Friday, September 02, 2005

A Pox on Both Your Theories

OK, as far as the blog discussion on this topic goes, I'm a little lot late to the game. But this letter provides some impetus for me to bloviate on it:

If the Bible is to be used in the classroom, make sure it's the right room -- history or literature, not science. Teach it as myth or interpretive history, not as scientific fact.

Er, could you come here for a moment, Mister I've-Read-On-the-Origin-of-Species-Nine-Times-Therefore-I'm-Smarter-Than-You,-You-Intellectual-Ferret?

Oh, and you there, Mr. Intelligent Design? Come over here a moment.

Could you two huddle in a little closer. You really need to hear what I have to say. Get your heads in a little nearer...

Thank you.

[Here LearnedFoot konks their heads together like a couple of coconuts in a comical fashion, a la the Three Stooges].

Knuckleheads! Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk!

The evolution vs. intelligent design "debate" has got to be one of the largest mountains built out of a molehill that I have ever witnessed.

A couple of personal observations: I went to a Catholic high school. Not only were we taught evolutionary theory in biology class, but the textbook for the class was titled "Biology: an Evolutionary Approach". And funny thing: nothing I was taught in that biology class was ever contradicted by anything I was taught in one of the many theology courses I had to take. And vice versa. Nothing.

While the Bible cannot tell you how a yellow-bellied sapsucker digests its food, science provides little guidance as to what one should do if one sees, say, a drowning rapist.

Second, my undergraduate degree was in Anthropology (archaeology emphasis) at the University o' Minnesota. Aside from that granting me more than nominal bona fides on this topic, I'd like to impart what my physical anthropology prof said on the first day of class; something that ought to be considered by both sides. He said this just before launching into a 3-month-long course that intimately involved - if not completely comprised - the study of evolution: "What you learn in this class is but one 'creation myth'. Other cultures and other disciplines have their own 'creation myths' about the origin of life and how it came to be as we see it now. They are all 'myths' since nobody can be precisely certain of any one of them."

Ruminate on that one for a little bit, while I go get myself a Coke.

[Muzak playing.....]

OK I'm back.

First, to Mr. Intelligent Design Guy: Is it really really really that important that ID theory be brought up when discussing evolution. I mean if you feel that strongly about it, why not put your kid in a school that teaches it? Or one that doesn't touch so much on evolution? And failing that, you could, er, talk to your kids about it yourself. I mean it's not like your high school-aged son or daughter is going to think that your an even bigger wiener than they thought, since you already are the biggest wiener in the universe to them (if they're typical teens).

And if you're one of those people who believe that the earth is only 5000 years old, I've got news for ya'.

It's not. Provably.

We've got dendrochronologies (tree-ring sequences) in some areas of the world that go back 10,000 years, and scientists have radiocarbon dated organic materials that are around 50,000 years old.

Stop your smirking, Mr. Arrogant Science Guy: First, note that last sentence is not by any means proof that God doesn't exist. So, please shut up about it. Really. Do you know how arrogant you sound? And would it really really shatter your fragile little world view if a biology teacher were to append a lesson with "there's a theory that the evolution of life on this planet was set in motion, or is controlled by, a higher being. Since this is a biology class, we'll stick to the mechanics and the observable phenomena in the fossil record. If you'd like to learn more on ID, her's a book list "? Is it that big of a deal?

And face it, you can no more disprove ID, than Mr. ID can disprove evolution - Y'know, using the scientific method. Isn't that how it works? You set up a bunch of hypotheses and go about trying to disprove them? Oh, but y'all already knew that - you people are "smarter".

Although, I tend to be skeptical of your intelligence since I notice that few of you seem to have mastered comb use.

Do you two get it now?

Mr. ID: [pointing at Mr. Science Guy] Godless heretic!

Mr. Arrogant Science Guy: [pointing at Mr. ID] Ignorant troglodyte!

LearnedFoot: Sigh.

The Heads of Mr. ID & Mr. Science Guy: **KONK!**

LearnedFoot: Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk!

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