August 3rd, 5:29pm
The evolution revolution...
Evolution V. Intelligent Design
Court of Opinion, in the great State of Kansas.
The Honorable Kevin R. Sontag presiding.
For those few of you who don’t know, the state of Kansas has been a national laughing stock over the last few years. The State Board of
Education has, on multiple occasions, voted to initiate the teaching of “intelligent design” in Kansas school science classes, and to criticize
evolution as an untested and unproved theory. With a 6-4 majority on the Board, the conservatives placed stickers inside science books,
warning students that evolution is not a fact, but a hair-brained theory that only idiots, nincompoops and heathens believe, and if you think
we all came from monkeys, well, you’re just going straight to hell. I’m paraphrasing, of course. The sticker was much too small to say all of
that. I think the exact wording was “Evolution bad. Magic good.”
Here is some background information on intelligent design. One definition of intelligent design reads: “the concept that certain features of
the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." The
basic idea is some supernatural being much more powerful than humans designed the world, in fact the entire universe, and everything
that lives in it. Of course, questions arise from this. Who created the designer? What were we made from? Where is the designer now?
The usual answer from a proponent of intelligent design is “Um… uh… well, I… say, did you see that episode of Trading Spouses last
Let’s face it folks- intelligent design might not be worded the same as creationism (the idea that the origin of life follows the story of
Genesis from the Bible). But they both say the same thing- a spooky, mysterious, all-powerful god-like being snapped his fingers, and out
we sprang. Now I want to clarify my position on intelligent design. I do not claim that it is 100%, no doubt about it, untrue. I believe it to be
extremely improbable, but not impossible. Why do I think that? Because there is no evidence to prove or disprove it. And this is the point
that these intelligent design proponents (read: idiots) can’t wrap their clouded heads around. There’s nothing wrong with teaching
children the idea of intelligent design, but you can’t do it in SCIENCE class! Science is based on empirical evidence, theories that can be
tested and retested, results that can be duplicated in multiple environments. The idea that some magical figure wriggled it’s nose and
created the universe out of nothing is pretty much as far from science as possible. Evolution, however, is a fact. The mechanism of
evolution is still unknown (which is what gets those intelligent design followers in an underwear twisting, butt clenching tizzy), but the idea
that modern organisms evolved from lesser, simpler, ancestral organisms is overwhelmingly regarded by biologists as fact. Jerry Coyne of
the University of Chicago sums it up pretty well: "Either life resulted not from intelligent design, but from evolution; or the intelligent
designer is a cosmic prankster who designed everything to make it look as though it had evolved."
Thankfully, in our most recent elections in Kansas, the conservative majority was overturned. The moderates now will have at least a 6-4
majority, maybe more. The word coming from the newly elected Board members is that the intelligent design debate will be top priority.
So it looks as if, for now, the debate will cease, evolution will be taught criticism-free, as it should be, and intelligent design will stop leaking
into science class.
However, if you still don’t believe in evolution, and you are still interested in learning more about intelligent design, there is a seminar
starting in your area in a few minutes. Be sure to pick up a name tag, a black top hat, a wand, and a rabbit at the greeting table. Any
cameras, recording devices, rationale, and/or common sense will be confiscated at the door.
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