The Realist beat me to this story already, but it’s the sort of thing that I’m compelled to comment on, whether I like it or not. Like The Blues Brothers, I’m on a mission. But not from God.
The whole “intelligent design” argument irritates me enormously. It isn’t intelligent, it’s just a lazy way of making creationism more credible (or should I say less incredible) by tacking on many years of empirically observed evolutionary theory, then passing it off as the work of a supernatural entity. This is vital for creationists because, now that the official line of even the Catholic Church holds that the Bible should not be taken literally, anyone still arguing that the earth was actually made on a Tuesday afternoon about 6,000 years ago would be pointed at and deafened by hoots of derision from anyone with an IQ above, say, 37. (Although, depressingly and predictably, such people do exist: check out Answers In Genesis: “Upholding the Authority of the Bible from the Very First Verse”. They’ve even got their own little creationist museum, depicting images of humans co-existing with dinosaurs. Yes, really. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry *.)
So advocates of “intelligent design” (from now on I’ll just refer to it as “design theory”, the “intelligent” prefix really sticks in my throat), feeling smug with their shiny new idea now that it’s been legitimised by a veneer of scientific theory, want it taught in schools. Which would be fair enough, I suppose, if we were talking about religious education – after all, science has no concrete answers about the origin of existence, so if you want a metaphysical argument, by all means talk about it in your RE classes. Even your philosophy classes if you must. But no, they want it taught on the science syllabus, as if the Enlightenment never happened. Meanwhile, George Bush endorses the teaching of design theory because “part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought”. Great. In that case, perhaps we should teach our kids that 7+7=139, in order to expose them to “different theories” of mathematics? Physics is presumably a point of conjecture now too, so I’d like to see more people making the case for the lesser known theory E=mc3. Why should we only learn about Einstein’s “opinion”?
The assault on reason gathers pace.
So well done to the residents of Dover, Pennsylvania, for ousting the local school board trying to stick design theory into their curriculum. In these depressing times, it’s encouraging to see supporters of rational thought stake a hard won victory against the forces of sheer ignorance and cretinism.
But watch out, Dover, because deranged Christian fantasist Pat Robertson has a dire warning for you all: “If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city”. Yikes! But wait, it gets worse. “God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in His eye forever. . . . If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.” Sorry, you lost me there. God is tolerant and loving. . . but?? I thought God’s love was unconditional? Where has this “but” come from all of a sudden? So you’re telling us that if, say, Dover was devastated by an earthquake (a God-created earthquake, of course: presumably tectonic plate movement is just a “theory”?), God would look the other way?
Actually, I’ve got to confess: I don’t rate God’s skills of disaster relief very highly. Not much evidence of them being deployed in New Orleans was there? Nor Pakistan. Nowhere to be seen after the tsunami either. So if we're grading God in this area, He gets a D-.
Although how Pat knows any of this is something of a mystery, too. Presumably God is "speaking" to him directly. Shouldn't Pat be put in a home for the ‘emotionally interesting’? This is what we usually do with people who claim to hear the voice of God in their head isn't it?
Scary fact of the day: Karl Rove consulted this doddering fuckwit about Supreme Court nominations.
Anyway, I’m going to go and have a lie down. Maybe read a good book. Not the Bible though.
* Decision made. I’ll cry.