Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Occasionally, I encounter a Creationist who deploys the usual talking point that saying that complex organisms evolved is like saying that a windstorm in a pile of airplane parts could produce a fully operational airliner. This analogy shows only that its user has absolutely no understanding of how the theory of evolution by natural selection works. To be apt, the analogy would have to include a mechanism for eliminating anything that wasn't an airliner, in which case you'd eventually get an airliner. Like evolution, it might take a very long time.

Or I'll get the trusty "if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys" argument. This, like the Chewbacca defense, is hard to rebut because it is nonsensical on so many levels. I don't usually bother. I don't care if yahoos believe in evolution or not because it isn't going to make any difference to anyone. It's not as if the world is losing some brilliant scientific minds or anything.

And let's say some local school system aims to teach "intelligent design". If they want to consign the children of their community to ignorance of scientific reasoning and principles, who am I to interfere? Those kids are probably pretty much doomed anyway, whether via nature or nurture, since they live in such a community. The smart ones, if there are any, will figure it out, and whether the rest have a grasp of science is of no consequence since they will never be called upon to do any scientific thinking in their whole lives.

I can see where a mischievous biology teacher could have a lot of fun with intelligent design in the classroom. He could give his pupils an assignment to design an experiment or research project that would use intelligent design theory to make predictions or that would support intelligent design. Then he'd give everyone who didn't problematize the theory an F.

If only there were grants for scientific research using intelligent design. I'd apply for one. I should qualify even though I'm not a professional scientist, because intelligent design is not even science.

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