place, we'll just "leave that up to priests and poets". Priests and poets!

    What we're going to see in this Slashdot thread is a lot of "Creationists are stupid rednecks. Evolution is triumphant once again!". Lots of gloating and lots of mockery will be going on. No doubt, several ACs will reply to this post with personal insults because I disagree with their view of the world. All I can say is, don't assume anyone has all the answers, because no one, evolutionists or creationists, has the answers. And if we don't have all the answers, then analyzation and presentation of conflicting theories is both scientific and beneficial.
  • Ahem - The Facts (Score:3, Informative)

    by ndansmith (582590) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:37AM (#13240118)
    Rather than fan the flames of the Evolution v. Intelligent Design debate, I would like to point out some facts (which Zonk and Brian Berns seem to have little concern for):

    - This is the first time that Bush has endorsed Intelligent Design as President, though he held the same position as governor of Texas.

    - President Bush does not think that curriculum decision concerning Intelligent Design should be made at the federal level; they should be left up to local school districts.

    - A quote from President Bush: "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about."

    - Another quote: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

    So here are some conclusions: First, the president is not making any sort of federal policy shift to cause Intelligent Design to be taught in schools. Second, despite that, the President knows that a high-level endorsement of Intelligent Design will be the difference-maker for some local school districts. Finally, Bush does not say that only Intelligent Design should be taught; he advocates for contrasting ideas to be presented to school children on the subject of the origin of species.

    • by adrenaline_junky (243428) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:06PM (#13240633)
      Ahh, I see now. Bush is actually a progressive with a keen understanding of science.

      He is abusing his power as President in a clever ploy to show how ridiculous policies such as his are. When he says that contrasting ideas on the origin of species should be taught, what he is really advocating is that schools teach just how unscientific Creationism is.

      Bush's ultimate goal is to finally expose Christianity and all other religions for the fraud they are! His entire Iraq War is meant to be an instructive lesson on the dangers of religious fanatacism.

      Brilliant! Fucking brilliant!
    • wow, way to spin (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:21PM (#13240847)
      Not the first time to endorse creationism. Disingenous rat.

      The Washington Post, August 27, 1999:
              Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, "He believes both creationism and evolution ought to be taught.... He believes it is a question for states and local school boards to decide but believes both ought to be taught."

              The Kansas City Star, September 9, 1999:
              "I think it's an interesting part of knowledge (to have) a theory of evolution and a theory of creationism. People should be exposed to different points of view. Should the people choose in my state (to adopt a rule similar to Kansas') I have no problem" with public schools teaching both creationism and evolution.

              Reuters, November 4, 1999:
              Bush supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in public schools. Bush stated, "I have absolutely no problem with children learning different forms of how the world was formed." Bush believes decisions regarding curriculum should be made by local school districts.
    • by kmcrober (194430) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:21PM (#13240857)
      Finally, Bush does not say that only Intelligent Design should be taught; he advocates for contrasting ideas to be presented to school children on the subject of the origin of species.

      That's a little misleading. Bush is advocating teaching ID, he's only justifying it by saying that the purpose is to expose students to multiple theories. The problem is that, depending on your standards, there is either one valid theory--evolution, which is valid because it is supported by evidence and science--or many, many valid theories, such as Scientology, which would be valid because someone believes in it and would be offended to be taught facts that contradicted their beliefs.

      It's very deceptive for someone in Bush's position to say, "Teach the controversy!" There is no controversy. None. ID has nothing to do with legitimate science, and whatever controversy exists is the result of an intentional effort to deceive laypeople.
  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:37AM (#13240127) Homepage
    I can't believe that I'd ever be defending Bush or intelligent design, but read that article more carefully and note the specific quotes attributed to Bush:

    "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

    I have to agree with this. Children have to be taught that there's a debate going on, that some people believe in intelligent design. If no mention is made of ID in schools, then kids will be at the mercy of people who will teach it to them as religious ideology and they won't have the tools to evaluate it properly.

    ID should be taught in social studies, *not* in science class, but I don't see Bush saying anything about putting it in science class.

    The article says: Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories. THAT, I disagree with. Is this really what Bush was saying, or did the article jump to conclusions? Where can I find the official transcript of the session?

    • by SpryGuy (206254) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:46PM (#13242096)
      For there to be a real debate, there have to be two sides. And that just isnt' the case here.

      One one side you have Evolution: scientific studies, data, and observable fact, widely verified, and serving as the bedrock foundation for virtually all over biology, biochem, and supported by every other branch of science from geology to astrology.

      On the other you have a group of people saying "Nuh-uh!" and sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "LA LA LA LA". In other words: ignorance and childish clinging to myths taught to them when they were young.

      There simply aren't two sides. Evolution is a fact. It is science. ID is not science. It is not fact. It is not even theory. There is nothing put forth by ID that disproves Evolution or even calls evolution into question. ID is nothing more than religious dogma, part of an agenda to dress up Creationism and force secular public schools to indoctrinate children in a specific religion.

  • by Darren Hiebert (626456) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:43AM (#13240218) Homepage
    First of all, let me say that I am a physicist. This Slashdot article is an unfair description of what the OpEd piece is about. The piece does not condemn Darwinism. It does question Neo-Darwinism, which strays beyond the theories of Darwinism. The realm of science is to describe the behavior or processes (i.e. develop theories or models) of the mechanisms underlying physical reality and test them againt their predictions. When scientific theories (confirmed or not) go beyond describing behavior, into speculating on the purpose (or lack thereof) behind the processes, those theories are no longer science, but philosophy. It is inappropriate for science to assume that a correct description of a mechanism implies purpose or reason for that mechanism. Neo-Darwinism is Darwinism plus untestable (i.e. non-scientific) philosophical theories about purpose.
  • Easy Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SQLz (564901) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:40PM (#13241147) Homepage Journal

    I went to Catholic school pretty much all my life. In high shcool, they had a class called "Theology" which you could take for 4 years. Freshman year was all old testament and you learned about creation.

    We also had a class called "Biology" which only had 2 levels but in Biology, you learned about Evolution. Creation never came up in Biology. Why? Biology is a science class. In science class, you learn about science. In religion class, you learn about religion.

    This was a pretty strict Catholic school for Calofornia. There were no uniforms but you had to dress nice. No jeans because they were believed to be a tool of satan.

    Now it stands to reason that if the school dean thought Satan and Levis were involved in some kind of plot to ruin the education system, then you could pretty much call him a bible banging zealot. Even so, he obvisouly understood the value of keeping science in science class and religion in religion class where each topic can be explored to he full extent.

    I believe public schools should have a theology elective where people interested in religion can go learn about all types of religion. This would give people the opportunity to really interpret and discuss old testament stories in a way thats not possible in science class. Then, just maybe, the children will learn that the old testament is not a history book.

    I find this to be a much better solution since bringing up creation in science class lends it more credability than it deserves. Christians should face the fact that Genesis was written by a bunch of sheep herders who lived in the middle of the desert and had no other way to explain the creation of the universe.

  • by qcomp (694740) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:47PM (#13241242)

    Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

    I think, President Bush should immediately endorse the teaching of the Great Green Arkleseizure [angelfire.com] Theory of the universe, as well as the Turtles-all-the-way-down [wikipedia.org]-theory of geology. Not to forget the Plutonium Atom Totality theory [wikipedia.org] of particle physics.
    I honestly cannot undestand why American students are not exposed to these refreshing and original thoughts in the classroom nor why President Bush is not using his influence to set this important matter right!

    A concerned citizen of Old Europe.
  • Pope John Paul II [vatican.va], and before him Pope Paul VI [vatican.va] both made some interesting statements regarding the compatibility between the scientific theory of evolution and Catholic teaching as regards the origin of Man.

    Pope Benedict XVI [vatican.va] (current pope) has also made some indirect statements on the matter since his election too.

    But to really undertand the beginnings of the modern Catholic "handling" of the issue, from the "top down" as it were, it is important for Catholics and non-Catholics/Christians alike to read Pope Pius XII's [vatican.va] encyclical, Humani Generis [vatican.va], promulgated on August 12, 1950.

    It is really worth one's time to read the whole thing, but allow me to post the relevant quote that is still considered binding Catholic teaching on the matter:

    36. For these reasons

    the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

    37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is no no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]

    38. Just as in the biological and anthropological sciences, so also in the historical sciences there are those who boldly transgress the limits and safeguards established by the Church. In a particular way must be deplored a certain too free interpretation of the historical books of the Old Testament. Those who favor this system, in order to defend their cause, wrongly refer to the Letter which was sent not long ago to the Archbishop of Paris by the Pontifical Commission on Biblical Studies.[13] This letter, in fact, clearly points out that the first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to hi

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:52PM (#13242925) Homepage
    Creationism is NOT science, it is religion wrapped in a layer of BS. (The "BS" being a disguise to make you think it's science) The only place where creationism should be taught is in private schools aligned with some branch of the church (or talmud).
    The separtion of church and state demanded by the US constitution won't allow for it being any other way.
    No public school where MY kids go to will even mention creationism, or I'll drag them into court.
    If they hear about it in Sunday school, that's fine with me.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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