Friday, August 12, 2005

Time Magazine Cover Story

Here are a few paragraphs from Time, reacting to President's Bush comment that Intelligent Design should be taught along side Evolution. For the whole story see the url at the end. What's sad and a problem for this country is the BAD education young people are getting in some parts of the nation. I personally hope to continue to interact in the schools of the Tri-State area with our Prehistoric People Program, originally conceived at UCLA. This will be our 30th year of bringing stone age tools, on loan from UCLA's Fowler Museum, to classrooms. We've reached about 55,000 kids!

From Time Magazine Aug. 15, 2005
The Evolution Wars
When Bush joined the fray last week, the question grew hotter: Is "intelligent design" a real science? And should it be taught in schools?

Many scientists have been reluctant to engage in a debate with advocates of intelligent design because to do so would legitimize the claim that there's a meaningful debate about evolution. "I'm concerned about implying that there is some sort of scientific argument going on. There's not," says noted British biologist Richard Dawkins, professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford University, whose most recent book about evolution is The Ancestor's Tale. He and other scientists say advocates of intelligent design do not play by the rules of science. They do not publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, and their hypothesis cannot be tested by research and the study of evidence. Indeed, Behe concedes, "You can't prove intelligent design by an experiment." Dawkins compares the idea of teaching intelligent-design theory with teaching flat earthism-- perfectly fine in a history class but not in science. He says, "If you give the idea that there are two schools of thought within science--one that says the earth is round and one that says the earth is flat--you are misleading children."

Scientists say it is, in fact, easy to gainsay the intelligent-design folks. Take Behe's argument about complexity, for example. "Evolution by natural selection is a brilliant answer to the riddle of complexity because it is not a theory of chance," explains Dawkins. "It is a theory of gradual, incremental change over millions of years, which starts with something very simple and works up along slow, gradual gradients to greater complexity. Not only is it a brilliant solution to the riddle of complexity; it is the only solution that has ever been proposed." To attribute nature's complexity to an intelligent designer merely removes the origin of complexity to the unseen designer. "Who designs the designer?" asks Dawkins.

As for gaps in the fossil record, Dawkins says, that is like detectives complaining that they can't account for every minute of a crime--a very ancient one--based on what they found at the scene. "You have to make inferences from footprints and other types of evidence." As it happens, he notes, there is a huge amount of evidence of evolution not only in the fossil record but also in the letters of the genetic code shared in varying degrees by all species. "The pattern," says Dawkins, "is precisely what you would expect if evolution would happen." Dawkins insists that critics of Darwin are wrong to say that evolution has become an article of faith among scientists. He cites biologist J.B.S. Haldane who, when asked what would disprove evolution, replied, fossil rabbits in the Precambrian era, a period more than 540 million years ago, when life on Earth seems to have consisted largely of bacteria, algae and plankton. "Creationists are fond of saying that there are very few fossils in the Precambrian, but why would there be?" asks Dawkins. "However, if there was a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found.",9171,1090909-7,00.html


Anonymous jackie said...

One of the holes in intelligent design is in Bush's head.

11:58 AM  
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7:37 PM  

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