Wednesday, December 22, 2004

There are theories and there are theories

I've been following the story of the Dover, PA, schoolboard's insistence that Intelligent Design be taught alongside evolution in classrooms. There are now a couple of court cases in the works challenging this weak cloaking of Creationism, but ID was pretty specifically designed to leverage ambiguities in the original court rulings that made mandatory Creationism curricula illegal.

Anyway, here's an interesting examination of why the teaching of Intelligent Design should be considered unconstitutional. It points out the challenges and suggests some solutions for putting this issue to bed once and for all; in a nutshell, (1) ID is a thin veil for a religious viewpoint, and (2) it's really a label more than an actual theory. I particularly appreciated the well-considered arguments made for point (2).
In both biology and physics, in other words, supernatural phenomena may be conceivable. But for an account of such phenomena to qualify as science, it must do more than simply posit an intervention from outside the ordinary natural order. It must also explain how the intervening agent interacts with the natural world. Otherwise, it is simply an article of faith rather than a scientific explanation.
test tubes mean science!Who knows whether any justices will have the nerve to set standards of good science...

(via How Appealing)

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