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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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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."
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#13239578) Homepage Journal

    The churches have to fight science. Every time science helps uncloud a mind they lose one of their sheep.

    And don't tell me about some scientists that are religious, real ones aren't. A scientist uses logic and methods throughout their entire lives. If you can take off the lab coat at 5:00, turn off your rational mind and believe in invisible spirits then you aren't a scientist, you're a part-time lab worker, part-time delusional kook.

  • by Knome_fan (898727) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#13239603)
    Really? The US president endorsing something like intelligent design isn't even newsworthy in your opinion?
    That's scary.

    Rest assured, for someone from Europe like me this whole debate looks really surreal and scary, but it's definately newsworthy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:04AM (#13239634) Homepage
    I know a lot of scientists that will disagree with you. Really your post is just pure flamebait.
  • 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.
  • 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 lucabrasi999 (585141) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:06AM (#13239649) Journal
    it's definately newsworthy.

    Newsworthy? Yes.
    Should it be discussed somewhere? Yes.
    Should that discussion take place on Slashdot? Hell no.

    The submission is nothing but a troll...Everyone read this site knows it will amount to over 1,000 posters screaming at each other.

  • by Mothra the III (631161) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:06AM (#13239652)
    This debate when schools are not even able to effectively teach basic skills such as math and reading. Most kids will graduate without any real grasp on history, geography or science and their lives will not be really affected by which way they believe Man got to his present state.
  • 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 Billy the Impaler (886238) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:09AM (#13239698)

    The way I see it, though I am an evolutionist, the kids in school should at least be told that there is an opposing view. I'm sure most of them already know there is debate in this field but it is the most sensible thing to do. Share the facts and let the individuals make their own decisions.

  • by modi123 (750470) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:10AM (#13239716) Homepage Journal
    Here's a thought for the creationism side... How far do you want to go with "equal time". Why must it be divided amongst only "creationists" and "scientists". As an individual with a Native American Studies minor I will chime in for their cause - I want equal time for tribal creation stories - ALL of them (and yes there are MANY varients). Additionally I have friends that would appreciate Wiccan or nature based creation stories. Oh, don't forget the Norse (the non-white supremacist kind) they want their share. Additionally I guess I can toss in Hindu, the plethora of Eastern views, and possibly the Jewish variant.

    The problem with the creationist side is this isn't always a battle of who is right, it's a battle of time. Do we really want schools to de-evolve (joke intended) into 7.5 hours of creation stories, 0.5 hours of math, reading, grammar, and so forth?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:13AM (#13239751)
    Neither evolution and I.D. belong in the Science classroom. They're both historical hypothesis.

    Given the historical powers of science and theology, however, theology has more potential for supporting historical claims. At least theoreticaly...

    Science cannot demonstrate what happened in the past, but it can be used to demonstrate that certain hypothesis about what happened in the past are plausible, given the way the physics seems to work now.

    Theology however has authoritative divine revelation - a direct expression of the genuine truth. So in theory, as long as you don't start out with the assumption that divine revelation is bunk, then it has the capacity for making claims about history with more certainty than science can ever make.
  • by spun (1352) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:13AM (#13239752) Journal
    In order for it to be scientific, it must make falsifiable predictions. Please state what predictions ID makes so that we can design actual experiments to try to disprove it. That is how science works. If it doesn't make falsifiable predictions, it isn't science.

    Well, perhaps it could be included in a philosophy clasroom as an example of modern day sophistry [wikipedia.org]:

    The essential claim of sophistry is that the actual logical validity of an argument is irrelevant; it is only the ruling of the audience which ultimately determine whether a conclusion is considered "true" or not. By appealing to the prejudices and emotions of the judges, one can garner favorable treatment for one's side of the argument and cause a factually false position to be ruled true.
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:14AM (#13239769)
    Creationism is not a theory at all. At best it is a sloppy hypothesis. In order for something to be a theory, there must be evidence or logical arguments supporting it and it must be falsifiable (there must be some conditions that might conceivably be met that would prove the idea wrong). No theory is ever 100% proven. Evolution, however, is well over 99% proven. Creationism, on the other hand, is 0% proven. Creationism is not science, and never will be science. It is merely religion dressed up in scientific language. It therefore has no place in a science classroom.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#13239777)
    I didn't say it was science.

    It's not.

    In fact, in this and other posts, I specifically said it did NOT belong in a science class.

    But if you can't admit it might have a place in a philosophical discussion (NOT a scientific discussion), we have nothing further to say.

    And saying it was created by Creationists is a red herring. It doesn't matter who "created" it. The concept is what it is.
  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:16AM (#13239791) Journal
    Sad but true.

    You can talk to a christian who has faith and have a perfectly normal conversation. It's like talking to a gay guy...if you're not comfortable with your sexuality, its weird, but if you are, it's not. A christian who has solid faith is perfectly okay with saying, "I don't know" because they don't have to know. They don't have anything to prove.

    But take someone who has no faith, and try and have a logical, rational discussion, and watch how fast they lose it. Because they have no faith, they need proof to shore up their belief, but since there is no proof, their arguments are weak and easily countered. They've built their whole lives on those "facts", so any attempt to reveal them as the figments they are is viewed as a personal attack, and responded to accordingly.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:16AM (#13239794) Homepage Journal

    No, I'm 39 and grown up. It's the religious nuts that have to lose their security blanket and learn to wipe their own asses.
  • by mike77 (519751) <mraley77@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#13239809)
    you cannot Prove a theory. It drives me nuts how people seem to think this. A theory can only be Disproven. Hence it is a theory. Creatinism is not a theory, as it lacks another fundamental aspect of a theory, the ability to have a testable hypothesis. show me one testable hypothesis of creationism, please.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#13239814) Homepage
    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 should not be preaching the "good word" to his people especially when he is happily using scientific advances to effectively "play god".

    As for the rest of your off-topic comment, I don't care.
  • by pizen (178182) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:20AM (#13239858)
    Teaching science to include the holes in theory is a good thing. Scientific scrutiny is how science progresses. BUT , it can not be limited to or focused on evolution. If you only teach the problems with science when you teach evolution then you introduce bias in the classroom.

    The students need to know the difference between hypothesis, theory, and fact (something that creationists like to manipulate in the media). If the teacher says "evolution is a scientific theory that we have evidence of but can not prove enough to raise it to the level of scientific fact" then the teacher also needs to say "gravity is a scientific theory that we have evidence of but can not prove enough to raise it to the level of scientific fact".
  • by ouaibe (762632) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:20AM (#13239860)
    Even if creationism could be considered as being the "easy way" to try and interpret things, instead of having a hard time experimentating to find the right answer, using the "it must have been created by some holy spirit" ideology truely seems to reveal a certain lazyness, one could consider creationism as futile, since it can be interpreted as not being the opposite of darwinism, but as a part of evolution itself: in order to oppose the arguments advanced by the intelligent designers, scientifics are forced to adapt their methods and technics, thus making science and human condition evolve...
  • by Knome_fan (898727) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:22AM (#13239893)
    "But if you can't admit it might have a place in a philosophical discussion (NOT a scientific discussion), we have nothing further to say."

    Even if you do have nothing further to say to the other poster, maybe you'll do me the favor of explaining why it should have a place in a philosophy class.
    I'm European, so excuse my ignorance, but I really don't see why it should, from what I can tell it doesn't have any philosophical bearing. Or what is the philosophy that should be discussed in class?

    If anything I'd say it falls in the department of sociology to discuss how something like the intelligent design movement could evolve.

    "And saying it was created by Creationists is a red herring. It doesn't matter who "created" it. The concept is what it is."

    I think you misunderstood the parent, he's not just saying it was created by creationists, which wouldn't really mean much, you are right, but that it was created by Creationists with the purpose of having some theory in place to attack science. So it hasn't evolved on its own as some scientific, or at least pseudoscientific theory, but was consciously created to fit a political agenda.

    Thanks in advance for your answer.
  • 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.

  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:24AM (#13239930) Homepage
    The word theory in sicence implies something totally different than it does in common usage. It's a conclusion that has undergone volumes of rigorous testing. ID is not a theory in the scientific sense.
  • by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:24AM (#13239937)

    Okay, which assertion is more ludicrous?
    1) 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.

    2) Un-intelligent Design is not just inherently provable, it is proven. Un-intelligent Design is not a religion in any sense, but a science, and as such, its place is in the classroom, not in the church/mosque/synagogue/whatever.

  • As a former philosophy major, I ask that this be taught in Philosophy classes...new students always need clear examples of bad arguments.

    But as for being taught seriously in Philosophy? You must be joking. The foundation of philosophy is logic, and true, provable argument, and the foundation of this "theory" is nothing more than wishful thinking and fantastical invention.
  • You are wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:29AM (#13240006)
    Christian Creationism has no place in the classroom (save for perhaps a religion class).
    Okay. That's acceptable.
    Intelligent Design != Creationism (even though some Creationists have co-opted the term, attempting to cloak promotion of Creationism in pseudoscience).
    Really? And what are the differences? I mean, aside from the obvious ones of spelling "God" and "Designer" and not directly referencing the Bible.
    Intelligent Design certainly has a place in the classroom.
    No. The only place it has is in a class on religions.
    I'd hope that we've evolved, no pun intended, to the point that we can agree that this might belong in, say, a philosophy classroom.
    No. Only if the "philosphy" class is actually a "religion" class.
    To say that it wholesale "doesn't belong in the classroom" is, I think, a disservice to honest discussions about our existence, further complicated by Creationists who want to do away with the theory and science of evolution completely.
    No. What philosophical discussion could there be?

    There is no way to provide support for it or to refute it and the concept does not affect a person's life outside of his/her religion.
  • by Thanatopsis (29786) <`despain.brian' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:30AM (#13240022) Homepage
    Here's a hint - In science the word theory means something different than it's use in general parlance. A theory is the best explanation for the facts that we have. Just like the theory of grativity is the best explanation of gravity we have . Evolution happens. A theory in science isn't a guess. ID has no scientific components. It has no predictive value. It's theology.
  • Re:The Arguement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Cookie Monster (129545) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:30AM (#13240027)
    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 isn't an example of infinite monkeys on typewriters coming up with shakespear.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:31AM (#13240035)

    Wrong. Discounting for the moment that we don't actually require millions of years of sitting and watching, even if your outrageous statement was true, the fact would remain that evolution could eventully be proven or disproven...it would just be inordinately difficult.

    Contrast that with the quasi-religious Intelligent Design, which postulates a Designer, the existence of which is fundamentally unprovable. Not just difficult, but intrinsically impossible to either prove or disprove.

    By the very standards of scientific thought, ID cannot be considered a scientific discipline.
  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:32AM (#13240041) Journal
    Intelligent Design != Creationism

    Bullshit.

    Intelligent Design certainly has a place in the classroom.

    Not in a science class, it doesn't.

    -jcr

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:32AM (#13240051)
    The Anonymous Coward says:

    ..."now have the guts to name yours or shut up."

    Priceless.

  • by InfraredEyes (207602) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:32AM (#13240052)
    The place to teach "what's going on in the public square" is not science class. You want to teach Current Affairs -- teach Current Affairs, but don't call it science.
  • Hi dave! First let me say that for the most part I enjoy your debating style and insight even though I suspect we disagree on many issues. It looks like we agree that ID is not scientific at least. However, as I pointed out in my post, if it is included in philosophy it should be as an example of sophistry, the art of winning debate through emotional appeal rather than logical argumentation. Even as a philosophy it is worthless, as the argumentation is full of false premises and faulty reasoning.

    The possibility of a force beyond our reckoning is irrelevant. If something caused the universe, either it itself was caused, or it was uncaused. If it was casued, it isn't God, merely a superior force, kind of like me when I play my sims. It is in the same boat we are, only on a larger plane. It is subject to the laws of casue and effect, and even if it is omniscient about our plane, on it's own level of existence it must have desires that can go unfulfilled and things it does not know.

    If it is uncaused, well, couldn't our own universe be uncaused as well? What purpose does it serve to simply push the question back one level? I'm not saying there isn't a God, I'm just saying that until and unless It makes it's desires known more clearly in a way that isn't subject to human misinterpretation, Its existence or lack thereof has no impact on my life and how I live it.

    To live otherwise is to become a slave to some other human's interpretaion of the unknowable.
  • by IAmTheDave (746256) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ds-evademanesab}> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:36AM (#13240105) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that there's still a sizable contingent of extremist christians out there

    I take serious amounts of offense to a person believing in Creationism or ID being called an extremist. A belief that you do not share does not automatically put someone into a fringe extremist group which is to be feared or summarily dismissed.
  • by jallison (693397) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:38AM (#13240131) Journal
    The way I see it, though I am an evolutionist, the kids in school should at least be told that there is an opposing view. I'm sure most of them already know there is debate in this field but it is the most sensible thing to do. Share the facts and let the individuals make their own decisions.

    The problem with this is that there is no opposing view. At least not one with any real support in the scientific community. To use some other examples, there are those who think the Earth is flat [http://www.alaska.net/~clund/e_djublonskopf/Flate arthsociety.htm [alaska.net]. ] There are those who deny the Holocaust. These are opposing views to what is commonly accepted as fact, but they are typically not presented in a classroom because they lack credibility.

    The reality is that there is no debate over evolution in the scientific community. There is continuing work on the specifics, the mechanics, and the details, but the basic process is fact.

  • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:39AM (#13240151)
    > My point: It's not possible to entirely divorce laws from religion.

    Balderdash. If you're such an amoral shill (and I don't know you; just going by your own words) that you need a
    book of fairy tales to tell you that torturing is wrong, then heaven help us if you ever find your way into any
    kind of political power. But do not assume that everyone else shares that handicap.

    Morality and religion are NOT one and the same, and it's been my experience that those who get their morality
    from a book are a lot more likely to commit amoral or immoral acts than those who act morally because it is
    innate to them.
  • by Rahga (13479) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:40AM (#13240153) Homepage Journal
    So... you descredit intelligent design by saying that Evolution is NOT RANDOM, then descredit it again by saying that a RANDOM SYSTEM is capable of creating a living system.

    If you're a firm believer in natural selection, you've probably got a bit more to worry about than I would.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:40AM (#13240159)
    I'm European, so excuse my ignorance, but I really don't see why it should, from what I can tell it doesn't have any philosophical bearing. Or what is the philosophy that should be discussed in class?
    Exactly. ID has nothing in common with any other philosophy UNTIL you add the religious aspect.

    ID is not science.
    ID is not philosophy.
    ID is an attempt by a religious organization to counter the scientific method's encroachment on their domain.

    With every scientific advance, their concept of "God" becomes less effective and more nebulous and this scares them.
  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:40AM (#13240166) Journal
    Intelligent Design is a collection of holes in evolutionary theory.

    No it isn't, it's a religious propaganda campaign.

    -jcr

  • by interiot (50685) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:43AM (#13240217) Homepage
    Of course. Science can't make any claim regarding the existence of an Intelligent Creator. So... discussions about an Intelligent Creator don't belong in science class. Science classes also aren't the right place for discussing the existance of Pikachu or Scooby-Doo or Santa Claus.
  • by geekpolitico (743680) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:49AM (#13240325)
    My main objection to addressing Intelligent Design in a philosophy class is that it would be a waste of time. Why not discuss Hume, Locke, Kant, Heidegger, Plato, Aristotle. If you like recent philosophers then discuss Hare, Quine, Foucault, or Foote.

    There is little of philosophical value in Intelligent Design. It may be of theological interest, and while the line between philosophy and theology can be indistinct .. Intelligent design is a manufactured theory that is far past the dividing line.

    Actually, I think we've hit on the right class to teach Intelligent Design. A marketing class. Look kids, how do you find a way to rebrand an old idea to provide it with added legitimacy in the modern age?
  • 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 king-manic (409855) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:53AM (#13240397)
    I take serious amounts of offense to a person believing in Creationism or ID being called an extremist. A belief that you do not share does not automatically put someone into a fringe extremist group which is to be feared or summarily dismissed.

    Your right, Creationism and ID have nothing to do with being an exstermist. It does reflect poorly on your education though. As a baptist who is educated in biology, there isn't a single reason why anyone should not beleive in evolution. You should be dismissed because you don't know enough about the subject beign discussed. Beleif in creationism and ID is a sign of under education and a inability to think rationally.
  • by geeber (520231) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:53AM (#13240405)
    I take serious amounts of offense to a person believing in Creationism or ID being called an extremist.

    You are correct. There are many Christians who believe in Creationism and ID, but do not want it taught in science classes.

    The problem is that the people who are making the most noise out there advocating Creationism and trying to teach ID in science classes ARE extremists. So, right or not, Creationism and ID become linked with extremism in the minds of people who do not think they belong in the classroom.
  • by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:54AM (#13240416)
    I'd say it's random in about the same sense that the motion of water molecules is random - on the scale of individual molecules and organisms, shift happens, but on a much larger scale, water flows downhill and species become better adapted to their environment.

    Alot of it is marketing. When people think of random, they think of flipping a coin. Many people hear that evolution is a random process and envision human DNA being built base-pair upon base-pair by 3 billion successive coinflips, or the proverbial tornado hitting a junkyard and building a 747. I'll readily agree those processes are unlikely to produce anything useful, but that's not at all what evolution is. The danger of using the word "random" is that if people only remember three sentences of information about evolution, "random" conveys the wrong impression.

    I think it's much more informative to say that evolution is a process guided by the necessities of surviving and reproducing in the environment, just as water is guided by gravity, fluid dynamics, and surface tension. If you go into more depth, you see that both processes have random elements, but that's not the important part. I dunno, maybe we have to break it down even more for the average American. Evolution is, like, a big reality TV show held in a jungle, and if you don't score in 30 years you get voted off. The winner's kids get guaranteed slots in next season's show. Fossils are like reruns.

  • 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 Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:05PM (#13240619) Journal
    Arguing from ignorance is the only possible creationist justification.

    There is no reason for any sensible person to ever bother listening to a creationist argument, including intelligent design. There is simply no proof.

    What's frustrating is people like Swamii who compares science with religion and declares that both require faith. There is no faith in science, only fact.

  • by B'Trey (111263) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:10PM (#13240676)
    I disagree.

    I think that the majority of Christians are kind, decent, caring people who want a better world for their children. The problem is that their definition of a "better world" doesn't accord with mine. I don't think it's a better world if the teacher says a prayer before class. I don't think it's a better world if the science teacher talks about "Intelligent Design." I don't think it's a better world if my child pledges alegiance to "one nation, under God" or if the judge in the local courtroom has a plaque ourside his chambers which insists that "...thou shalt have no other God before me..."

    There are many Christians who do not support some or all of these things, but the one's who do aren't a vocal minority. They're the silent and the not-so-silent majority, particularly in certain parts of the country. I don't hate them and I don't believe they're evil. But I do think they're wrong, and I do think they're a danger to me and to this country.
  • Re:God is an axiom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alucinor (849600) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:11PM (#13240692) Journal
    Read up on set theory. Not all axioms are universally obvious.

    To many people, God is obvious.
  • by Mab_Mass (903149) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:11PM (#13240697) Homepage Journal

    I close friend of mine is a devout Catholic (I am an atheist who works in biotech), and he and I have spent a number of evenings talking about the whole evolution/creationism debate. In the end, we tend to agree.

    At its very heart, evolution is a random process. Yes, evolution is guided by natural selection, but fundamentally the origin of genetic variation depends on random events, specifically random mutation events. DNA is a molecule and heredity is based upon how a single molecule of DNA behaves, and quite frankly you cannot predict the behavior of any single molecule. You can predict the behavior of populations, but any single molecule behaves randomly. (And yes, I know what I'm talking about, because I work with a technology that uses single DNA molecules.)

    The upshot is that all science has to offer on the source of the mutations is that they are random and if they provide benefit for the organism, they will be selected for. Okay great, so here is where faith kicks in. You can either take the atheist/agnostic point of view and claim that these truly are random events, or you can take the faith-based view and see these events as the mechanism by which God has created the world.

    If only the hard-core evolution advocates would allow for this role for God and if only the hard-core tub-thumping bible-bangers could accept the bible as metaphor, we might actually get somewhere.

    (I hope this is clear - I'm at work and don't have time to fully polish this message)

  • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:11PM (#13240701)
    If there was no creator and macro-evolution was indisputable, then I beg anyone to explain how matter was formed. If evolution is based on a single entity, then how was that single entity created? If you trace the creation of matter back to it's furthest roots, you'll hit a brick wall every time.

    I've been asking this question for years with no response. People widely accept evolution and reject creationism, but yield to stupidity and ignorance when it comes to accounting for how matter was first formed.

    I'm a strong believer in God and creationism, but I've always accounted for evolution and other more plausible theories in my quest for understanding of life. But I cannot accept evolution because it simply does not account for the fact that matter has to form from something. Creationism steps up to the plate in this respect, but it's not provable.

    Seriously people, wake up. The foundation of evolution is as much questionable and shaky as the foundation of creationism. Both require faith to believe, and both will remain scientifically unprovable. Hence, both should be taught.

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:13PM (#13240730)
    This is what happens when you want to put education under the leviathan of the federal government.

    The inevitable consequence of putting education under political control (i.e. control by the government), is that education becomes politicized. Education inevitably becomes the place to promote political and social goals.

    If schools were run privately, or strictly by local government, then there would not be an issue. Parents would have a choice what their children were taught.

    People want the education system to be a federal dictatorship, and then cry when the dictator has opinions they don't like. Sorry, that is how dictatorships work. If you want to solve the problem, then allow parents to choose for their kids instead of government.
  • by spun (1352) * <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:14PM (#13240749) Journal
    Oh please. If something more complex than life on earth (i.e. God) can happen without an external cause, why can't life on earth itself happen without an external cause? This whole line of argument seems like a waste of time to me, it answers nothing and merely pushes the question back a semantic level

    Honestly, there are plenty of hypothesis as to how self replicating systems can form. There is even evidence for some of those hypothesis, there just isn't enough yet to make a clear theory. You just haven't looked very hard because you don't want to find any evidence that might contradict your chosen worldview.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:15PM (#13240759)
    I agree. I also think it's a sign of a misunderstanding of the bible. These days, it's fairly rare to find someone that believes the entire bible should be taken literally, you tend to run in to problems with that view,there's a lot of rules laid out in the old testemant that just aren't very compatible with modern society. So most non-fundie Christians take the view that the bible is a story about how to live your life, and a story about Jesus's teachings, thus NOT meant to be taken literally and that no, you don't have to obey all the forms in the OT to get to heaven, just accept Jesus as your saviour.

    It seems then a gross misunderstanding to claim that this is one part that MUST be taken as literally true, espically given it is one of the parts that seems most clearly to not be. That all the stuff you don't like in the OT isn't meant to be taken literally and done today, but this one part is.

    I think to try and take Genesis as literally true is to miss the point, and to miss the message.
  • by spisska (796395) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:16PM (#13240775)

    I take serious amounts of offense to a person believing in Creationism or ID being called an extremist. A belief that you do not share does not automatically put someone into a fringe extremist group which is to be feared or summarily dismissed.

    Believing in creationism is not extremist. You can believe the moon is made of cheese for all I care, but that is not extremist either.

    What is extremist is insisting that a religious doctrine with no basis in scientific method (i.e., not based on direct observation, not testable, not predictive, and neither provable nor disprovable) should be held as valid science.

    I am not opposed to the teaching of religion in schools -- without a knowledge of the Bible, it is diffucult to have a real understanding of the artistic, cultural and political histotry of Western civilization, let alone how and why it is different from other civilizations in history.

    Our western-style democratic systems of government, after all, stem directly from the Book of Genesis -- that humans are created in the image of God, meaning endowed with metaphysical freedom. Without that notion of metaphysical freedom, there would be no freedom in the real world.

    But that is philosophy, not engineering. The Bible is literature, not history. Religion is cutural, not factual. And whatever the euphamism of the day, creationism is doctrine, not science.

    If it were up to me, comparative religion would be a required part of every secondary school curriculum, but certainly not part of the science curriculum.

    If we teach creationism in biology lessons, does that mean that we should also teach in astronomy the Islamic doctrine that the phases of the moon cannot be predicted, but must be observed? Perhaps in physics we should also teach the perfectly valid theory that an object will fall to the ground because that is the nature of matter.

  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:16PM (#13240788)
    A person isn't an extremeist for believing in Creationism or its politically correct cousin.

    An extremist is someone who attempts to interject religious beliefs into the secular public school system. The Abrahamic creation myth that Christians espouses isn't the only such myth, and peddling such myths in secular schools only serves to isolate and diminish the religious beliefs of others.

    See this Wikipedia article for a sampling of other creation stories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_beliefs

    How would you like to be an eight year old hindu child and be told in school that you have two choices for creation stories: the big bang or christian mythology.

    Or on the flip side, how would you like your child in public school to be taught that that monotheistic stuff that your parents talk about is drivel, and Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva got everything started?

    A rational person will consider these things. A devout person will send their child to parochial school. An extremist will launch into some drivel about "moral majorities", "athiestic liberals" or sideline into abortion or a similar divisive topic.
  • by rlp (11898) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:17PM (#13240795)
    Just because they don't kill people doesn't mean they are peaceful. Live in the south as a non-christian and see how much "peace" you see on a daily basis. It is still a violent religion, it's just a matter of degrees.

    Been there, done that, bought the shirt. I've lived in the South, I'm not Christian. I've had disagreements, I've been lectured to, I've been told I'm "going to hell", etc. But, I've NEVER felt in physical danger. And occasionally, I've had folks "agree to disagree". No worse than a roomful of Mac, Windows, and Linux advocates (in in many cases more polite).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:21PM (#13240846)
    First, the president is not making any sort of federal policy shift to cause Intelligent Design to be taught in schools.

    What do you think policy is? Merely the rules written on paper? Amateur.

    Look, Bin Laden uses video tapes to signal his cells in the field what to do next. So too does Bush send signals to his troops about what do pursue next. Should they work on anti-abortion? No-Safe-Sex? Drug abuse? No, the policy is set by the big guy: go after science.

    If you don't believe this is setting policy then you don't understand what the bully pulpit is all about.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:23PM (#13240883)
    A science is a collection of observations, hypotheses, and models which serve to explain the observations in a coherent logical framework. Core to a science is the notion of falseafiability, that is, if one or the other hypotheses can be proven false (the only proof you can do in science is a contradiction), then you *must* discard the hypothesis, and replace it with a more correct one.

    You cannot *ever* prove a hypothesis true (not true in mathematics, but the case in science).

    Core to a belief system is the infalability of the belief system in the face of contradictory evidence. A belief system cannot by definition, be a science.

    Creationism and its spawn are belief systems. They are not falsafiable. They are not open to re-interpretation. They should not be taught in science class-rooms. They should be taught in terms of socio-political terms as religious movements. And this includes the pig that is dressed up and named Intelligent design. It is still a pig (belief system), and it is not falsafiable. It is therefore not a science.

    The problem occurs once the Creationists come up with a falsafiable belief system, and contradictory evidence arises. How are they going to handle an attack on their belief system? It isn't science (never was, never will be).

    The last time Creationists were in charge, we were a backwards nation in terms of science. The last time the forefathers of Creationism were in control of knowledge, we had the dark ages.

    Lets not go back there. Lest we decide that the earth really is flat, the center of the universe, and the Sun revolves around us. Yes, this is what they championed in the past. They demonstrated that they were not a force for advancing knowledge, but for consolidating their own power.
  • 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.
  • by j-joshers (880017) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:27PM (#13240947)
    My third year at college I had a roommate who believed in the Intelligent Design thing. I had no idea what he was talking about, really, this was a few years ago, before this movement started gaining traction. Though I didnt agree with him he believed in them adamantly.

    I think the main thing ID has going for it is that it is logical. You tell someone, "the world, the human body, the eye, its all too complex to come about through a natural process over thousands of generations. Something HAD to have been there to design it", and you know what, it makes sense. In our little human brains, it is very hard to fathom the idea of thousands of generations, and the mutations needed to evolve. Evolution is a tough thing to grasp at first. So I think thats what it has going for it, and why its gained so much traction across the country.

    Then the ID people say something like, "what so we came from a monkey?" or some other garbage to dispute evolution. Then you see whats really going on. ID isnt a science, and its not provable. Its just religious people using it to win hearts and minds. Its a PR campaign. And if we have people not educated on biology, not educated on the sciences, and so forth, making these decisions, it is DISASTROUS because they will go by the PR campaign and put it in schools to teach students.

    I also hear people saying, "just teach the controversey! Not even every scientist believes in evolution!". So what scientists dont? What respected biologists do not believe in evolution? Id love to see a list... I really would. Because you know, not everyone believes the earth is round.

    ID is just a PR campaign.

  • by _.- thimk! -._ (898003) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:27PM (#13240949)
    There are different classes of thought that are sometimes called an opinion that lead to the confusion where some people think they should all be given equal standing.

    One kind of opinion is simply a statement or observation, for example, of preference: "My favorite color is blue." versus "My favorite color is green."

    This type of opinion is of equal interpretive value, yes.

    But, a second common usage of the word opinion is the promotion of a personal theory (about anything).

    In this case, the same standards apply as for any theory, and as such these 'opinions' are NOT entitled to the same neutral status of "different but equal" as, like in the above example, the simple expression of one's favorite color.

    In the second type of opinion, the realm of theory, some are well founded, based upon fact and analysis, while others are crap, formed, or worse, simply borrowed, with no basis in fact, and no actual thought whatsoever.

    The former is an opinion with a sound basis, and strong support. The latter is just so much line-noise.

    They may both be opinions, but that's the sole extent of the similarity, and that does not put them on an equal footing.

    An unsound opinion, even when held by a majority, is still unsound, and therefore NOT of equal value.
  • by Rostin (691447) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:28PM (#13240958)
    What I expect Christians to appreciate more than the average /.er is that these issues touch on at least three areas: science, theology, and philosophy. Your education in biology maybe qualifies you to speak to the issue from one of these perspectives. (For example, to critique specifically scientific claims.)

    Perhaps the parent is thinking irrationally. But just being a baptist with a little education in biology hardly puts you in a position to make that broad determination, particularly when the parent has said so little.
  • by Nopal (219112) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:28PM (#13240968)
    It is also my belief, though I'm sure there are many who would disagree with me, possibly including yourself, that advanced intelligence is entirely incompatible with religious belief, at least at current understanding levels of the two concepts. I am greatly distressed by the assumption of many that the scientific method cannot be applied to questions of ethics and morality, the the idea that these questions are solely the province of "religious" or "spiritual" contemplation

    Welcome to the realm of questions that tormented and ultimately defined St. Thomas Aquinas' life. Aquinas was of the opinion that reason and God are indeed compatible, a position that many sensible christians (and jews) agree on. Don't forget that the very first pioneering excursions into the realm of science where funded and supported by religion (Mendel et al).

    In Catholicism at least, ethical decisions follow a well-structured set of rational guidelines designed to cause the least damage to those involved. The scientific method can indeed be applied to questions of ethics, but since the scientific method is, at it's core, not incompatible with the existance of a higher power, what makes you think that ethics are also incompatible with either?

    The issue is not about knowing the mind of God. I've yet to meet anyone that claims to know the mind of God. The issue for those of us that are religious is merely to follow the principles that God has given us, and use those principles in conjuction with everything else we've been given (faith, logic, conscience) to do what would please him.

    If your believe that intelligence and religion are incompatible, you misunderstand either religion, logic, or both. That goes for both sides of the aisle (atheist fanaticism and religious fanaticism).

  • by kingbill (562267) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:30PM (#13241001)
    I honestly have to disagree based on my experience, but maybe you're right about some science teachers. When I was in public school, every science class began by teaching the scientific method. If the scientific method is taught correctly, it's obvious that this is not a method for discovering absolute truth, but an effort to describe the world based on what we're seeing. It also seems that most, if not all, science classes I had from public school through university had at least one point where the teacher said something to the effect of, "We used to believe A, because of a,b and c, but now due to the discovery of d which seems to disagree with A, we believe B which is consistent with a,b,c and d." This always left me open to the idea that e could come along to disprove B and force the scientific community to come up with C. I really think so long as the scientific method is taught well and some history is given on the evolution of scientific theories, the teacher shouldn't need to preface every concept with, "Now this is only a theory, but we believe that ..." I think that should be intuitively obvious.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:34PM (#13241061)
    One thing that frustrates the pro-ID folks is that evolution is still a *theory*, but is being taught as fact. That's not a surprising bias, considering that it explains an awful lot (but not all) about how life came to be as it is. And, it's an observable phenomenon. But, there are other theories, ID probably being the most prominent that other people believe.

    Actually, ID/creationism gets the most press, but it isn't even remotely close to a viable alternative.

    The problem is: how do you teach this? Evolution is an important enough phenomenon all by itself, even if it wasn't the sole mechanism behind life, to be taught in science (and maybe math, anthropology and social studies) class. Beyond that, anything that says "this is how life began" should be taught with a healthy amount of skepticism, because we just don't know for sure.

    Nothing in science is known for sure except math. Math only gets that way because it is it's own system and is independant of reality. It's self consitant and needs no physical proof, although physical reality can renforce it, it's not nessacary. All biology/physics/chemistry is a collection of reasonable theories that have withstood the test of the scientific method, ad naseum.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:35PM (#13241062)
    Okay. I'll answer: matter was formed by a Creator and Evolution is His plan.

    Sciences (those areas of study regulated to theories built upon the scientific method) do not purport to explain the metaphysical, quite simply because, as you noticed, such notions are unprovable. Evolution would not be a Science if it attempted to answer you question (notwithstanding the fact that your question is related to Physics not Biology).

    But just because a Creator is not part of science, does not mean that science is anti-God. This appears to be something few people, yourself included, understand.

    Einstein believed in a Creator and plenty of people who accept Evolution do as well (along the lines of "only a Creator could have come up with such a beautiful thing as Evolution or Relativity").

    Science (and Evolution in general) only appear to be in conflict with people who believe the Bible to be literal.

    The problem with ID and Creationism is that its believers are attempting to foist their beliefs not only on the atheistic popluation, but on every other religion (inlcuding other Christians) who have no problem rectifying their own religious beliefs with Science.

    IMHO, you are the one who needs to be woken up. The day you realize the Bible is not literal is the day you realize that there is actually no conflict between Science and Religion at all.

  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:35PM (#13241072) Homepage Journal
    That's because people like swamii are mentally stunted and require the safety blanket that illogical perceptions of "absolute truth" provide. In reality, there is no way to ever know you know anything for sure, so the solution to people who are mentally lacking and find this situation uncomfortable is to simply remove themselves from reality.

    I used to have an aunt who would become exceptionally agitated if you mentioned the vastness of the universe to her, because the enormous volumes involved are pretty much unfathomable to the typical human mind due to a complete and utter lack of relevant context. She would simply choose not to think about it because she became uncomfortable.

    Similarly, religion shuts down the brain in order to provide a comforting idea of solidity that, of course, probably doesn't exist. I mean, let's face it. When it comes right down to it, most people are only capable of thinking to the extent that it keeps them alive in their own little world. Few people are gifted with the ability to think out the advancement of the human race. When you consider how dumb most people are compared to the tiny number of exceptionally intelligent people who move society forward, it's really no surprise that religion is so prevelant. This is why intelligent, rational discussion doesn't work when highly religious people push agendas: they're not intelligent or rational enough. Granted, these are usually only the religious people who are obscenely stupid, but they get the support of the 'normals' just because they play the solidarity card (e.g. "science / liberals / reality is out to get me and therefore you too").

    Or, to wrap all that up in one nice package: religion exists because most people are too dumb to understand their own reality and get wrapped up in false allegiances with some really stupid people.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:37PM (#13241110)
    Kids are smart enough to decide for themselves what makes sense

    Not most kids. Perhaps the smart ones. The rest will beleive what ever someone in authority tells them.
  • 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.
  • It's almost over (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mc900ftjesus (671151) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:53PM (#13241345)
    This is just another chapter in ingnorance in the US. Of course no prominent Christians will come out and say this should not be taught in school. The very fact that their Christians won't let then say that it's not ok to teach this. They're just a more civilized version of suicide bombers, totally blind and unreasonable all the same.

    Any parents out there: If your child ever mentions that the words intelligent design or creatonism were mentioned in school, sue the crap out of that school. Any lawyer will grab that one. That's the easiest case in the word in a legal sense. Here's your arguement: "What's the basis for creationism?" When the only answer is Bible, you win. End of story. Why this isn't being done, I don't know. My parents might sue the school district and they don't have kids in school anymore, they're Catholic and they're pissed that this is even a topic.

    Whenever you hear one of these idiots preaching about Creationism, just tell them that they're awful Christians. Tell them that this is a monir issue compared to all of the people overseas that they let die every day from starvation and disease so they can live their lavish American lifestyle (by lavish I mean they can always FIND food). If they think you're being unreasonable, ask them why Jesus and the Apostles(sp) gave up everything to preach the word, why do they need a Land Rover. In fact any Christian that has any worldly possesions while people are starving in the world isn't a good Christian. They should be willing to give up everything to help others if they follow the Bible.

    Fortunately I'm not a Christian, so this doesn't apply to me. Ha ha, that's what you get for following a 2000-year-old book but only as much as is convenient for your lifestyle. In your face.

    Done venting. Thanks /.
  • Re:Sheep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:54PM (#13241364) Homepage Journal
    So why don't you present us with some of these "strong arguments" against evolution then? I see creationism apologists like you claiming there are so many strong arguments against it all the time, yet to this date I have never once seen any such claim which has shown even the faintest little understanding of science.

    Besides, you don't prove scientific theories, you attempt to use them to make predictions that can be falsified. The more and simpler falsifiable conditions that can be made for a theory, the more attempts are made at proving them false without succeeding, the surer we get that the theory is true.

    As an example, if someone presented as a theory that Santa Claus really existed, and does come down the chimney of every house where a child lives every Christmas, a falsifiable prediction would be that he would come down a set of specific chimneys within a specific time interval. If he doesn't, then the theory can be discarded with relative ease.

    Evolution has the support of the scientific community because a wide range of falsifiable predictions can be made from it, and a wide range of those predictions are within our ability to test, and have been tested with success.

    Thats the fundamental difference between evolution and intelligent design: There is no coherent theory of intelligent design from which one can extract conditions with which to prove it false. It's not even attempting to be a scientific theory. Something that isn't specific enough that you can prove it false if it indeed is false is useless as a theory because you can only take it on faith.

    At which point we might as well believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy - creationism has no more scientific basis than either of them.

    Unless you can present a framework for creationism that can withstand even a tiny fraction of the scrutiny that the theory of evolution has withstood, creationism is nothing but an idea with no scientific basis, while evolution is well tested, well understood and supported by a barrage of experiments and observations that have supported predictions based on it.

  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @12:56PM (#13241381)
    This is nothing more than a way of appealing to the votes of social conservatives.
    You are most likely correct on this point, but I'll guarantee you that if the science community wanted to build a line-item Super Collider-like instrument to test string theory back in the 90s, then they certainly would have cared what Clinton thought. In fact, when Clinton chose not to pull the Super Collider out of the can when Congress zeroed it out, I'm sure a lot of people cared what his thoughts were about particle physics.
  • by Tsiangkun (746511) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:01PM (#13241464) Homepage
    I propose that if each species were custom created by a higher order creature of superior intelligence, we would observe unique genomes in each species with little conservation between say a plant and an animal. We should not see a tight correlation in the ordering of genes on chromosomes between a mouse and a human, and we should not see the same sequences between genes conserved at any appreciable rate.

    However, what we actually observe is a tremendous amount of code reuse, even between kingdoms there are conserved genes. We see conservation of intron sequences, conservation of non-coding repetitive sequences, and we see the ordering of the genes on chromosomes conserved with a frequency that is strangely proportional to the wack ass scientists' evolutionary time line.

    Now, I would say an old timepiece is an example of intelligent design, as are the mirrors in the Hubble space telescope. Both are too precise to be built by chance and happenstance. Why then, when we compare the two, do we find no similarities, despite them being as similar as a tree and a kangaroo ?

    Hmmm, could it be, that the intelligent design was just a lazy designer who built one thing and let it go through a process of imperfect replication ?
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:04PM (#13241510)
    There is a huge difference here. With Muslims, the religous leaders are not standing up and preaching terrorism is bad. Rather, to the West they say they don't support that yet remain silent within their own teachings.

    That's passive endorcement. If they wanted to stop it, their leaders would be a whole lot more vocal about it...but since it's mostly the west that suffers from it, they remain silent...passively assisting the corrupt teachings.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:06PM (#13241538) Journal
    First, how can the evolution theory be falsified?

    An easy one is finding a bunny rabbit in 250 million year old sediments. Another one, ripped off from Creationist strawmen of evolution, is a dog naturally giving birth to a bird.

    Second, in real science theories must be supported by a repeatable experiment with consistent result. How can you prove a theory where not only the process cannot be reproduced but we do not even have a comprehensive record of the only occurance that we observed.

    This is why scientific education is so important. You betray some ignorance of how science actually functions. Scientists, for instance, can't build UFOs, nor can they go back 13.5 billion years ago and replay the Big Bang. What has to be repeatable is the observation.

    And after all, talking about scientific theories, ask molecular biologists what do they know about evolution of DNA. Some of them may tell you they believe it just "evolved", but that's an area of personal beliefs.

    Odd, I've talked to molecular biologists and they insist that evolution did happen, that the genes of all extant organisms indicate that they fit into a nested hieararchy (as confirmation of what was already known from the fossil record). As this is a key piece of evidence for evolution, it makes me wonder just how many molecular biologists you have actually talked to at all.

  • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012@pot a . 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 Tsiangkun (746511) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:11PM (#13241614) Homepage
    The theory of evolution does not attempt to address the creation of life.

    Evolution is a theory of how the diverse life forms arised over time.

    Evolutionist really don't care about where life started.

    Creationist try to twist the theory of evolution into an explanation fo rthe creation of life, which it is not, and does not pretend to be.

  • by coaxial (28297) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:15PM (#13241660) Homepage
    Sit down child, because you're going to get a lesson in politics. When someone, especially a high-level, powerful, and influential person says "advocates for contrasting ideas" in the context of a specific "contrasting idea", that's an endorsement with plausible-deniability. (e.g. "Oh crap! I'm getting flak. Well...um...I didn't actually SAY that.")

    Things like "exposing them to different ideas" and "properly taught" are what's known as "code words." Words that appear to be about one thing, but actually about something else entirely. Here are two examples. One code word that shows up when discussing Supreme Court nominees, "Plessy-vs-Ferguson." Now why on Earth would the 1892 case that created the now discredited and defunct idea of "seperate but equal" have any bearing on cases today? Why would that be brought up? Why would "Dred Scott", the 1857 case that ruled that slaves were property have any bearing on anything today? I'll tell you.
    They're code words for "Roe v Wade", the case that legalized abortion nationwide. Everyone "in the know" knows what Dred Scott == Roe v Wade, but if you challenge the politico on about abortion, he'll say "Well that's a different case," and technically he's right, but the message has already been sent loud and clear.

    Now back to the presidential endorsement of ID. Bush advocates "both sides" to be taught. Sounds like a reasonable position right? Only if you don't realize THERE ISN'T ANOTHER SIDE! No one. -- let me repeat that -- no one in the scientific community has any problems with the theory of evolution. That means there's abosultely no scientific controversy.

    No supporters of ID say: "But evolution is just a theory, and that's only a guess. Scientitst don't know! ID is simply another guess. Who's say who is right and who is not?" That logic is based on a fundamental misunderstanding on just what a scientific theory really is.

    A scientific theory is not merely "a guess" as IDers would have you believe. It's an archetecture explaining a whole series of observations that has been supported by many experiments by many different scientits. A "guess" isn't even a hypothesis. A guess is saying "heads" on a coin flip. A hypothesis is a testable (i.e. "falifyable") educated prediction about a single event. ID isn't falsifyable, and so it not even a hypothesis, let alone a theory. Read this [wilstar.com] for a good description of law versus theory versus hypothesis versus guess.

    ID is a biblical creation myth wrapped in pseudoscience. The conclusion that the universe was created by an intellegent entity in a manner consistent with judeo-christian mythology is the predetermined. Then "facts" are manipulated to give the illusion of support for that conclusion. That's not science. Science gathers observations then arrives at conclusions that can explain the observations. If an observation contradicts the conclusions, the conclusions are modified and or replaced. Creationists, which IDers are all the way, don't do that. If an observation contradicts their conclusion, it's ignored.

    Teaching ID along with evolution is a completly intellectually bankrupt idea. It equates a well supported scientific archetecture with demonstrably untrue mumbo-jumbo. It's the equivalent of saying that the Earth is round needs to be "balanced" by the Earth is flat. Or that a geocentric universe should be taught in order to "balance" the heliocentric solar system.
  • by Bozdune (68800) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:16PM (#13241670)
    Sorry, that's not part of the deal. Which is why all religions are inherently dangerous. If a person accepts something on faith, he has narrowed his view such that he becomes blind to reality, sometimes to painfully obvious things like the fossil record (I like Martin Gardner's tongue-in-cheek explanation of the fossil record: It was created on the 7th day, complete with clues to a non-existent far distant past, to test our faith).

    The problem is, narrowed perspective notwithstanding, people keep doing pesky things like... oh, I don't know... voting. Electing Creationists to the School Board. Stuff like that.

    So it's inescapable. "They" will never "leave you the frig alone." That's the whole frigging problem.
  • by _LORAX_ (4790) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:17PM (#13241685) Homepage
    Well then everthing is political. So removing AIDS information from government websites to push a sociall conservative agenda is ok. Pushing and abstence only police not only in this coutry, but in other is ok? ( Brazil recently turned down 40 million in AIDS funding from the US because they would have to subvert their own scientific research to push abstence dispite having made substantial headway on actual reduction in new cases ).

    Also if you are reffering to him spending 3x as mush as any other president, that is a boldface lie that although often repeated has been complety refuted by facts.

    Global warming, bush ( or the administration ) has repeatedly stated that global warming does not exist!

    Tax policy. While the structure of the debate is highly fluid I can say that current policy boggles the mind. Conservates believe in small government and less taxation. But here we have the worst of all worlds, an administration that is quick to provide entitlements ( while ignoring the dcientifically derived numbers ) while decreasing tax revenue ( with a different and wrong set of numbers ) while bashing SS ( with a completly different set of made up numbers ).

    Everyone is entitle to their own opinion but not their own facts!

  • by KingJoshi (615691) <slashdot@joshi.tk> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:24PM (#13241777) Homepage
    Bullshit. A lot of imams and others have spoken out against it. It just doesn't get the same airplay. You do a Google News search and you'll see many articles pointing out a recent instance. But many Muslim organizations in the US and elsewhere have spoken out against it.

    But Islam it's not like Catholicism where you have the Pope. I mean, many Christians wouldn't want their views to be portrayed by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

    I'm not saying I don't wish moderate Muslims would do more, I'm just saying you can't say they haven't done anything.
  • by Rostin (691447) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:26PM (#13241799)
    you tend to run in to problems with that view,there's a lot of rules laid out in the old testemant that just aren't very compatible with modern society.

    This is ridiculously false. There are disagreements among Bible-believing Christians about how the law should be used today, but it is almost universally understood (on the basis of literal interpretation) that it does not apply in the same way as it once did. The New Testament is saturated with contrasts between the New Convenant and Old Covenant. Please do a little research before leaping to any more conclusions. You might start with a google search for "christianity old testament law."

    So most non-fundie Christians take the view that the bible is a story about how to live your life, and a story about Jesus's teachings, thus NOT meant to be taken literally and that no, you don't have to obey all the forms in the OT to get to heaven, just accept Jesus as your saviour.

    Which Christians believe that you have to obey all the forms in the OT to get to heaven? You seem to be implying that "fundies" believe this. Name such a group that has more than.. I dunno.. 1000 members. In reality, one of the definitional beliefs of fundamentalism is that we need to "just accept Jesus" to be saved.

    It seems then a gross misunderstanding to claim that this is one part that MUST be taken as literally true, espically given it is one of the parts that seems most clearly to not be. That all the stuff you don't like in the OT isn't meant to be taken literally and done today, but this one part is.

    The misunderstanding here is mostly yours. First of all, you seem to be misunderstanding the technical concept of literal interpretation. The literal interpretation is the meaning of the text intended by the author. We try to discover it by looking at the text itself, studying the author's culture, studying the author's other writings, etc. Literal interpretation in this sense recognizes that the author could have intended what he wrote to be taken metaphorically. "Fundie" scholars who claim that the Genesis account of creation must be taken "literally" in the non-technical sense should do so because in their scholarly opinion, the author meant to be understood that way. There are also plenty of conservative scholars out there who literally interpret the Genesis account to be at least partially non-literal. See for example the so-called Framework Hypothesis. Second, and again, conservative, bible-believing Christians don't (or at least shouldn't) selectively ignore parts of the old testament they don't like. This is just a mistaken perception on your part.
  • by kpharmer (452893) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:31PM (#13241889)
    However, the magna carta mostly focused on protection of rights of nobles. Didn't do much for anyone else (at least not directly).

    Additionally, I don't see how Athens was hardly democratic since it only allowed male citizens to vote, but the early US was democratic even though it only allowed non-indian, non-black, male, land-owning citizens to vote.

    It looks like you may have rearranged the facts to fit your theory.
  • by Clod9 (665325) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:40PM (#13242020) Journal
    You can easily say the same thing about the majority of information on evolution. Introduce the scientific method, and then spend days showing the kids artist's impressions of what life could have been like for Homo Erectus, along with reconstructions of whole skeletons based on a few rib bones (but don't bother displaying the actual raw evidence, just throw in some big name like "Leakey" and tell 'em that "the consensus among scientists is ...")

    The way it's taught now, evolution isn't falsifiable either. To teach it for real, you'd have to teach the kids college-level biochemistry. Let's prioritize!

    The whole origins thing is not worth spending immensely valuable class time on. It's only important if you have religious feelings about it anyway (and if you do -- you don't belong in the classroom according to current law.) Since nobody agrees, spend the time on some of the 1,000+ fascinating areas of science that are both useful and provable.

    "Equal Time" indeed...it should be equal, 0 hours on creationism (by whatever name) and 0 hours on evolution.

  • by durbnpoisn (813086) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:41PM (#13242033) Homepage
    There are 2 different schools of thought on evolution.
    1. The conservatives that refuse to accept that we evolved from apes.
    2. Everyone else who can clearly see all the evidence that evolution is far more than a simple theory. (aside: "If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?" "For the same reason that there are 100 million different kinds of insects. Just because one mutation is successful doesn't mean that the original will die off.")

    The idea behind ID is that there must have been intelligent intervention because the current system is too complicated to be explained any other way.

    Why?

    That's like saying that there must be intelligence involved when a hurricane forms. Anyone who throws out the catastrophic number of variables that determine how a storm forms could probably come to that conclusion.

    The simple fact is so obvious. Time only move forward. And as it does so, all things within time become more chaotic. And as they become more chaotic, they will work off each other, and change as everything changes around them. In other words, everything evolves..

    When it comes time to explain all of this to my children, I will explain that, yes, there is a debate about it. But, the people making the opposing argument are ignorant, closed minded, and foolish.

    //Rant
  • 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 Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @01:54PM (#13242189)
    So the scientific method is one method to understanding. Rejecting "intelligent design" as a means to understanding on the grounds that it is not the scientific method is equally close minded.

    Science has the approach "If I poke/prod X, I expect Y" and then following that up with analysis. It's a tool that has proven useful over oh, the past few hundred years and probably is why we're typing this on an electronic bulletin board from a computer in our corporate office, instead of hand writing on parchment to correspondents who may /dev/null it. It's a method of sounding out ideas, and accepting or rejecting them, it works but is increasingly limited by our ability to verify our predictions.

    "Intelligent Design", while not totally new in concept may be helpful. If in fact the universe was designed by an intelligence that humans can understand, perhaps thinking along these lines will help produce new ideas that can then be tested with the scientific method. It's a way of generating ideas, not proving them. If you accept God, or a Wizard as a an intelligence we can understand, and who had total control over the creation of All Things, I think that could help us hone our theorizing. If it were true, I haven't seen evidence of that, but maybe it's there. Like any philosophy however, it's really a thought excersize.

    I think however that "intelligent design" in practice is the re-invention of medieval scholasticism. "How do we take views that conflict with christian orthodoxy that are useful, and reconcile them with Biblical Truth". That has no business in public school, and history documents clearly that such dark age thinking held society in place for a thousand years in wretched conditions. We do not want to go back there.

    Intelligent Design, as I've heard it explained by less politically motivated people, sounds like as reasonable of a philosophy as any. That does imply that it belongs in a college philosophy class, and not high school biology. I think, hope, that college kids will have attained a level of maturity that allows them to not accept everything Professor says as fact, because this subject aside, quite often that's already not the case.
  • by Yunzil (181064) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:20PM (#13242531) Homepage
    Adolf Hitler

    Sorry, Hitler believed he was doing God's work. Really.

    Vladimir Stalin

    Joseph, surely.

    My point is this: the worst massacres seem to stem from athiestic leaders, not religious leaders.

    What about the Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? The witch hunts which went on for centuries?

    I think smart athiests in general risk falling into that group. They tend to conclude that morality is a nice and useful convention, but nothing more. I.e., there's no reason to follow it beyond the utilitarian benefits of everyone acting morally.

    Pretty much, yeah.

    So when a smart athiest concludes that acting morally isn't in his best interests, nothing restrains him from acting according to his self-serving desires.

    Except for the consequences from the people who don't agree with him.
  • by orim (583920) <orimk@yaho o . c om> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:27PM (#13242618)
    Yeah, that's just fucking loony. The notion that we need to quit poisoning the planet is just outrageous! I demand more lead and arsenic in our water supply!

    Also, promoting a learning enviroment where one is exposed to people different than us so we learn some tolerance in our younger days is also just absolutely ridiculous.

    And social justice? Don't even get me started on that! Those pinko commie bastards are out to ruin our children!

    We must fight this scourge with all means at our disposal. We must explain to these people that the good Lord wanted us to rape the Earth (says so right in the Bible), didn't intend for us to mix, and indeed, that Jesus's message was all about amassing personal wealth. Once this message gets through to those god-hating commies, we'll all be able to rest easy in our perfect world.

  • by lightning01 (101001) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:36PM (#13242734)
    Ummm, don't you have the whole concept backwards? Surely it's up to IDists to explain why their theory better explains natural diversity than Evolution. You don't just switch over to a entirely new explanation just because the current theory doesn't seem to cover all the bases. Especially when the new theory doesn't seem to cover any.

    As to "everyone agrees..." if you're saying that science doesn't explain the natural universe, then no, I'm guessing most don't agree with you. If you're saying science doesn't explain faith, then I'm sure you are right.

    Science doesn't have limits - science is a process. Just because we don't understand something now, does not mean it is outside the perview of science to explain it.
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:41PM (#13242790)
    Did you notice the key part of your post has, "North America" in it? I'll get excited when the same statements are made by Muslim leaders in the Middle East and it becomes part of their normal doctrine.
  • by SJS (1851) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:42PM (#13242807) Homepage Journal
    "Equal Time" indeed...it should be equal, 0 hours on creationism (by whatever name) and 0 hours on evolution.
    Leave biology out of school, you mean?

    That's not that terrible of an idea. Put more time in mathematics and physics and chemistry; work on increasing the reading level of the students; use the time spent in biology classrooms to teach additional courses so that the average class size can go down.

    There's nothing in high-school biology that's really _useful_ (unless it's the biology teachers who get saddled with sex-ed mandates). You don't learn anything about the scientific method, but you do spend a lot of time learning that you should respect the opinions of the authorities in a subject (this applies to the evolutionists, the creationists, and the intelligent design-ists -- "look, we're right, trust us!").

    On the other hand, it's easy to demonstrate the utility of the Scientific Method in a physics class -- start with Aristotle's claim that heavy objects fall faster.... or better yet, start with the claim that all objects fall at the same speed, and then drop a lead weight and a small feather.

    What are, after all, the important lessons from Science? How to handle being wrong gracefully is one of 'em, presumably. Not often practiced, but an essential skill in theory. Another lesson would be that one experiment isn't conclusive, because experiments are often flawed.

    Provide a write-up of an experiment, but falsify the data. Teach the students that they shouldn't trust the results of any experiment they can't replicate themselves with their own equipment. Rig some experiments with some sleight-of-hand. Teach the students that they can't trust their eyes. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    So...

    Less emphasis on "what we know" and more emphasis on "let's find out". And THAT would be teaching a _useful_ form of Science in the schools, rather than some sort of twisted authoritarianism subject to the political whim of the month.

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:43PM (#13242824) Homepage Journal
    The vast majority of "us" are leaving you alone. Its comments like yours and the OP that usually bring up discussion.

    To the OP. If a teacher prays, what difference does that make. In a leftist view, is prayer not an ideal that you and your children should be tolerant of? Your child does not have to participate.

    Prayer is also free-speech and last time I checked we could still have free-speech in public.

    Honestly what would make the country a better place if people (Christians included) would stop being so insecure in whatever they believe to be offended when someone believes something different.
  • by Kopretinka (97408) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:44PM (#13242836) Homepage
    All of physics etc. are just theories, i.e. something that can be supported by evidence, that can predict the results of experiments, and that can be disproved by new evidence. We cannot really prove these theories, on the contrary by disproving them (like Newtonian Gravity) we generally improve (accepting Einstein's Relativity).

    So, perhaps ironically, we should teach in schools only stuff that's disprovable, in the hope that the pupils will grow to disprove all that stuff.

    I believe the other word commonly used is falsifiable, in case this rings a bell.

  • 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.

  • by dantheman82 (765429) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:53PM (#13242939) Homepage
    Since when have Physics, Biology, and Chemistry stopped being based on philosophical frameworks (or presuppositions)? Apparently, people so quickly forget that Copernicus was a sun-worshipper who supported his theory (which ended up being factually correct) despite having less evidence than its predecessor. As far as I remember, his theory is still taught as science today. Have we forgotten the great philosopher Hume who in his philosophy nixed much of what we call science as being provable since he denied the "law of causality"?

    As a philosophy minor with an interest in the philosophy of science, I've searched into this a bit more than the people who blindly accept what the scientists (who suck at philosophy, frankly) pass down. There is widespread disagreement among scientists about the origin of life, ranging from alien interference (a wacky idea that is totally swallowed by many despite the fact that aliens have not been scientifically verified or classified) and meteorites as well as more basic scientific processes. You'd think with our extensive knowledge of Physics/Biology/Chemistry, we'd have this "proved" already but scientists and theologians all have perpetuated "myths" instead (although in reality one such "myth" may in fact be true).

    As far as proving God philosophically, I'd think while many have exhausted much effort, they are likely wasting their time as it's probably impossible trying to prove a God whose logic supercedes ours. If it's a superhuman God, well then we've changed the traditional meaning of "God" and we might as well get to work creating a gentically perfect clone to prove our argument correct.

    I'd be curious how many who have posted have actually attended an ID conference at Yale University like I have a few years ago. These people receive no backing from the Institute for Creation Research [icr.org] and they have various philosophical backgrounds and quite a bit more serious creditionals than the ICR folks. I've seen Evangelicals, Catholics, agnostic Jews, and likely others all giving major speeches covering indepth probability theory, biochemistry, and other areas of their expertise as it pertains to the naturalistic theories. Of course, some /.ers may still trust their college science textbooks as Scripture despite the fact that they have (and even still do) included faulty experiments in support of various simplistic evolutionary ideas which have been already discounted by current researchers and evolutionary proponents.

    I'd prefer that the whole "origin of life" issue and general discussion of evolution be completely dropped from textbooks entirely. Leave out evolution, leave out creationism, leave out ID. Just teach the current theories, taxonomies, etc. and have interested students study "Evolution" as another optional scientific discipline. And replace that content and time with a study of philosophy and/or logic because young students today could benefit more by learning how to THINK critically!
  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @02:59PM (#13243003) Homepage
    "The notion that we need to quit poisoning the planet is just outrageous!"
    If it only ended there, most people wouldn't have a problem. The problem begins when environmentalists preach that everything we humans do is "unnatural" or "harmful to the environment." The religious implication is that we humans are not part of the environment, that we are somehow not supposed to do anything, since all that we do harms the "pristine" environment.
    "promoting a learning enviroment where one is exposed to people different than us so we learn some tolerance in our younger days is also just absolutely ridiculous."

    When done at the point of a gun, it's not ridiculous, it goes against the right of free association in the Bill of Rights. The amendment doesn't say "the right to freely assemble will only be abridged if there are insufficient numbers of ethnic or racial minority members in the assembly."

    "And social justice?"
    "Social justice" is one of those keywords that are used to mean "spread the guilt around to everyone not directly responsible". The idea that being judged a member of a group makes you personally responsible for the actions of everyone in that group, especially across generations and across geographical distances, is the basis of "social justice." Reparations for slavery, "affirmative action" hiring quotas, speech codes in universities, these are all means to hold people responsible for the actions of others, in the name of "social justice."

    I have enough sins on my own hands, I refuse to be responsible for, and refuse to be punished for, the sins of anyone else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:10PM (#13243118)
    F = ma is 100% correct as Force is a human concept to help us understand the modle of the universe, and the numbers work well enough for most applications. If you need something more precise derive it using Calculus.

    The same goes for evolution. You can teach a generalized view of evolution to children because it is what the mainstream of actual scientists believe is our best understanding at this time.

    As the church taught what the mainstream of actual philosphies were in regard to the orginization of the universe "The earch is flat, fixed in place on it's thrown in the center of the universe with the stars, sun and moon orbiting on glass shperes"?

    Yeah, I like that idea. A Long time ago, people KNEW the world was flat. A long time ago, people KNEW the earth was the center of the universe. Imagine what you'll KNOW tomarrow.

    Once the mainstream changes, then we can start educating students differently. And all of those students have the opportunity to discover the details on their own,

    The education system as it stands doesn't allow for that. They are indoctrination centers. I had a friend who used calculus to find the maximum area inside a fence with a given parameter. It was on a test that you have to pass to graduate from Milwaukee Public Schools, and was graded by teachers who volunteered (not neededly math teachers) at central office. His answer was right, but he was supposed to use lesser maths, because the gradder just couldn't follow.

    although they will have to take considerable time to learn the prerequisite knowledge to do so.

    Why? Instead of saying "9.8 meters per second per second is the gravatational constant," or instead of telling kids what acceleration is, why not have them actually find it for themselves.

    Most Labs I got in highschool told us in the "purpose" what conclutions we were supposed to draw. If we ended up with mesurements that didn't match the experiment, it must be us who made a mistake.

    That changed, for me, when I entered Sal's Physic's class in my senior year. We weren't told the force due Gravity on earth is 9.8 m/s^2, we had to drop objects of different sizes from constant height and see if heavier objects really do hit the ground first. The semester was spent throwing and timing, rolling and timing, swiniging and timing, skipping and timing, etc. If someone came up with results that didn't match, she'd say "science is based observations, and if that is what you saw then that is what you have." If they were really strange and way off, she say, "Science must also repeatable, so show me."

    Most of the people who were in Advanced Placement Chemistry really had a problem with Physics, because they were used to reading facts in a book, memorizing them and then doing them in a lab. Sal was the other way arround, don't open the book untill you draw your own conclussions. Sal was a rarity, her degree was in what she taught -- not in education. I wish there were more teachers that taught people how to think.
  • by Telecommando (513768) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:13PM (#13243156)
    Do the Darwinists get equal time in the churches as well? Seems only fair.
  • by hesiod (111176) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:21PM (#13243244)
    > Only faith can say one way or another at this time. This last statement will cause people to close their minds and begin shooting profanities at me.

    I don't know about shouting profanities, but certainly pointing out that you are wrong. You see, despite how hard you may wish for something to be true, believing it so does not make it so. Faith can not say anything "one way or another!" It is only a personal belief with no basis in truth. If it happens to mirror truth, great! But don't try to tell me that the truth arose from the belief.
  • by Macdude (23507) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @03:28PM (#13243299)
    ID should not be taught in any class. It can be discussed, say in a psychology class to point out the gullibility and sheep-like behaviour of people but it should not be taught. Astrology shouldn't be taught either but it can be discussed in other context.

    Heck, ID has a place in the science classroom. When teaching what the scientific method is it could be used as an example of something that isn't science.
  • by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:04PM (#13243735) Homepage
    Church is optional. Education, at least until you're 16 in the U.S., is mandatory. 'nuff said.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:23PM (#13243979) Homepage
    A few imams in the West don't count.

    The imam in the street in Dubai has to be preaching this stuff & that isn't happening. In general, once you get east of the Turkish border most moral authorities will do their best to excuse the behaivor of any sort of terrorist while attempting a weak condemnation.

    Moderate muslims in London don't quite count.
  • Re:The Arguement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Onan (25162) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:27PM (#13244037)
    So, by your logic, not only do we *have* to exist, there must be an infinite number of (ever so slightly different) well-formed human races in the galaxy, compounded by an even greater infinite number of malformed, degenerate, incomplete evolutions of dirt.
    With the small correction that "galaxy" != "universe", yes, this seems obviously true. What of it?
    You'd think one could follow the same logic, and purport that not only should there be one "missing link", there should be a nearly infinitessimal number, easily and regularly discovered by school children around the globe.
    ....eh?

    Even leaving out what appear to be gross misuses of the terms "infinitessimal" and "missing", you now appear to be equating the universe with a single planet. The time and space that evolution on this planet have seen is clearly finite, so expecting every possible thing to have happened here recently is not approriate.

    (And I can't resist dismissing this "missing link" nonsense. No matter how many links there are, how closely placed, there will always be some space between them in which someone can claim that there's another step that's missing.)

  • by Cyno (85911) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:37PM (#13244176) Journal
    whose side is being dogmatic?

    Good question. The speculation that God or Aliens created life on Earth is an unreasonable conclusion to draw from the evidence at this time.

    I don't care what you believe, I only care what you can prove. So please, supply this theory of Intelligent Design, if you even know what a scientific theory is. HINT: Its not a guess. Or properly reclassify it as theology, not biology.

    because we KNOW we arised spontaneously.

    Who's we, Pocahontas? The Homo Sapiens I know evolved over many many centuries of.. you guessed it.. evolution.

    Did God/Aliens also create?
    Homo Habilis
    Homo Erectus
    Homo Sapiens
    Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis
    Homo Sapiens Sapiens
    Homo Floresensis

    Why so many mistakes? Cognitive dissonance getting to ya? ;)

    Listen, what most people are saying is ID isn't even a theory, its not in the realm of biology. Its simply religion wrapped up in scientific sounding rhetoric. Nothing more. It is a waste of time for real scientists and educated people.

    Sure we can think about how the universe was created by some old guy with a beard saying a word, really loud and slow. But that's about a provable as the God I saw on my LSD trip last week. So please, just keep it to yourself until you do the research.. in short, stop wasting our time.

    Time is a limited resource, far more valuable than your opinion.
  • by TheGavster (774657) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @04:57PM (#13244424) Homepage
    Yeah, but if you brought a lead weight into the classroom you'd be crucified for endangering the children with lead, and if you brought a small feather it you're dead either for exposing them to avian viruses or torturing animals. And let's not even think about the witchcraft trial over your sleight of hand wizardry ...
  • by andr386 (703803) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:12PM (#13244588) Journal
    Voila, being an european, I've neven been bothered by this question.

    In total honestly I hope this article doesn't try to make this debate look as something that people outside of the USA cares. We don't give a fuck about your Intelligent .. design an so forth...

    There is not debate here. This is as much interesting as wheter Jesus Christ went to the USA between 12 and 30... Come on.

    To us the USA are the most scientific country in the world, and such a debate is so funny to us. We cannot even considerate it.
  • by pivo (11957) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:13PM (#13244600)
    Church is optional

    For the moment
  • by Cheirdal (776541) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:35PM (#13244825) Homepage
    You don't have an good grasp of what "science" is if you think "Intelligent Design" is science. For the last time, people, OBSERVABLE PHENOMENA is what makes up science. Pulling something out of your ass and saying "Wow, this is complex, that surely means there was an intelligent designer." is NOT science. You can keep your ID in mythology classes where it belongs but don't try to con it off as science, because its not science and it never will be.
  • by dustmite (667870) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:38PM (#13244859)

    So just to make sure I understand:

    - When muslims blow up Israeli or American women and children using suicide bombers, it's "terrorism", and is "wrong".

    - When Israelis or Americans blow up Arab women and children using tanks and Apache helicopters, it's justifiable either as "self-defence" or "collateral damage", and is "right".

    OK, I think I got it, thanks.

  • by Bowling Moses (591924) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:43PM (#13244918) Journal
    I can think of nothing more convincing than the evidence. Such as the nearly complete Turkana Boy skeleton, an example of Homo erectus from roughly 1.6 million years ago, as presented in this textbook on evolution [blackwellpublishing.com]. A few ribs my ass. Or how about this nice picture of a whole bunch of hominid skulls [talkorigins.org] from 2.6 million years ago to the present? Teach it for real, and it doesn't take undergraduate level biochemistry. Show the kids pictures of the fossils. Tell the kids about human DNA [pnas.org]: how our chromosome 2 is clearly the result of a fusion event between two mid-sized progenitor chromosomes, which are still seen in chimps, our closest relatives. Tell the kids that 200 years ago christian geologists went looking for evidence of the Biblical flood and instead found evidence that the Earth is ancient. While we're at it, we should show them the evidence for creationism and intelligent design, too: a deafening silence lasting 10 seconds should suffice.

    You want to falsify evolution? Okay, find a bunny rabbit in the Precambrian. Sequence a mamalian genome and find out that it is more closely related to a banana than another mammal. Find a lizard that doesn't use the standard genetic code or a very close derivative of it. Find a bird with a different set of 20 amino acids. Find a chimera--for instance, a tree with 100% tree features, except that it's TCA cycle enzymes are identical to those found in mice, or if you don't want any biochemistry or genetics, find a goat with bird feathers--can't happen under evolution. Every day, more fossils are found. More genes are sequenced. More papers published, and more proteins are compared. Every day evolution is tested, as it makes specific predictions about how species are interrelated. As a result, evolution is the most thoroughly tested theory in science. Have a look at the evidence--a small portion of it is easily available for the general audience online at talkorigins [talkorigins.org] . Creationism and intelligent design on the other hand are compatible with all evidence, as one can simply say "goddiditthatway" and you're good...unless you want to call it science. You want things taught in science class that are argeed on, fine. Teach evolution.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#13245015) Homepage Journal

    The actual possibility of God existing is actually 50%, not 0%.

    Nonsense. A number of options do not mean each option gets equal weight.

    for example, a meteor may crash into my house tonight. Or not. That doesn't mean the chances are 50% either way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @06:30PM (#13245321)
    He went to a hut in wich there was a witch-doctor and a woman bent over in pain. She had what looked like 6-8inch spikes coming out of her back. No, these were not implanted, they were more like part of her bone structure. He stated that he prayed for her and in the name of Jesus, cast the demon out and her back became normal again.) It is stuff like this that makes me come to this conclusion.

    Occam's razor says your friend was hallucinating, probably from some local intoxicant. Seriously, which is more likely?

    1) Friend sees a devil, even though hundreds of millions of Americans have never seen a devil and billions of people don't even believe in the devil.

    2) Friend was wasted, perhaps accidentally, perhaps not.

    So, go to a tribal person and say that any gods do not exist and he will call you a fool (since he sees the spiritual realm with his physical eyes way too often.

    Religion is, by definition, an explanation for the unexplainable. You might want to read up on Cargo Cults [wikipedia.org] to see how the uneducated can easily interpret the mundane as being supernatural.

    Ok... yes I am a christian. However ID does not mean non-scientific.

    Sorry bub, as long as there is no theoretical way to disprove ID, ID is not science. Falsibility is a mandatory component to the scientific method [wikipedia.org] which defines science.
  • by dustmite (667870) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @06:43PM (#13245427)

    Therefore on your view, historical evolution is nor more of a hypothesis than I.D. is, because we lack the means to test it.

    But we do have the means to determine whether proposed historical events were at least possible (or not) (and then likewise to see if that knowledge then allows us to make useful predictions).

    As an example (if we go back in time a bit), one could hypothesise on, say, the mechanics of hybridisation in plants, derive tests for it, and prove that your hypothesis on the mechanics holds true. Then one can make predictions that have utilitarian value - e.g. "if this is true, we can make higher-yielding wheat by hybridising this and that and that". And we have in fact done these things, and virtually every single time you eat anything you are benefitting from known facts about these particular aspects of the mechanics of evolution.

    This does not mean we can necessarily absolutely "prove" per se that any particular such events happened in the past - but we can prove that a particular explanation is at least possible, and eventually come to a conclusion that it's by far the most likely explanation for the past. And of course the ultimate test is when these theories demonstrate utility - e.g. building a better tomato plant. Such "proof" happens every day.

    (Of course, at this point, there is still a lot of ongoing work where more is being learnt about the actual mechanics of the evolutionary process.)

    Another example is selection - we may not be able to absolutely "prove", as such, that a particular species historically evolved along a particular path. But we can still hypothesise something called "selection", and derive tests to prove whether or not "selection" behaves as we think it does. And we did, and we proved it, and in fact our knowledge of selection has been used to create new vegetables, and to create "domestic dogs" from wolves and all the various kinds of domestic dogs. And EVERY SINGLE TIME anyone "tests" selection in a greenhouse, the theory's predictive value is again proved - it never fails. I have "faith" that I could show you selection in action, working as can be predicted from the theory, in a greenhouse or animal breeding facility - every time, without fail.

    An analogy: We cannot "prove" that historically, before Newton existed, "f = ma" was really true*. But since Newton figured it out, we have definitely been able to use the knowledge to make useful predictions about e.g. whether structures that we build are going to hold up, and thus how to build structures that hold. And now everywhere you go in modern society, basically every building you use is built using "f = ma". It's proved its utility. Our entire society is built on it. * Yes I know f=ma is only an approximation that becomes less accurate as objects move closer to the speed of light --- I'm just oversimplifying for the sake of argument, it's close enough to still be useful in everyday society.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @06:46PM (#13245441)
    99% proven? Evolution has a basis so unprovable that it makes the existence of God a certainty in comparison. Nobody ever has or ever will experience, observe, test, etc. the basis of evolution which is this:

    Some atoms happened to unite into molecules which happened to form substances that happened to be in close enough proximity at the right time, for a long enough time, in the perfect temperature, etc. to become SOMETHING that not only was a miracle in itself, but IT HAPPENED TO REPRODUCE BEFORE IT EXPIRED. AND THE PRODUCT OF THAT REPRODUCTION HAPPENED TO REPRODUCE AS WELL, ETC ETC ETC. AND THE WHOLE TIME THE ENVIRONMENT STAYED NOT ONLY HOSPITABLE BUT ENCOURAGED IT, etc.

    Sorry, but I think that religious experience is far more common and believable.

    Of course you can prove me wrong by rigging up a DeLorean into a time machine and hitting 80+ mph at the right time when a lighting bolt hits your local clock tower.
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:35PM (#13246106)

    Read the book, you will understand where the other side is coming from. It is not a religious issue for everybody but a strictly philosophical and scientific one. The reason people are so angry against ID is because religious people have hijacked a perfectly legitimate scientific challenge to evolution.

    No, ID is a transparent attempt to resurrect the failed Watchmaker argument. There are several immediately obvious problems with ID:

    - "irreducability" suggests that the only way a structure can exist is by being "built up" from something less complex. In fact, structures can also exist through the reduction of other structures via the loss of characteristics. For example, the construction of an arch often involves a scaffolding, which after the arch is constructed is removed. The resultant arch, it could be argued, is irreducibly complex as you can't take one brick away and have a viable structure. However, removing one brick is not the only way to incrementally backtrack the construction of the structure, and in fact has no connection to how the structure was actually constructed. Further it is concievable that a "natural" arch could arise from a rock avalanche falling on a mound of dirt that is later eroded away-- no defying of physics is required.

    - There's also a tacit assumption that the "intelligence" in "intelligent design" is necessarily self-aware. Intelligence can be defined as the accumulation and application of information. Certainly DNA has that capability, yet is not self-aware. It has the ability to accumulate modifications and "learn" from mistakes, without self-awareness. Consequently, the term "intelligent design" is a misnomer, as evolution itself can be said to be a) a design process and b) intelligent. The true difference between evolution as an intelligent design process and ID, is one characteristic the ID proponents always leave out of their arguments-- self awareness. Show me an ID proponent who will admit that the I in ID doesn't require self-awareness, then I'll show you someone who's theory doesn't contradict evolution. The real skeleton hiding in the ID camp is the belief that "intelligence must be self-aware." It is that skeleton that reveals the religious nature of ID.

    - As has already been stated, evolution is an explanation for many many known facts in biology, genetics, geology and I'm sure several other sciences I'm too tired to think of at the moment. While like any scientific explanation, it doesn't answer every possible question that can be posed, any replacement for it will have to explain notably more. Evolution however, is as close to a unified theory in these areas than we've seen by a long shot, and mainstream scientists are well aware of that-- that is why ID proponents must take their argument to the high schools where the less science literate can be buffooned into the bogus "fair play" argument that ID should have equal time. An argument in reality no different from an argument that Jesus should have "equal time" with Einstein in science classes. Dress it up in more PC language and sell it to the science-ignorant and there you have it...

  • by extrasolar (28341) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:59PM (#13246197) Homepage Journal
    Oh irony! You are here, reading Slashdot, complaining about sensationalist stories. Look at the OP for Christ's sake! Let me repeat: you are here, reading Slashdot, complaining about sensationalist stories. This is nothing you didn't already know!
  • by eventhorizon5 (533026) <ryan.tliquest@net> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:24PM (#13246569) Homepage
    >Evolution, however, is well over 99% proven.

    Ooh! So you mean you've studied have half-evolved species (usually with half-developed organs, etc), and have seen spontaneous generation occur in a lab setting? You mean you have all the information on how immune systems evolved, and that you've witnessed the increase in complexity among consecute generations of organisms? You mean it's been proven that single-celled organisms evolved on their own with 600 protein molecules, something that has a mathematical probability of 1 in 10^450? Wow - I need to see this ;)

    -eventhorizon
  • by Novous (844236) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:59PM (#13246744)
    >>Church is optional

    >For the moment

    If this was "funny", fine. But how is this insightful? How are people being forced to go to church? Not even radical Christians are demanding everyone go to church. Those radical Christians may be stupid, but this statement when used in a serious context is just lunacy.
  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:51PM (#13246965) Homepage Journal
    Quit setting up a straw man. Intelligent Design says that the idea that chemical soup naturally turned into life is so unlikely that life must have been designed by an intelligent designer, rather in the same way an archeologist would argue that his artifact was made by an intelligent designer (a human). Yea, they make use of Occam's Razor. As a side note, Intelligent Design is pretty much impossible to prove true, but you can prove it false by showing that evolution and abiogenesis are true or possible.
  • by kreyg (103130) <kreyg@shNETBSDaw.ca minus bsd> on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:35AM (#13247394) Homepage
    I always find the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in schools to be a bit odd.

    The hereditary and speciation parts of evolution would seem to be beyond dispute, although people with an agenda seem to ignore this bit.

    Spontaneous creation of the building blocks of life, and subsequent evolution into life as we know it, is probably impossible to actually prove or recreate due the probabilities involved, but if it is probable enough to happen somewhere, then it would at least be considered a possibility. I think it's perfectly reasonable to point out the possible shortcomings with this part of evolution, but it does at least seem to be a viable theory with relative few assumptions.

    "Intelligent design" being taught as an equally probable event though? It doesn't really have anything to do with science. It's the god of the gaps problem - anything we don't understand gets attributed to gods or faries or space aliens. It doesn't teach or inform us of anything and makes no useful predictions.

    So in short, I would be more than happy to have every shortcoming of evolutionary theory be taught in schools - we can't answer those questions unless everyone understands what they are. ID is a pretty obvious steath operation to get Christianity (not even ID) into classrooms, and it's a bad one at that, because it's not even a scientific topic.

    Doubt, not faith, is the path to truth.

  • by srw (38421) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @02:22AM (#13247545) Homepage
    > I'm not talking about what's in the book.

    But Christianity is defined by what's in "the book." Why wouldn't we talk about what's in "the book?" Any group that doesn't teach "the book" shouldn't call themselves "Christian." (If a compiler doesn't follow the C99 specs, it's not a C99 compiler. If a network card doesn't follow the 803.2 spec, it's not an Ethernet card. Why should a religion be any different?)

    > There are surely lots of "opinions", but surely Christian morality is very well defined in terms of, say, torture.
    > Not a single person responding in this thread has claimed that they heard a preacher teach how torture is a sin, earning a place in hell.

    Possibly because the Bible doesn't teach that torture is a sin, earning a place in hell. (or, maybe it does... I won't debate you on that, and for the record, I believe that in most cases torture is morally wrong.) The whole point of Christianity is not that "X" is a sin that earns a place in hell. The point of Christianity is that every one of us has sinned and earned our place in hell. (Disobeying your parents is a sin earning a place in hell. Telling a "fib" is a sin earning a place in hell. Wanting something that belongs to your neighbor is a sin earning a place in hell. The point of all the "don't"s is to show us that we _can't_ be "good enough" on our own.) The only way out of that situation is to accept the free gift of God provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's the point of Christianity and any "priest" teaching otherwise is missing the point.

    If you care to investigate what I'm saying here (and I encourage you to) may I suggest finding a modern translation (there's a whole nother debate I'll leave for another time) that you are comfortable with and reading the book of Romans. In the book of Romans (more correctly, Paul's letter to the Romans) Paul methodically and logically explains Christian doctrine to a group of people he has not yet met. His other letters to other groups seem to presume that those groups already understand the basics, but Romans doesn't make those assumptions.

    The first time I sat down and read Romans was about 10 years ago. It really blew my mind and made me re-evaluate what I believed. I'm still re-evaluating.

    (geez, I'm preaching on /. What am I thinking?!? )
  • by Taevin (850923) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:42PM (#13250895)
    Just so you understand, there is an extremely large difference between your two statements. The targets of the suicide bombers are civilians (the "women and children"). The targets of the US military are the militants shooting at them, and yes occasionally this does result in collateral damage. Purposefully targeting unarmed and innocent civilians is terrorism. Accidental civilian deaths due to the destructive nature of war, as terrible as that is, is not terrorism.

    You paint a picture of our troops mowing down civilians in the streets with the guns on attack helicopters or shelling a family while they are eating dinner. This is utterly rediculous and offensive. The fact is, in previous wars it was not uncommon for militaries to just level an entire city with carpet bombing. Now we spend a lot of money on precision weapons. While there are still regretable civilian casualties, they are comparatively small and localized to within a few dozen feet of the target. I guess in your self-righteousness you forgot that many of our soldiers over there are practically kids, the same kids that went to highschool with you and have no more desire to be there than you. But I'm sure you're right, there's nothing your average kid loves to do more than purposefully kill women and children.

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