Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I am the monkey king

Yesterday, I was sitting down to eat breakfast, and turned on C-SPAN as I occasionally do. This should tell you two things about me. One, I am such a television addict that I don't even eat breakfast without it on, and, two, I'm really a nerd.

The topic for the last hour or so of Washington Journal was Intellegent Design. The first guest was a reporter who talked a bit about ID in general and Kansas's recent decent back into the Middle Ages. The next guest was the scientific laughingstock Michael Behe, which is when I turned the set off in disgust. Watching the archive on the C-SPAN website (yes, really, I'm a nerd) there was a third guest, Matthew Chapman, a descendant of Charles Darwin who wrote Trials of the Monkey. There are, apparently, no actual scientists in Washington.

The best part of the show is the people who call in. It's a strange combination of laughing at all nutty people out there, and being frightened that, really, there all these nutty people out there. Today was no exception. One caller:

It's really frightening to see how far our country has fallen with this debate. There was a time in our country when the Bible was taught in schools... I'm thirty-five years old, and since I've graduated from high school, the public school system has become a war zone. And there's nothing wrong with teaching Intelligent Design. In fact, if anything I think maybe it's going to educate students and educate children to maybe look into the Bible, maybe look into some other form of religion and find a meaning. There's too many children out there, they don't know why they're here. If you've got something like evolution they just assume, "Well i guess I'm just evolving. So-and-so is bad, i guess since we evolved from monkeys we're just going to continue to go down that slippery slope."

That's at 1:52:40 in the stream, if you want to hear it.

One of the things that the big name ID proponents always say is that ID isn't a religion, since it doesn't say anything about the designer. On the other hand, in every case I've seen, when cornered about who the Designer is, the ID proponent always says something like, "Well, in my opinion, it was the God of the Scriptures." It's pretty clear that that "God of the Scriptures" line is code for "fundamentalist Christianity." Behe himself has said that the mysterious Intelligent Designer was God. So yet again, we see that ID is just fundamentalist Christianity wrapped up in sheep's clothing.

But what I found interesting about the above caller's rant was the fact that the problem with evolution isn't that it's wrong, but that believing in it will rob your life of "meaning." Yet again, we see that when these fundamentalists are confronted with an aspect of the material world, of reality, that contradicts their preferred interpretation of some aspect of the Bible, they actually disbelieve the reality, rather than their supernatural beliefs. That's why you can't have an intellectual debate on this topic with proponents of ID. Even if you present them with mountains of evidence supporting evolution, they won't believe it. And that's because mountains of evidence supporting evolution is exactly what we have.

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