Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dumbest Argument Evah For Introducing Intelligent Design In Evolution Classes

Not even Intelligent Design (ID) proponents would have used as argument as dumb as the one the writers of the TV show Boston Legal did recently.

I caught only part of the show a couple of days ago, fortunately the part where the judge is ruling on whether ID should be taught along with evolution in biology classes. The defendants are members of school boards who want ID to be taught. The State is against the idea and is prosecuting.

Not verbatim but the ruling went along something like this:

Judge: I've heard all the arguments. Now.... its clear that religious beliefs should not interfere with a secular education...

Prosecution eyes light up, confident congratulatory glances exchanged... Defendants look glum

Judge: ...But its also clear to me that secular eduction should not completely erase the role of religion in our lives...

Prosecutors shake heads with an air of resignation, Defendants look much more cheery..

And then this eye popping piece of legal reasoning..

Judge: Haven't all of us wondered at one time or the other...don't we all have a sense of wonder and awe when holding a new born baby that there must be something more to life .. a higher mystery... than science can explain.... So I am ruling that ID should be taught alongside evolution... Case dismissed!!

Off course this fictitious case gives a ruling exactly opposite to the one where ID suffered a crushing defeat in court some years ago. In that ruling Judge John E. Jones III made it clear that ID is a lovechild of religious parents, a descendant of creationism, and is not a scientific theory and cannot be taught in evolution classes. His rejection of ID did not depend on whether science explains everything or not. In fact he makes it clear that the theory of evolution does not rule out the presence of the Almighty.

But Judge Jones said...well he didn't exactly say it, I am saying it ... but he ultimately meant ...

That while it is possible that holding a bald, slippery and naked baby may invoke a sense of mystery and awe in some of us, and a feeling that science does not explain everything about life, that does not qualify as a reason to include ID alongside evolution. A sense of mystery and awe are not scientifically testable alternative explanations of life. In other words ID besides saying that evolution cannot explain this or that doesn't offer any positive solution to the problem.

Television networks are ruled by ratings and they would have calculated that a show in favor of religious views over evolution would be approved by lots of American viewers. ID proponents have been over the years distancing themselves from making any overtly religious or mystical arguments like the one in this show since they want to be seen as "scientists". They would positively avoid any mention of religion when making their case. But the writers of the show inadvertently revealed their true motives.


  1. There is a hypothesis which provides a compromise between the theory of Evolution and all the world religions.With this hypothesis, it is necessary to understand the progression of design evidenced by Evoltion , alongside a broad understanding, of all the world religions.Instead of the progression of design understandably presumed, in Darwin's time to be nature, replaced by progression of design by very advanced science.If our scientists can artificially create life, through the synthesis of DNA, then why should there not be other more advanced scientists in other parts of the galaxy.Through understanding this hypothesis, we can understand why those scientists so long ago, were mistaken for Gods by our ancestors, and why as yet, they do not choose to reveal themselves.

  2. Ben, that hypothesis sounded like a blend between (a) William Paley's (purely philosophical) argument that there must be a creator behind well-designed creatures, and (b) Scientology.
    I have two things to say to that:

    (1) While, it is easy, rather commonsensical, to infer that the design is *deliberate* or *conscious*, the natural selection theory suggests (with numerous evidences) that that's not true.
    - however counter-intuitive it might be.
    (2) Science and religion are just NOT compatible. One is based on evidence and the other on faith. They might not contradict each other ALL THE TIME. But the basic premises are totally different and contradictory. To connect these two, is a futile exercise, in my (not so humble) opinion.

  3. vishal12 has said what I wanted :)