Last year, right-wing pundit and flapping head Ann Coulter published a book entitled “Godless”. In it, she raised yet again the tired accusations that all Democrats are godless politicians, hell-bent (is that the right phrase?) on creating a society that crushes religion out of every private life. Sigh. Of course, she takes the obligatory pot-shot at evolution, to somehow justify that people on the left of the moral and political spectrum infuse godlessness in both thought and deed.
Last year, I hadn’t the energy to do more than skim through this sad waste of ink and paper – I was still tired from Santorum’s “It Takes a Family” rant on science education. Tonight, I stumbled upon a scathing criticism of Coulter’s anti-evolution regurgitation on a site affiliated with “Skeptic” magazine. Have a look:
It’s a bit long, but worth it. My favorite passage is this one:
First, the validity of a
scientific theory does not hinge upon how it has been interpreted by
German dictators. And second, a scientific theory is not an ideology;
it aims at explaining nature, not telling us what to do. Evolutionary
biology did not oblige Hitler to kill Jews any more than nuclear
physics mandates Kim Jong-Il to acquire the atomic bomb. And the theory
of gravity does not require that you go jump off a bridge.
Amen to that. Science is not a holy scripture. It is a method. By that method, we learn about the world as it is, not as we want it to be.
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My good pal Mandeep sent me a lovely blog article from “Jim Burklo, minister at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church”:http://tcpc.blogs.com/musings/2005/08/beyond_the_fish.html. Jim talks about how intelligent design is a discredit to both science and religion. Well, Jim puts it best so let me just quote him:
But [intelligent design] isn’t a “theory” at all. “Intelligent design” posits that the structure of life is so complex and delicate that it is unimaginable that it could have come into existence without having been designed by some intelligent force. Therefore such an intelligence must be responsible for it. But this is a conclusion that can be reached only by assuming that it is true in the first place – a classic tautology, or example of circular reasoning, which has no place in science. It is not a theoretical alternative to evolution, because it suggests no other credible means by which this outside intelligence created the complexity of life. There is nothing in the theory of evolution, the only theory that holds any water in explaining the origin of the species, that proves or disproves the existence of such an intelligent “designer”. Even if one thinks of God as a separate, distinct being that manipulates the universe, “intelligent design” offers no intelligent reason that God didn’t employ evolution as his or her means for creating life on earth.
Circular reasoning doesn’t belong in science education. “Intelligent design” is a thinly-veiled and inappropriate attempt to inject religious indoctrination into public schools. If it gets into school science textbooks, it would damage both science and religion in this country.
The emphasis was added by me to highlight the key conclusions he draws. Hear, hear, Jim. Let us both hope that together science can continue to map out the order of the natural world and religion can map out the order of the spirit, and through both we can gain a deeper insight into this wonderous universe.