Saturday, August 06, 2005

Debate? What debate?

In today's opinion section of the Enquirer, Kathleen Parker gives perhaps the worst argument I have heard so far on why intelligent design should be given a ticket to the curriculum ball in our public school systems.

She first quotes president Bush, who states the following: "'re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.". That is transcendental comedy from this guy. There has been no presidential administration in recent memory that has gone to greater lengths to ensure that all of its members have nearly exactly the same thoughts on every issue. Heck, on Iraq alone, anyone that has disagreed with the party line has been villified (Paul O'Neill), crucified (Richard Clarke), nudged out the door (Colin Powell), or had their wife's covert status with the CIA revealed in several periodicals (nuff said). So let's dispose of that idea right now.

Playing 'devil's advocate', she then makes the argument '...what if ID were taught in the interest of making education more interesting?'. In the words of Jon Stewart, whaaaaaaaa? I'm sorry, maybe I missed something, I thought that school was meant to teach subjects based in fact, not untested theory for the purpose of livening things up. Science experiments where mixing two chemicals makes them fizz over a Pyrex jar is interesting. Hearing a guest speaker explain how you use the skills you learn in school in the real world is interesting. Laerning about a theory that has all of the scientific basis of 2+2=6 is not interesting.

As a 14-year old freshman, however, I can tell you exactly what would have made school more interesting for me: hot teachers in bikinis (Women feel free to fill in your own idea there)! Seriously, if high school was 4 years of nothing but a Van Halen video, I would have found it far more interesting...whether I would have learned any more is up for debate.

That argument failing, Ms. Parker then pulls the new right-wing line that ID is not exactly creationism, but rather whether '...the apparent design in nature observed by biologists is genuine design (the product of an organizing intelligence) or is simply the product of chance and mechanical natural laws.'. So what exactly would an 'organizing intelligence' be if it were not God? And how exactly do you prove scientifically that there is an 'organizing intelligence'? Is George Burns going to come down in a golf cap and tan slacks and tell us he's God again? Further, if somehow the planets align and you were able to prove ID, whose God put it all together? Jesus? Allah? Buddah? Jobu from Major League?

(And let's not kid ourselves, Bush may be calling it ID now, but he's clearly got a track record of wanting creationism taught in the schools. See these quotes from 1999. And if you say that he changed his mind, well then he was for creationism before he was against it, and damnit that makes him a flip-flopper, and we know how bad that is.)

This is typical of the current conservative playbook. They throw out an idea that is completely out of left field, and when it is dismissed they demand that it should be part of the debate, because if it's not then the media is trying to silence them because they're just a bunch of liberals. It's like offering to buy a new Mustang for $2 and then demanding that the bid be considered, so you can compromise in the middle and get a $30K car for $15K.


Reality Bytes

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