fuck peer review: bush says intelligent design should be taught in schools

President Bush, a science-hating dipshit, said in an interview earlier today that he believes so-called “Intelligent Design” creationism should be taught in our pulic schools. Here’s a clip from the San Francisco Gate:

During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” Bush said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

Sounds good, right? Let’s just teach kids all kinds of different ideas, regardless of whether or not they’re backed up by science, and let them decide what to believe. I’ve got a great theory on the origins of human life that I’ve been dying to introduce to the world, and I’d love to have it incorporated. (It involves the mass abduction, insemination, and ultimately the wholesale elimination of the creatures we now know as “Bigfoot” by extraterrestrials.) Does anyone else have anything to add to this new national science curriculum? Any wild-assed theories will do… Act now… No peer review required.

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  1. john galt
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    don’t really see whats wrong with this… Scientific inquiry should take all views into consideration. Let the evidence tell the real story. I don’t think ideas should be suppressed just because they’re outside the mainstream.. If we suppress subvesive views then modern science would still believe the sun orbited the earth.. I remember in grade 7 the discussion of evolution, our teacher presented both views and about 100% of the class sided with the evolutionary view (this in a small baptist dominated county in Ga). Science is facts not belief. But if in the name of science you supress certain arguments.. you deny inquiry.. Questioning theories is the heart of any scientific endevor, if “Intellegent design” doesn’t hold up to reality it will be rejected by an intelligent observer.. Schools should teach critical thinking rather than rote dogma.

  2. john galt
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    just continuing the thought, wth should children just accept what is presented to them? This is the whole problem with the Govt. School System. Children should be taught to question and form their own beliefs. Learning is a journey, why should one simply trust that their “teacher” is correct? People should question ideas and prove one way or the other the correctness of the information presented to them. That’s what knowledge is all about.. Simply mimicking what others have told you is not knowledge, simply memorization. In order to seek knowledge you have to question, then make a proof of your arguments, this idea btw goes back to Plato. It’s fine to “stand on the shoulders of giants” but to accept as truth something you can’t prove yourself is foolish.

  3. chris
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    How about introducing it the way it has always been introduced…in an American History course’s discussion of the Scopes trial.

    Maybe let America’s youth debate the two…aaah Christ who gives a shit anymore, if this is how far we’ve come.

    The one good thing about teaching creationism in schools is that it will preclude the teaching of eugenics, which I fear is right around the corner again.

  4. john galt
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    actually in my backwater town, we did have a mock scopes trial, I’d say about 98% of the students supported the teacher. Don’t get what your problem is Chris, that was in the 30’s (hope I didn’t get the timeframe wrong).. I hope we’ve moved on since then… The problem then is the same as it is now, that people blindly accept information presented to them by “authorities”. If our educational system required critical thinking at an earlier age (you pretty much have to go to college to be presented with this idea) there might be more discussion and less knee-jerk reaction.

  5. mark
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Evolution is real, and the earth is not 6,000 years old, and I don’t see how we’d be doing anything but a disservice to our kids to have them even consider for a moment that that’s not the case. Furthermore, the earth is not flat, and the other planets do not revolve around the earth. I suspect, however, if the Bible said otherwise, we’d be fighting about that now too.

    And, back to the point of the post in the first place, who decides which other theories that haven[t passed the muster of peer review get incorporated into the curriculum? Is it just Christian fantasies that get in? The Scientologist have some really cool theories, and they’d even provide the materials, free of charge to school districts.

  6. chris
    Posted August 2, 2005 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Huh? I said I was all for it in part because it would prevent the reintroduction of eugenics.

    But just to clarify, are you saying that my understanding and belief/acceptance in evolution is a result of ‘blind acceptance from authorities’? Sorry, I really thought my post was one of passive acquiesence rather than “knee jerk”.

  7. Doug Skinner
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Are ideas suppressed if they’re not taught in the classroom? You can buy UFO books freely, but they’re not part of the curriculum.

    Kids do need to be taught critical thinking, but they can’t think critically until they know the subject. You have to learn the basics first. We teach kids evolution instead of creationism for the same reason that we teach them that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than vice versa — the subversive idea won out. Scientific orthodoxy is always changing, but it’s not arbitrary. It should, however, be the first lesson, not the last.

    I don’t know if Bush hates science; I think it’s fair to say that a politician’s pronouncements on science are dictated more by politics than by science.

    I can’t resist adding a great quote on independent thinking by Tiffany Thayer, who founded the Fortean Society in the ’30s: “Respect for authority is the most paralyzing, subversive, degrading, enslaving, retarding, and completely damning bit of mental conditioning that can be imposed upon human beings.” (And a plug: I have an article on Thayer in the gala 200th issue of the “Fortean Times.” Buy multiple copies.)

  8. Shanster
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Well, if peer review means a similar treatment of ID/creationism as it was given on the Galapagos Island, then why bother. The anti-ID position starts with the idea that there is not and cannot be a God existing outside of time and space. They throw out the possibility of the supernatural, so close their eyes to any creationist theory. I realize that most creationists who hold to a 6000 year time frame seem like crackpots (is that term older than both crack and pot?), but many who accept the relative accuracy of carbon dating also have valid scientific theories are simply ignored, not reviewed because they reject the premise.

  9. mark
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t agree, Shanster. I don’t hear the evolutionary biologists saying there is not and cannot be a God. I don’t hear that at all. What I do hear them saying, however, and it’s quite clear, is that man and woman were not placed here on the earth in their final form. If you’re reading into that that there is no God, I suppose that’s your right. It’s not what they’re saying though. They are not making a case against God… just for evolution.

  10. Doug Skinner
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Shanster — How’s this?

    Biology is a secular discipline, not an atheistic one: it makes no judgment either for or against a creator, because that’s not its territory. Intelligent Design is a religious doctrine: it’s concerned with the existence of a creator. They have different intentions.

    Science is a (specific and limited) method for investigating the physical world by observation and analysis. It doesn’t deny the spiritual world; it just has another job to do.

    You could also see divine planning in the layout of the Periodic Table or the distribution of prime numbers. That’s fine; but that’s a belief about chemistry and math, not part of those disciplines.

    Does that make sense?

  11. Shanster
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Mark-I guess I have to concede somewhat, and some of them will accept that there is a God. Although they (anti-creationists) may not be saying this, it is one of the basic ideas for rejecting creation and ID… ‘If we didn’t get here by creation, the only logical way is by evolution’ (or aliens).

    Maybe our words are getting a little crossed up here. Would it be possible for you to envision a biology class which teaches all the theories of evolution and then follows up with the caveat that the laws of thermodynamics seem to contradict the idea of something advancing to a more complex state (the old entropy idea) and that some people suggest that this in itself shows that God guided the processes of evolution while others point to different theories of mutation and natural selection? To present all the observations without the disclaimer could cause young children, who really don’t have the complex reasoning capabilities to tackle this argument, to be ashamed of their religious heritage and beliefs. In college and maybe even HS, it’s fine to ignore other philosophies but don’t force your reasoning on kids. ID is definitely more appropriate for Sunday school, philosophy class, and home. Personally, I don’t care if ID gets taught in classrooms, just as long as it gets recognized as an explanation, which keeps the government school out of the business of denying/confirming the truth of anyone’s religion.

  12. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The question remains – who decides what gets taught in class? Can any religion introduce their creation myth into the mix?

  13. Dick Cheney's Extending Taint
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care if ID gets taught in classrooms, just as long as it gets recognized as an explanation, which keeps the government school out of the business of denying/confirming the truth of anyone’s religion.

    If my religion says “2+2=5” then am I correct in assuming you would agree to remove addition from 2nd grade cirriculum?

  14. chris
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Dick, where have you been? I have missed you.

  15. dorothy
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    my god is a most powerful and sophisticated god. he can snap his figurative fingers and set in motion the big bang, star nurseries, galaxies and evolution as easily as minnesota fats pulling off a bank shot. he doesn’t have to make a clay figure and bring it to life—he just sets the universe in motion and sits back to see what we do with it.

  16. john galt
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I have no problem with all creation myths being taught.. When I was younger 7-8 I was facinated with Greek mythology, then moved into Indian, African, Persian myths (read all the Greek and Roman myth books they had at my library (does anyone go to the library anymore?)) Somehow my fragile young mind was able to cope with different ideas.. Arabian Nights was of course the most fun of the bunch.. A little comparative study would show that there are more similarities than differences, Show the evidence and let people decide. If the proof holds up under criticism then you have a solution supported by logic.. this is the whole idea of peer review in academia…

    And on a completely different thought, did the part in genesis where god creates Adam from dust have any influence on the Judaic myth of the Golem.. Or was that myth simply meant to be a morality tale ala Frankenstein?

  17. Jim
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Science attempts to explain nature in terms of what we can observe in the present. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain the origin of species in terms of the observable processes of mutation and natural selection. Intelligent design attempts to explain the origin of species in terms of a process we can NOT observe in the present: intervention by some unknown agency, an X ex Machina. For this reason (among others), evolution is a scientific theory, and intelligent design is not. One could make a scientific argument that the theory of evolution is deeply flawed, and that science cannot currently provide a coherent explanation for the origin of life. However, there is no alternative SCIENTIFIC explanation for the origin of species.

    Discussions of myths of origins could be part of a literature or social studies class, but not a science class.

    Also, the second law of thermodynamics does not disprove the theory of evolution, in part because the earth is not a closed system–it is constantly receiving energy from the sun.

  18. mark
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    And, I’d just add… to finish my thought from before… that unless you want your kids learning about “body thetans” in science class, you’d better not push too hard to get Christian myths allowed in. Once the floodgates open, everything’s getting in.

  19. Shanster
    Posted August 4, 2005 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I have actually never heard that argument before, that the EARTH is not a closed system. Most discussions center on the universe as closed, not focusing on the earth. Thanks.

    I picked up a great reference book yesterday called ‘Creation vs. Evolution’, by Eugenie C. Scott. It is a very good, balanced presentation of the issues, probably intended as a University Text. It’s interesting to see the continuum of belief, from flat-earth to materialist (naturalistic) evolution. I found that my beliefs fall somewhere between Progressive Creationism and Theistic Evolution. I also found Gardner’s “Did Adam & Eve have navels?”, but wasn’t very impressed.

    I agree that the Creation/Evolution disagreement should be taught in Social Studies class. Does Science class never reach over into the social arena? I don’t think each class can be so narrowly defined. I think it would be perfectly acceptable to have a lesson that showed students the variety of beliefs (not necessarily each one in depth), and taught about the legal and social implications of scientific advancement.

  20. Teddy Glass
    Posted August 4, 2005 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with Chris, who I believe in another thread suggested that evolution be covered in American history, when discussing the Scopes trial. I would think that there’s also the possibility to discuss it in a humanities course, perhaps one that deals with issues concerning church and state.

    I would, however, think twice before introducing it into a science course. While it might be the most expedient solution to just put a paragraph or two on Christian cheationsim into a text, I agree whith others here that doing so would leave the door open to other special interests. Science should be above such things.

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