Evidence for ID by January?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:25:12 AM EST
On November 30th Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel published an op-ed in USA Today, under the headline, `Intelligent design': What do scientists fear? Let's have a public debate on the merits.  

Patricia Princehouse, a biology professor at Case Western University in Ohio says, bring it on. But not in the elementary schools: how about between scientists at a major university?

Thomas and Beckel claim that not teaching intelligent design in the public schools equals not allowing debate of competing scientific theories.

Bob: Cal, I'm going to stray from the consensus liberal line on the issue of intelligent design. The Dover, Pa., school board had a good reason to allow the teaching of intelligent design as a scientific alternative to Darwinism in the school system's science classes. Despite the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that evolution is the sole explanation for all living things, these scientists have yet to prove the theory conclusively. Not only are there still gaping holes in the evolutionary chain from single cells to man, the science crowd hasn't come close to explaining why only man among all living things has a conscience, a moral framework and a free will.

Cal: What I find curious about this debate, not only in Pennsylvania, but in Kansas and throughout the country, is that so many scientists and educators are behaving like fundamentalist secularists. Only they will define science. They alone will decide which scientific theories and information will be taught to students. That sounds like mind control to me, Bob. If their science is so strong on the issue of origins, why not let the arguments supporting intelligent design into the classroom where it can be debunked if it can't be defended? You liberals are always accusing us conservatives of censorship. It sounds like your side has picked up the disease on this one.

That people get paid to publish material in a major newspaper that wouldn't get a passing grade in social studies, is beyond me.

But I digress.

In a December 6th letter to the editor, Patricia Princehouse of the Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland throws down the gauntlet: "put up or shut up," she writes:  

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel propose a public debate on the scientific merits of intelligent design, and Beckel wonders whether "the Darwinists will show up."

You bet we will! In fact, we'll host.

We challenge the top "intelligent-designists" to a debate of the scientific evidence for intelligent design, to be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland the first week of January.

"Doubting Thomas" Cal's nihilistic suggestion to subject the Bible to scientific analysis is too big a project for this event, but an hour or so sounds like just about how long it should take to dispatch any scientific claims for intelligent design.

The question is, will the designists show? Calls go out every day to present scientific data at scientific conferences. The designists are always busy that decade. Meanwhile, the scientific data supporting evolution continue to pour in on a daily basis and produce spinoff applications that create new medicine, more productive crops, cleaner water and better living for billions of people worldwide.

The Darwinists show up to work every day in thousands of labs around the globe. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Beckel, your guys are the ones who don't show.

January. Cleveland. The "science" of ID. Put up or shut up.

Patricia Princehouse, Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

There is no indication that the "designers" have taken up the challenge.

Maybe Cal and Bob can do a collumn about that.

A big Tip 'o the Hat to Panda's Thumb for flagging this.




Display:
The question is not whether competing theories should be taught in the schools.

The real question is whether there is, in fact, a competing theory.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:14:44 AM EST

Method I've run across for dealing with this sort of proposal ["why not let the arguments supporting intelligent design into the classroom where it can be debunked if it can't be defended?"] - is to take accepted "truths" which have broad societal and professional ( i.e scientific and historical ) acceptance and ask the rhetorical question "well, even though there is widespread acceptance that x is true, there are some who contest that. So why shouldn't people who contest the validity of x be allowed to present their views in the classroom ?"

Thus : "Why not let the arguments of those who maintain that the US Apollo Lunar mission was faked into the classroom where those arguments can be debunked if they lack merit ? "  or "Why shouldn't people who believe they've been abducted by aliens be allowed to present their case.....  ?"

In short, this is a reductio ad absurdam attack which reduces the "teach the controversy" position to the level it deserves : in the place of "Intelligent Design" simply insert various conspiracy theories widely held in dim regard or simply - even - absurd propositions such as "the Moon is made of finest aged Camembert cheese". That's a "controversial" proposition if ever I've seen one. So why not "teach the controversy" on the claim that the Moon is made of cheese ?

[ For maximal effect, the Holocaust could be used except that Holocaust denial is thick enough already and so I'm not sure that it would wisely be used as an example for this approach I'm laying out. I suspect the "faked Moon landing" - or "cheesy moon" examples would work well enough. ]

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 01:37:10 PM EST
Parent



Thanks for calling attention to this.

We've had some forums from one side or the other of this issue in Oklahoma, but there has never been a debate with both sides.

We need to start having some public debates about this around the country and see how long the ID proponents show up when their pseudo-science is exposed to the light of day.

by Mainstream Baptist on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 11:21:03 AM EST



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