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Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Ass on the Way Out

The Kansas state Board of Education elections have shifted the balance of power towards supporters of Evolution. The New York Times describes one pro-design loss this way:

A victory by pro-evolution Republican candidate Jana Shaver over conservative Republican Brad Patzer, who supported the standards treating evolution as a flawed theory, meant conservatives would at best have five of 10 seats on the board.

Wow. Just getting over the phrase ‘pro-evolution Republican candidate’. I guess I’ve been painting some people with the Religious Nut Brush ™ too often.

After the Dover decision, why is this even an issue? It has been legally established that ID is a religious belief, not a scientific one, and in no way represents a viable alternative to Evolution. No more than my claiming that the world was created yesterday by the Smurfs (In the name of Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf and Smurfette, amen).

I can understand why people have religious beliefs – it is comforting to some people to envision some sort of reward after death. In fact, the Industrial Revolution would not have proceeded so rapidly if not for the Protestant work ethic (finally got around to mentioning Max Weber. It’s about time.). I have no problem with that as long as people keep their beliefs to themselves.

As an aside, I realize I’m not keeping my beliefs to myself, but that’s what I’m here for – to share my opinions and beliefs, whether people agree or disagree or burn me in effigy.

What could possibly make someone so uncomfortable with the idea of Evolution that they would deny the fact of its’ progress in the face of insurmountable evidence? There is no ‘evidentiary’ argument besides ‘because God said so’, which actually means ‘because we say so’. The argument does not present evidence, it spouts dogma and insults. Read the lengthy but very interesting article by Barbara Forrest here to understand some of the underhanded and immoral legal tactics involved.

The denial of religiosity in the pro-ID argument is dishonest on its’ face: Intelligent Design implies the existence of a Designer who undertook the process. People advocating ID do not want to present fair alternatives, but to impose Christian religious views on children they see as the future of the U.S. Morality, as they understand it from their idealized Leave it to Beaver standpoint, is declining, so they’d better act fast to sneak moral arguments through disguised as neutral balancing of ideas.

ID is just one of the many ways that religion and culture are subtly reflected all around us, which will be the topic of a future rant. For now, I feel encouraged as a scientist that the ‘Evolution Revolution’ is proceeding as it should in the state of Kansas.

Addendum: The New York Times also provides this gem from 27 December, 2005:

(To the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

My bones proclaim a story of incompetent design
My back still hurts, my sinus clogs, my teeth just won’t align
If I had drawn the blueprint I would certainly resign
Incompetent Design!
Evo-Evo-Evolution. Design is but a mere illusion
Darwin sparked our revolution. Science shall prevail!

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6 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Door Hit You in the Ass on the Way Out

  1. You ask: “What could possibly make someone so uncomfortable with the idea of Evolution that they would deny the fact of its’ progress in the face of insurmountable evidence?”

    I’ve only just realized the theological implications some ID supporters are wrestling with. This post of mine may give you some idea of the true nature of the battle we’re facing, from their point of view.

    http://www.bowjamesbow.ca/2005/09/18/defending_the_w.shtml

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  2. James:
    A very well-written, well-reasoned and very insightful post. Thanks for sending that along.
    As a non-Christian (atheist), I would ascribe the human propensity for evil that arises from selfishness of all stripes to be a leftover of our animal nature – we are driven by nature to accumulate power, goods, etc. to make us the most viable choice for a mate, thereby allowing us to pass on our genetic material. It’s the human version of the peacock’s colours.
    After choosing a mate, we need to assume dominance over others and provide for our mates, and violence now being out of the question (for most of us), we do it by displays of prosperity.
    An unfortunately male-centred theory, I know, but perhaps a natural ‘evolution’ of the process and of us as animals will see women doing the same stupid things in a couple thousand years.
    Just a point of clarification: do you consider natural disasters ‘evil’ per se? I got that impression, but I don’t want to misunderstand.
    Thanks a lot for the comments.

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  3. Maybe some people just can’t come to terms with reality.

    In other words they cannot comprehend the complexities that exist to provide such a varied diverse planet. Ascribing that power to an all knowing individual, in my opinion, highlights a lack of mental capacity.

    Is religion a sickness that robs us of our ability to think properly and in a balanced fashion?

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  4. “Just a point of clarification: do you consider natural disasters ‘evil’ per se? I got that impression, but I don’t want to misunderstand.”

    Evil? No. Just sad. The best explanation I could come up with is, if free will is to mean anything at all, a fair amount of the world we live in has to be left up to chance. For our ability to choose good to mean anything, we have to have the ability to choose evil, or else we cease to have free will and we become automatons, muting our acts of good and evil. Otherwise, we would be saying that Hitler wasn’t really evil; he was just following a predestined script, and I reject that.

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  5. “pro-evolutionists”

    A quibble: Could we please not use this tag? I far prefer to call these (most) people “rational”. That effectively frames the Creationists as what they are: irrational.

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