This BBC report on American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Missouri.
The AAAS president, Gilbert Omenn, says
“It’s time to recognise that science and religion should never be pitted against each other.”
“The intelligent design movement belittles evolution [and] it makes God a designer – an engineer.”
said George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory. Sanity prevails at the Vatican, as noted earlier.
Mark Gihring, a teacher from Missouri sympathetic to intelligent design, said
“I think if we look at where the empirical scientific evidence leads us, it leads us towards intelligent design. [It] ultimately takes us back to why we’re here and the value of life… if an individual doesn’t have a reason for being, they might carry themselves in a way that is ultimately destructive for society.”
Apart from the logical fallacy in the induction from “scientific evidence”, this really illustrates the problem. IDC is a search for “life purpose”, rather than knowledge. Right problem, wrong solution, which isn’t to say the problem doesn’t deserve a solution.
The problem is clear enough. One [no doubt religiously motivated] legislative bill in Missouri suggests that
“schools should teach only science which can be proven by experiment.”
That of course, would be precisely nothing. Science curricula must be devised by people who at least understand what science is. (Of course it’s all too easy to reach for the rhetorical riposte that perhaps religiously motivated IDC’ists should be constrained to teach only material which can be proven by experiment too – level playing field and all that. But of course that’s why scientists shouldn’t set religious agendas either. We need to recognise metaphors on distinct levels, instead of looking for conflicts on a single level. You listening Dawkins ?)
Anyway, as ever, humour helps – as Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education said
“I think as a [proposed science curriculum], intelligent design is dead. That does not mean intelligent design as a social movement is dead … this is an idea that has real legs and it’s going to be around for a long time. It will, however, evolve.”
I guess this is the right place to link that recent “pain” cartoon from Tim Kreider.