Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Ben Stein

I'm not going to go into the whole Nixon-apologist thing, but I used to think Ben Stein was smart. Then I find out that not only is he appearing in a pro-"intelligent design" movie, but he went on Bill O'Reilly to promote it. (Apparently I was also ignorant of Stein's pro-life activities.) Stein and O'Reilly whine about the persecution of creationists in academic science. Well, that's because creationism/id/whatever IS NOT SCIENCE!!
I'm sure most universities would deny tenure to Holocaust deniers in their history departments. It all goes back to the fundamentals of rational inquiry. If you want to examine something "scientifically," you have to stay within the boundaries of what is testable. Outside those bounds, I suppose you can believe whatever you want, but don't expect to get it published in a scientific journal. I'm never going to get a paper published in Nature on the creation of life by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and I don't consider that "persecution."
Stein and O'Reilly also whine about the "secular pinheads" who won't let high school science teachers mention intelligent design as an "alternate theory for the origin of life." They are missing the point that evolutionary theory doesn't really deal with the origins of life on earth. After all, "descent with modification" requires something to produce descendents. :)
BUT there are plenty of scientific theories that do deal with the origin of life on earth. There are lively debates, and I'm not sure the problem is really solvable, but there's no reason to invoke supernatural explanations. That's theology, not science.

3 comments:

Alicia said...

Rock on girl! Luckily for us there are some judges in the courts who understand the definition of science. If you haven't seen the related NOVA episode I highly recommend it!!
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/

Alicia said...

I had to post again because this story is just too timely (plus this is a pet topic of mine....)

http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=195969

Alicia said...

Oops, that was a bad URL:

http://tinyurl.com/26lpa5

Turns out that the director of the Texas Education Agency was pushed out, possibly due to this very topic...