Wednesday, July 4

Blog Against Theocracy : Academic Integrity

This post originally appeared at BG on December 22, 2006.

Last night Mr. Blue Gal read a science book to Young Master Blue Gal called What Makes Day and Night. (BTW the book is part of a children's science series...highly recommended by the Blue Gal clan if you have a child in grades 1-3.) Mr. Blue Gal was so impressed with this book he looked through the whole thing, and exclaimed, "Wow! This book is part of a series! We need to get more of them!"

So I looked at the list and in my best June Cleaver impersonation, said, "But honey, there isn't a book here on Intelligent Design."

Mr. Blue Gal: "Of course not. These books are written by actual scientists."

It is not up to the courts to convince individual Americans that intelligent design isn't intelligent. Freedom means, in part, freedom to be wrong. You don't have the freedom to ACT on wrong information if you're just being bull-headed, especially about big things like traffic laws or invading sovereign nations.

But back to ID: Those of us who treasure the separation of Church and State fight intelligent design in the courts because it is only the latest not-too-subtle attempt to inject Christian theology into the public school curriculum.


The court cases have nothing to do with the fact that intelligent design isn't intelligent. Although it isn't.

I'm no Karl Rove, folks, but the talking points here are important. Don't get into a debate with an ID'er about whether or not it is good science. ID'ers clearly don't give a monkey's thumb whether it's good science or not. They wouldn't follow it if they cared about empirical evidence.

Intelligent Design is religion
. It is a perfectly acceptable subject for debate in a philosophy class, an (elective!) comparative religion class, or a political science/sociology class. Issues of religious faith must not be taught as empirical fact in a public school science classroom.

More on the issue of academic integrity, of which ID is only a part, here. Class dismissed.


  1. Anonymous10:54 PM

    Everybody and their brother on BOTH sides of this knows that ID is a way to slip Jesusistan into the cirriculum.

    The lies they tell are for cosmetic purposes only. They're not fooling anyone.

  2. Another great post, BG. Thanks for the greatest hits recap. You might also like this cartoon.

  3. As I may have said at the time this post originally appeared, when I was in high school, my 10th grade biology textbook prominently displayed a sticker on the inside corner flashing a warning that read something to this effect:

    "WARNING. This textbook discussed the topic of evolution, a deeply controversial theory which may offend certain readers. Be aware of this."

    This had been inserted by the Alabama State Board of Education, who in their ultimate wisdom, wished not to offend the Fundies.

    The problem, as I see it, and as was wisely pointed out by Bill Hicks is that the problem with teaching creationism as a science is that well, it's not one..

    I don't think anyone can take science as gospel because science is itself an evolving concept. During the 18th century, it was believed that bleeding a person with leeches was the proper way to heal ailments. Science has improved greatly over the years but anyone who tries to take it as 100% truth is fooling themselves.

    Science represents our best educated guess as to the way things are and is always in a state of refining and rehoning itself. The more I learn about religion and science the more I learn that these so-called indisputable facts are in a constant state of revision. No idea is itself perfect and indeed, we are a doing a grave disservice to humanity if we believe that our world cannot be improved.

    When I was in grad school, we'd advance our own pet theories to the class only to have them torn to shreds. You had to have a thick skin to see your own personal ideas dissected and often times discarded. But the idea is that every idea can be improved upon and the worst possible thing for any idea is to sit on the shelf, unchallenged, collecting dust, because then it has no resonance with the present day.

  4. Anonymous11:23 AM

    IMNSHO, "Science" is creating a PR blunder in throwing Intelligent Design out the back door. This is simply serving to popularize and inspire ID enthusiasts.

    Why not welcome ID in the front door and give it a warm embrace? It is after all, an exceedingly fine example of an unfalsifiable hypothesis, and as such is a teachable example. "Class, your assignment tonight is to design an experiment to disprove ID".

    There is no need to fear ID in the science classroom, especially as that fear reaks of dogmatism. Teach it instead. Expose it for it is: an unfalsifiable hypothesis and therefore science of the worst quality.

  5. Anonymous9:54 AM

    What you're ASSUMING is that ID is wrong, and evolution is correct. WHY?

    Both are theories, so why teach one and not the other? Like Kevin said, science is not something we've mastered--it's still developing. GET RID of the idea that evolution has somehow been authenticated and proved!! STUPID! NOT TRUE!! Anyone who is so vehement and dogmatic about pushing their own ideas at the exclusion of others can only be fearful that ideas contradictory to their own...might actually have some truth to them! Science should be a pursuit of truth, not a forrum for personal agendas.

  6. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Leonardo Di Vinci
    Nicolaus Copernicus
    Galileo Galilei
    Johannes Kepler
    Sir Isaac Newton
    Albert Einstein
    William Dembski
    Michael Behe

    Just a few of the, ah...non-scientists (?) who believed in a divine Creator.

    In other words, these are the people who are actually qualified to have opinions about Intelligent Design.

    ~James Nordby

  7. Everyone is qualified to an opinion, but quoting someone else's opinion does not make yours right. Aside from the list of dead guys (mostly from the time of the inquisition into early Renaissance), you mislabeled Einstein, who deeply affirmed his DIS-BELIEF in a divine creator. Next time you take a quote out of context, I hope you choke on it.Oh just did! Also, DaVinci needed the Church money to do his deeds. He was no more a believer than I am.
    -James Nordby


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