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Rush Holt (TPMCafe) - Intelligent Design: It's Not Even Wrong [View All]

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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-08-05 08:06 PM
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Rush Holt (TPMCafe) - Intelligent Design: It's Not Even Wrong
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As a research scientist and a member of the House Education Committee, I was appalled when President Bush signaled his support for the teaching of "intelligent design" alongside evolution in public K-12 science classes. Though I respect and consistently protect the rights of persons of faith and the curricula of religious schools, public school science classes are not the place to teach concepts that cannot be backed up by evidence and tested experimentally.

Science, by definition, is a method of learning about the physical universe by asking questions in a way that they can be answered empirically and verifiably. If a question cannot be framed so that the answer is testable by looking at physical evidence and by allowing other people to repeat and replicate one's test, then it is not science. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study. Intelligent design offers no way to investigate design scientifically. Intelligent design explains complicated phenomena of the natural world by involving a designer. This way of thinking says things behave the way they do because God makes them behave that way. This treads not into science but into the realm of faith. A prominent physicist, W. Pauli, used to say about such a theory "It is not even wrong". There is no testable hypothesis or prediction for Intelligent Design.

It is irresponsible for President Bush to cast intelligent design - a repackaged version of creationism - as the "other side" of the evolution "debate." Creationists and others who denigrate the concept of evolution call it a theory, with a dismissive tone. They say that, as a theory, it is up for debate. Sure, evolution is a theory, just as gravitation is a theory. The mechanisms of evolution are indeed up for debate, just as the details of gravitation and its mathematical relationship with other forces of nature are up for debate. Some people once believed that we are held on the ground by invisible angels above us beating their wings and pushing us against the earth. If angels always adjusted their beating wings to exert force that diminished as the square of the distance between attracting bodies, it would be just like our idea of gravitation. The existence of those angels, undetected by any measurements, would not be the subject of science. Such an idea of gravity is "not even wrong". It is beyond the realm of science. So, too, is intelligent design.

Colloquially, a theory is an idea. Scientifically, a theory is an accepted synthesis of a large body of knowledge, consisting of well-tested hypotheses, laws, and scientific facts, which concurrently describe and connect natural phenomena. There are actually very few theories in science, including atomic theory, the theory of gravity, the theory of evolution, and the theory of the standard model of particle physics. Without the ability to test the hypotheses of Intelligent Design, it cannot be considered a theory in the scientific sense.

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http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/8/183216/1039

:applause: Bravo Congressman Holt (He has a Ph.D. in Physics)
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