Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana — the home town of Ball State University. The title is ID should be included in science instruction.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll just use the letter-writer’s first name, which is Kevin. Here are a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, let’s go:
Darwinian evolution has been a theory in crisis for several decades, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to people such as Eugenie Scott, spokeswoman for the National Center for Science Education. Despite much discussion of significant problems with evolutionary theory in the relevant scientific literature, Scott insists that there are “no weaknesses in the theory of evolution.” She’s either incredibly ignorant or, more likely, being dishonest.
Kevin knows how go get our attention with a strong beginning. Hang on, dear reader, this looks like a great letter. Then Kevin says:
The late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould declared in 1990 that neo-Darwinism “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy.”
Wow! That’s an obscenely mined quote which has been making the rounds for years, previously debunked by John Pieret here at his blog. Let’s read on:
Having been indoctrinated with the false belief that science must produce only naturalistic explanations, many view ID theory as nonscience or pseudoscience simply because it postulates the existence of an Intelligent Designer.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s precisely the problem with intelligent design (ID) — it postulates the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Kevin continues:
If science detects evidence of intelligent design in nature, such as the biological information encoded in DNA, why should that evidence be deemed inadmissible in the realm of scientific inquiry?
That’s another problem with ID. Although DNA is the subject of intense scientific research, no evidence has been detected that it’s the artificial work of a designer. Here’s more:
When the Big Bang theory was first proposed, more than a few scientists expressed opposition to it, not because it was nonscientific but because it implied the existence of a Creator. It’s the same with ID theory. Scientists who are philosophically committed to materialism oppose the theory on the basis of its implications, not because it is nonscientific or lacks the support of empirical evidence.
There was some confused reaction to the Big Bang theory, initially, but the supporting evidence has resulted in the theory’s overwhelming acceptance. And whatdaya know — today it’s the creationists who oppose the Big Bang. ID can enjoy such acceptance too — as soon as its advocates produce some evidence. Until then, the designer will have to share a room with the Tooth Fairy and the Grim Reaper. Moving along:
Science cannot discover or determine how life originated, whether naturally or supernationally [sic]. The most it can do is provide a reasonable explanation based on observable phenomena.
Kevin’s statement is almost acceptable, because: (a) we certainly can’t discover how life originated supernaturally; and (b) a demonstrable natural method hasn’t yet been discovered. What’s a statement that borders on being reasonable doing in his letter? Ah, the rest of Kevin’s paragraph is what he assumes is an equally reasonable statement:
The most plausible explanation for the origin of life is intelligent design (even former atheist Antony Flew thinks so), and there is no valid reason to exclude it from science education.
Antony Flew embraced deism and expressed some support for ID when he was in his 80s, near the end of his life. But even if he were still alive, intellectual vigorous, and a full-blown Discoveroid, one philosopher’s opinion (or a thousand philosophers’ opinions) is no substitute for verifiable evidence. We’ve never understood why an inexplicable miracle is considered a “plausible” explanation — let alone “the most plausible” explanation — for anything. Another excerpt:
Separation of church and state has been cited as one reason to keep ID out of science courses, as if it were some sort of religious doctrine that teachers would be imposing on students merely by introducing it as an alternative to the creation myth favored by evolutionists.
But ID definitely is “some sort of religious doctrine.” Kevin even admits that in his next sentence:
Though admittedly compatible with biblical teaching, ID is no more a religious doctrine than the theory evolution, and discussing its merits in the science classroom would be no more an imposition on students than evolution.
Lordy, lordy. Can you imagine trying to have a conversation with someone like Kevin? On with his letter:
While civil government has no authority to reach into the spiritual realm and dictate to men how they should worship God, the notion that public schools and state-supported universities would be violating separation of church and state by allowing ID to be included in their science instruction is beyond ridiculous.
“Beyond ridiculous”? Not when one examines the creationist origins of ID, which were clearly demonstrated in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The letter still has a long way to go, so we’ll have to skip a bit. Oh — this is not only original, it’s fantastic:
John T. Scopes, the teacher who was accused of violating a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution, said at the 1925 Scopes trial: “Education, you know, means broadening, advancing, and if you limit a teacher to only one side of anything the whole country will eventually have only one thought, be one individual. I believe in teaching every aspect of every problem or theory.” Amen!
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! No creationist in our experience has ever quote-mined John Scopes before. And now we come to the end:
In my view, educators should be required to present all the scientific theories concerning life’s origins, or else be required to abandon the topic altogether. Fairness dictates nothing less.
Hey, Kevin: Ignoring the question of life’s origins — which is not yet known — evolution is the only scientific theory being taught in biology because it’s the only one there is. You’ll understand that if you ever learn what a scientific theory is. Until then, keep writing your letters. They’re very amusing.
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