Setting the Bar Higher
October 22, 2005
By Tom Fairlie
a storm on the horizon of our school districts, and its name isnít
Katrina or Rita, but Intelligent Design ("ID" for short).
As you read this, the ID tempest is raging across ill-informed parts
of the country, taking in misguided school boards and spitting out
undereducated youngsters. I doubt duct tape will stop this perfect
storm, but a little bit of smarts and a small dose of common sense
will work wonders.
So what exactly is ID? In a nutshell, itís either a bold attempt
to re-insert creationism into high school science classesóan accusation
that ID proponents vehemently denyóor itís an equally transparent
attempt to dumb down our nationís science curriculum. Either way,
this is a traffic accident waiting to happen. Should we opt to make
high school biology classes into a lesson in the supernatural, or
should we instead let a bunch of underperformers dismantle decades
of scientific progress simply because they were kept out of honors
science classes when they were teenagers? Itís like picking the
door with the tiger behind it, or the door with the other tiger
To be fair, ID has a lofty, pseudo-scientific purpose. In fact,
its propaganda is so laden with scientific mumbo jumbo that most
citizens will tune out before they hear the punch line. What the
ID'ers are trying to get across, naturally, is that Darwinís theory
of evolution falls short of explaining every last detail about us
human beings. Thus, instead of following any kind of scientifically
sound process to refine or refute Darwinís workóyou know, the kind
of intelligent analysis that we simple humans have been using for
centuriesóthe ID crowd has instead come to the conclusion that the
whole problem space is just too darned complex and that Darwinís
theory is too blasted simple. Huh?
To put it another way, we humans must be so terribly intricate
that Darwin must have been crazy to think he could sum it all up
in a single, 19th-century book. And here is where the ID crowd goes
over the edge. Their solution to this conundrum is to step back,
throw up their arms, and plainly declare that something must have
designed usósomething intelligent! Of course, you already know whodunitóitís
God, of course! Whew, Iím glad thatís over. Close your textbooks
children. Take out your prayer books. Turn to page 23 and begin
singing the "College Entrance Exam" hymn.
If you think this is a cheap shot at religion, youíre wrong. This
is actually a cheap shot at people who think that faith alone will
get us to the finish line. Faith never invented life-saving drugs,
electrical appliances, automobiles, computers, the Internet, or
even the telephone that you call your mother with on Motherís Day.
Those were all invented, developed, and improved upon by people
who took an interest in science and who didnít let the unknown scare
them from peering into it. Perhaps faith helped them along their
illustrious roads, and perhaps God was the most important part of
their lives. However, they never traded their faith for hard work,
creativity, and hitting the books. There may be no substitute for
God, but thereís no substitute for studying and getting good grades
either. If you donít trust me, just ask a teacher.
So how do we avoid the damage from the ID typhoon? It's quite
simple, actually, and you donít have to be a science whiz to figure
it out. Letís leave the science classroom alone. Science works best
if it follows the principles that have been guiding it since ancient
Greece. Letís not presume to know the answer before the question
has even been fully written. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest
scientific minds in history, once quipped that he was convinced
that God does not throw dice. If youíre like me, isnít it much more
satisfying to think of God as the ultimate architect of the universe
rather than someone who has a crib sheet up his sleeve? To me, ID
represents the latter approach.
Vist Tom Fairlie's website at http://www.stopthebuck.com.