Intelligent Design?

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: George W. Bush Views: 4692

President George W. Bush favors teaching both evolution and "Intelligent Design" in schools, "so people can know what the debate is about." To proponents, Intelligent Design is the notion that the universe is too complex to have developed without a nudge from a higher power than evolution or natural selection.

To detractors, Intelligent Design is creationism - the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis - in a thin guise, or simply vacuous, about as interesting as "I don't understand," as has always been true in the sciences before understanding is reached. Accordingly, there cannot be a "debate."

The teaching of evolution has long been difficult in the United States. Now a national movement has emerged to promote the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools.

The issue has famously surfaced in a courtroom in Dover, Pa., where a school board is requiring students to hear a statement about Intelligent Design in a biology class - and parents mindful of the Constitution's church/state separation have sued the board.

In the interest of fairness, perhaps the president's speechwriters should take him seriously when they have him say that schools should be open-minded and teach all points of view. So far, however, the curriculum has not encompassed one obvious point of view: Malignant Design.

Unlike Intelligent Design, for which the evidence is zero, malignant design has tons of empirical evidence, much more than Darwinian evolution, by some criteria: the world's cruelty. Be that as it may, the background of the current evolution/intelligent design controversy is the widespread rejection of science, a phenomenon with deep roots in American history that has been cynically exploited for narrow political gain during the last quarter-century. Intelligent Design raises the question whether it is intelligent to disregard scientific evidence about matters of supreme importance to the nation and world - like global warming.

An old-fashioned conservative would believe in the value of Enlightenment ideals - rationality, critical analysis, freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry - and would try to adapt them to a modern society. The Founding Fathers, children of the Enlightenment, championed those ideals and took pains to create a Constitution that espoused religious freedom yet separated church and state. The United States, despite the occasional messianism of its leaders, isn't a theocracy.

In our time, the Bush administration's hostility to scientific inquiry puts the world at risk. Environmental catastrophe, whether you think the world has been developing only since Genesis or for eons, is far too serious to ignore. In preparation for the G8 summit this past summer, the scientific academies of all G8 nations (including the US National Academy of Sciences), joined by those of China, India and Brazil, called on the leaders of the rich countries to take urgent action to head off global warming.

"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify prompt action," their statement said. "It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."

In its lead editorial, The Financial Times endorsed this "clarion call," while observing: "There is, however, one holdout, and unfortunately it is to be found in the White House where George W. Bush insists we still do not know enough about this literally world-changing phenomenon."

Dismissal of scientific evidence on matters of survival, in keeping with Bush's scientific judgment, is routine. A few months earlier, at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, leading US climate researchers released "the most compelling evidence yet" that human activities are responsible for global warming, according to The Financial Times. They predicted major climatic effects, including severe reductions in water supplies in regions that rely on rivers fed by melting snow and glaciers.

Other prominent researchers at the same session reported evidence that the melting of Arctic and Greenland ice sheets is causing changes in the sea's salinity balance that threaten "to shut down the Ocean Conveyor Belt, which transfers heat from the tropics toward the polar regions through currents such as the Gulf Stream." Such changes might bring significant temperature reduction to northern Europe.

Like the statement of the National Academies for the G8 summit, the release of "the most compelling evidence yet" received scant notice in the United States, despite the attention given in the same days to the implementation of the Kyoto protocols, with the most important government refusing to take part.

It is important to stress "government." The standard report that the United States stands almost alone in rejecting the Kyoto protocols is correct only if the phrase "United States" excludes its population, which strongly favours the Kyoto pact (73 per cent, according to a July poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes).

Perhaps only the word "malignant" could describe a failure to acknowledge, much less address, the all-too-scientific issue of climate change. Thus the "moral clarity" of the Bush administration extends to its cavalier attitude toward the fate of our grandchildren.

 


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  20 Comments   Comment

  1. Doinphine from Canada

    To Assalamu aleikum

    I dont think you speak for most Muslims, I surely hope not. To consider biology not a science would be a grave error. Western Science has proven to be of great benefit to the world. this reminds me of a story. While The USSR was trying to make wheat more resistant to cold weather by putting it in cold water to "toughen" it up. The West was doing it by using Science. To consider Biology not science, is to do so at your own peril.

  2. Assalamu aleikum from Allah's Masjid - Earth

    Chomsky correctly blasts dajjal Bush (one of the 30 dajjals prophesied to come before the Day of Judgement) for Bush's rejection of knowledgeable observations of the environment, but Chomsky's article itself is founded on "scientism" (the acceptance of science as a form of false god or religious belief). Muslims naturally reject scientism: science is a useful tool in some cases, nothing more. And by definition, science is limited to phenomena that can repeat (and therefore be tested).

    Evolution is not science as it is not based on anything that can be tested. Indeed, much of the reprobate field of "biology" is not science, and should be excommunicated from such legitimate scientific endeavors as physics, math or chemistry . As an example "on point", the classification of species by their means of reproduction is but one of an enormous number of ways species can be classified. Species could be classified according to size, shape, etc. Taxonomy - biological classification - is therefore an art, not a science. And so is the welter of evolutionary "theories" that in credulous minds pass for "science".

  3. Dr Edriss from US

    Assalam ALaikom brothers and sisters,

    Check this if you want laugh little bit?

    since we left the topic and we talk about other religions. let's me tell you something very important and funny here?

    the version of christianity in the west, use always something called healing by holy spirit. you can see them always on TBN having fun at the expense of ignorant people. when the last pope(who died)was sick with the flu, he didn't rely himself on holy spirit, he had to go to the Doctor.

    conclusion: sounds the flu is new disease for the holy spirit!!! :). smart conclusion like calling evolution theory :). huh!

    what is more important is when 2 million christians gathered to pray for the pope to stay alive, sudenly he died :(. maybe 2 million were over the required number.

    don't blame the christian religion for that? blame the western version of it?

    there is also the religion called evil lotion (sounds like evolution!?) 🙂 who appeared in the west. this religion got corrupted inside the west before leaving it :). there are already people in the west who think if you don't believe the evil lotion, you are going to their hell. creationationism is the anti evil lotion, and I'm smarter than you because I believe what archeologists tell me more than I believe myself :). plus I'm scientist but you are not! viva La evil lotion.

    there is a sign in Quran, that I will translate here, who says "do not worry about the people who choose to cover the truth(kiffers)"

    once this people stop fighting Islam, there is nothing in Islam that Allow moslems to fight them. they are free to think and believe whatever they like as long as they are not trying to dominate Islam and the Islamic nation.

    thanks to Allah for the blessing of Islam. you don't need dump people to advance Islam. it's Allah who guides to Him whom He wants.

    Assalam Alaikom brothers and sisters

    your brother in Allah Edriss, May Allah be in His help. Ameen

  4. Kamath from USA

    This Intelligent Design which is a new logo for the old Creationism is nothing new . I would really replace it with 'Malignant Design' to reflect its utter total stupidity.

  5. Doin Phine from Canada

    A link to show that Evolution Theory doesn't include a Creator God. The site explains how mankind evolved.

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evotext_13

    All this is over a period of 4.6 BILLION years.

    The Koran (In English at least)(Source:Islamcity)

    7:54 Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!

    In a quick search of the Koran on this site (Islamicity) I found this verse.

    32:7 He Who has made everything which He has created most good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay

    At the website evolution.berkeley.edu it is written

    "It is important to remember that:

    Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees. Humans and chimpanzees are evolutionary cousins and share a recent common ancestor that was neither chimpanzee nor human.

    Humans are not "higher" or "more evolved" than other living lineages. Since our lineages split, humans and chimpanzees have each evolved traits unique to our own lineages."

    Therefore another major contradiction between the teaching of the Koran, and Evolution Theory.

    Evolution theory also contradicts teachings in Christianity, and probably many other religions.

  6. Dr Edriss from US

    neither whatever design or evolution are theories. a theory must be proved, it it's not proved it is not theory. an observation of the past is not a theory only if you reproduce it. we never reproduced any evolution. we just love to fight about illogical things. there is a phenomena that we named evolution but it is not theory. intelligent design is more funny than evolution if you call it theory! since the term intelligent can point to whatever: can point to a Robot, alien technology, ...

    the day when we take a monkey in the laboratory and change him to human, we gonna call evolution theory. unfortunatly, the term "Theory" in Mathematics can be used by the majority of the people witout understanding it correctly.

  7. L Alahem from USA

    Asalaam alikum,

    I have heard the comment "the theory evolution has no creator God" meaning of course that the theory of evolution is exclusive of the idea of a creative universe.

    I would have to disagree with this point of view.

    First, the theory of evolution does not address the beginnings of the universe, only it's activity and behavior since creation. If you want to study the beginnings of creation you will have to check out the big bang theory.

    It has come to my attention that there is no problem between the belief in a creator and accepting the scientific view. They seem to prove each other out.

    The scientific theories put forth that the universe was formed by an explosion, in which there wasn't even room for photons to glow for at least a linear minute.

    "the world was void and without form, and darkness was upon the face of the waters. And God said, "let there be light" and it was so

    Genesis, 1

    So tell me, How much more light to you need?

    It is this way always. The Quran teaches that God is timeless, The Bible teaches "as was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be"

    Quantum theory puts forth that time and space are not subject to the "rules" that we abide by on this planet, that they may not actually exist at all. Which would explain why the creator can do or be anything at any time.

    There is more unknown than known on earth, there is no way to say "This is truth, That is fiction"

    I advise caution when accepting or rejecting any arguments, because we truly won't know until the end. For me, tears of joy fall down my cheeks when I see the beautiful way that Science explains God.

    wasalaam,

    L Alahem

  8. Umman from usa

    The American Association of Science definition of Theory:

    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

    Intelligent design is not a theory and does not submit to vigorous peer evaluation compared to scientific theory that can be emperically proven or disproven.

    Theory of Relativity, Theory of gravity are examples of scientific theory. Intelligent design is not, and therefore should not be included in science books.

    We now know that the world is billions of years old, unlike what the Bible claims. The Vatican had only recently officially accepted Galileo's claim that the earth revolves around the sun.

    Religion is not in a position to make contradictory claims toward science, only that God left it for humans to study the natural world around them.

  9. Umman from usa

    The American Association of Science definition of Theory:

    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

    Intelligent design is not a theory and does not submit to vigorous peer evaluation compared to scientific theory that can be emperically proven or disproven.

    Theory of Relativity, Theory of gravity are examples of scientific theory. Intelligent design is not, and therefore should not be included in science books.

    We now know that the world is billions of years old, unlike what the Bible claims. The Vatican had only recently officially accepted Galileo's claim that the earth revolves around the sun.

    Religion is not in a position to make contradictory claims toward science, only that God left it for humans to study the natural world around them.

  10. Jeff from US

    Same old boring vitriol from Chomsky. He's a tired old humanist whose views have been left in the past, though he's still given a voice from time to time by NPR et al.

    While there is no question we as humans need to be stewards of the resources God has given us, it is very arrogant to say that we can control our environment.

  11. umyousef

    As a Muslim Biology teacher I do not really have problem with teaching evolution. Evolution describe by Darwin could be the mechanics that explain how life come about and how different species come into existance BUT as Muslim we believe all that happen does not happen by accident. It was and still part of a grand plan.

  12. Doin Phine from Canada

    The comment of Jasem el-Masri highlights the fact that if you are a believer of Islam (or Christian), you have to also believe in intelligent design, as evolution does not have a creator God as part of its theory. ID is creationism, that is trying to adapt to science.

  13. Dr Edriss from US

    this is the most accurate statement of Bush "we still do not know enough about this literally world-changing phenomenon."

    whoever wrote this article, should go directly to the problem. that was no need for genesis comercial or calling evolution or whatever design as theories.

    once you don't know the difference between what you call religion and what others call science, you fall in useless conversations.

    there is no scientific evidence of any global warming because of human activities. scientific evidence of global warming doesn't mean Ice is melting or sea getting wet :). of course Bush said that to play his shopping Mall for the wars "the evengelican crazy". but unfortunatly, this time he got it right without know :). all scientists know there is no evidence. there is a global warming but is it coming from human activities? we still didn't answer this question yet. needs very complicated studies and thousands of mathematicians who gonna make the right statistics.

  14. Jasem el-Masri from US

    Islam doesn't have any problme with the idea of evolution in general. In fact, the Quran states that the human was created in stages.

    However, the Theory of Evolution suggests that the biosphere evolved by mere accident, blind chance.

    There's no scientific proof whatsoever to either prove or disprove such claim. So in effect, ID is as valid or invalid as Theory of Evolution when it comes to the question of "who" or "what" is driving this evolution machinery.

    Is it blind chance? Is it dumb nature that created these meticulously and beautifully designed creatures? Were intelligence and self-consciousness spawned out of nothingness?

    Islam states that Allah (SWT) is the One behind all these creations. Not blind chance, dumb nature, or nothingness.

  15. Doin Phine from Canada

    I would like to thank Rehan for his comments, as they are well presented, and well taken on my part. I didn't catch the 'joke' of malignant design, and that is obviouly what it was :-(. As far as the Bible is concerned, in Western culture we know it was written a long ago, and they could not of know about evolution. Also even the Catholic Church has came out lately and said the Bible is not to be taken literally.

    PS, Thanks to Iviews.com for your new policy on letting people post messages.

  16. Rehan from USA

    Some of the commentators failed to understand the article. The author is a foreign policy critic and one of the most well-known. There is no such thing as "malignant design" and the author knows this. He's criticizing the current US government for its moral perception on "Intelligent Design" but not on issues like global warming and the other things he mentions.

    Also, Islam does not go against the Evolutionary theory. The reference to creation of days is not 24-hour days, the actual word in Arabic is "yawm" which more closely translates to period. The Islamic concept is not like the Biblical one where the Earth is only 6000 years old. There are Muslim scholars who have rejected the current Evolotionary theory as espoused by Darwin, and others who have fully embraced it. The Quran doesn't expressedly agree or disagree with the current theory.

  17. Brandon Whittaker from USA

    This article hits the "bullseye" when it comes to the crux of American refusal to become apart of the Kyoto Treaty. President Bush seems to have a distrust of science which parallels the belief in Creationism. Although there is no direct, credible scientific evidence of a 6,000 year-old-universe. There is incredible evidence that while may not directly state, but indirectly show, that global warming is not only apparent but is also showing greater acceleration than in anytime in recorded history. This demands a course of action by all the countries of this planet, especially the United States. By deciding to avoid the conference my country is missing an incredible opportunity in showing true world leadership. While the War on Terrorism is important, global warming is sure to have a far greater, although longer period of time, effect. And since 50 percent of Earth's population lives near the coast and global warming WILL increase sea level. This issue will surely not go away, but remain with us until we find a solution that only the world as a whole can find.

  18. ummer farooq from uk england

    This fails to relise those Physicists who are working on this field. They are obviously using all the tools that they need. Some of them do not fear Religion and Scripture, but are agreeing ways forward on how such cosmic matters occur. One of these Theoretical Physicists Dr. Michio Kaku. Though thats what this field is all about "Theoretical Physics" we humble people will have to wait until it becomes "Factual Physics".

    We will always have such people that ask questions, some of which fail to see how things work and others who wish to find out. Naturally those who fail to see how things work would be better of explaining what they can see rather than what they cannot see. For these such people are less creative, neither can they create much nor do they have much imagination and they don't tend to leave their comfort zones. I wonder if they can understand simulation comptuer environments. They some times call it a sixth sence. Or as my mother would remind me: "stop day dreaming Ummer".

  19. Doin Phine from Canada

    Never heard of malignant design. Sounds justs as stupid as intelligent design. What is the evidence for this theory. Or is it just a joke of the author. Evolution doesn't fit with the teachings of the bible or the Koran, but it is a fact Evolution is the way that humans came to be. The Bible and the Koran (15:28, 21:30) both say the earth and humans were created in 7 days more or less. These verses are WRONG!!!

    The rest of the opinion piece was more Bush bashing then any kind of argumentation of EvolutionIntelligent designMalignant design. What does the author believe, it is hard to tell.

    PS. Did a yahoo search and only reference to malignant design is the same article by the author. So I was right it is a joke. His reasoning no better then Intelligent design logic. He believes in malignant design because "the world's cruelty".

    Even I as an atheist believe that while the world has much evil in it, there is much more beauty. Open your eyes Chomsky!

    I find this article one of the the weaker opinion pieces. I expected to read a good discussion on ID and got nothing.