Kansas vs. rational thought

Intelligent design is the extreme in which science becomes philosophy.

Last week the Daily ran an Associated Press report stating that the Kansas State Board of Education voted to change the standards of science in an effort to teach the theory of intelligent design. Proponents claim that this will allow them to challenge some of the precepts of the Darwinian theory.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is much more going on here. Some evidence seems to contradict the theory of evolution, such as bacterial flagellum. Intelligent design supporters cite this and other things as evidence toward their proposal. The problem is that this evidence does not directly support and lead into intelligent design; it just casts some doubt on Darwinian evolution. Scientific theories and laws are based on the scientific method, the process taught as early as grade school by which hypothesis, analysis and experiment are used to form theories and laws to explain natural phenomena, such as the form and development of organisms. All theories have flaws, or evidence against them, and the investigation is what leads right to their refinement or replacement by more complete theories.

Intelligent design does not follow the scientific method; it begins with the theory and then goes back looking for evidence. There is a notable absence of scientific journals supporting intelligent design, and there is no test or experiment devisable to even begin to prove it. Before throwing evolution into that pit with intelligent design, evolution has observable evidence, some of which led to Darwin’s theory in the first place. There is even proof in some hospitals where the 0.01 percent of bacteria that survive disinfectants and germicidal agents have become immune to some antibiotics like penicillin through the course of natural selection. Kansan science, in contrast to rational science, has now been redefined from “seeking natural explanations,” to “seeking logical explanations.” Anything that could be considered logical can now serve as the basis for science to be taught. As humorously noted on the Web site www.venganza.org, by this standard of science there is as much “evidence” to support the theory that the universe was created by a flying spaghetti monster, and global warming is a direct effect of the diminishing number of pirates in the world. This is the standard that is now legal for indoctrination into the unfortunate youths of Kansas.

The agenda is creationism. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power. Many intelligent design advocates suggest that this power is the Christian God.

These are the same people whom when I ask how old the Earth is, they tell me 6,000 to 10,000 years, based off the Bible, the supposed “word of God.” This directly contradicts science in many areas: geology and plate tectonics, paleontology and fossils, and even nuclear physics and age tests based off radioactive decay. Large parts of these scientific ideas have to be false if what they claim is true, just as genetics and evolution must be thrown away to explain the development of the human race through Adam and Eve. This is the extreme, where science becomes philosophy, beginning with not a hypothesis, but with what must be true. It casts aside not just science, but the concept of human rationality itself. If science itself is wrong, then humanity’s greatest thinkers, its greatest scientists, are wrong, and reason itself is worth nothing compared with faith. This is dangerous. The religious wrong prepare to sacrifice science and intelligent thought in order to indoctrinate. It is much like Abraham with Isaac, except this time the knife will not be stayed at the last moment.

Lief Mattila is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]