August 26, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Origins of Humankind — Views Differ

Reb Yudel's post below on Intelligent Design inspired me in part to write this.

I need to repeat here that the Onion article is satire. Because it is unclear to me how the satire differs from the debate in the Times. In both, scientists humbly acknowledge gaps in their understanding of natural processes. In real life as in satire, religious opportunists fill in those gaps with explanations drawn from scripture, as opposed to careful observation and experimentation. It's like allowing an English major to critique global warming on the grounds that the "greenhouse effect" is a trite metaphor.
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Comments
#1

Andy -
Good column. When I spoke about this with my 15 year-old son, his immediate response was that the approach of the promoters of intelligent design meant that there could be no science. For example, he said, a thousand years ago, no one understood lightning, therefore it was God's doing. If all things that we don't understand can be attributed to God, then science can't exist.
While I'm thankful that my son is getting a good science education, it's scary how few people have perspective on this issue.

Posted by: Rochelle at August 26, 2005 9:46 PM
#2

Then, again, it's possible God has placed Darwin on earth to test our faith.

Posted by: Yori yanover at August 27, 2005 8:54 PM
#3

A lot of things are "possible"; science is a methodology for determining what's knowable and reproducible.

From the Wall Street Journal's review of "Stealing God's Thunder : Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America" by Philip Dray:

"After his kite experiment, Franklin realized that lightning was a form of electricity. He also discovered that electric current would surge through metal and follow its path downward to the ground.

...But not everyone embraced his claim. By inventing the lightning rod, he was playing God, at least in the view of some of his contemporaries.

...Luckily, a technological development in Europe -- the increased size of field artillery -- led to the acceptance of lightning rods on the Continent. Vaults under churches and other high buildings housed the gunpowder for such war machines. When lightning struck, the results were disastrous. But a lightning rod, it was discovered, kept nature's spark away. St. Mark's Basilica in Venice got one in 1766.

Posted by: asc at August 28, 2005 9:41 PM
#4

An interesting piece appeared in last Sunday's Washington Post opinion section. It is basically, with a bit of intro, a reprint of this clever "open letter" to the Kansas State Board of Ed. Read it here, and relish the Swiftian satire.
http://www.venganza.org/

Posted by: David H. at September 2, 2005 11:28 AM
#5

An interesting piece appeared in last Sunday's Washington Post opinion section. It is basically, with a bit of intro, a reprint of this clever "open letter" to the Kansas State Board of Ed. Read it here, and relish the Swiftian satire.
http://www.venganza.org/

Posted by: David H. at September 2, 2005 11:34 AM
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