Monday, January 23, 2006

Yet Another Rant (I Mean, Well Thought Out and Eloquently Put Argument)

Ok, I know today is my birthday, and I wracked my brains trying to think of a ‘Birthday’ post. I thought that considering I’m 25, I’d write 25 things about myself that you probably don’t know.

Then I realized I couldn’t think of 25 things about myself that you probably don’t know. At least not anything I want to share with the world at large.

I’ve been working on a pretty serious post for a while, and I figured: “Hell, it’s my birthday, I’ll write anything I damn well please!”

So here it is:

I’ve discussed Intelligent Design versus Evolution before, but today I want to talk about a very specific offshoot of this topic. Basically, should Intelligent Design be taught in schools?

My answer? Yes, it should.

In science class? No Fucking Way.

I watched a Penn and Teller Special on this exact topic not long ago, and some of the things I saw on there made me laugh out loud.

You see, advocates of Intelligent Design say that Evolution is a Theory, and nothing more. Therefore, if this theory is taught in science class, then Intelligent Design should be taught in science class also.

One guy (read, lunatic) in the Penn and Teller Special actually said: “Evolution is a Theory, until it’s proven, it shouldn’t be taught in science class.”

Again, send in the reactionaries who have no clue what they’re talking about.

You see, I freely admit that evolution is, indeed, ‘just a theory’.

However, it’s a theory that was arrived at by decades of study of evidence. It is only a theory, but it’s the best theory to fit the facts at hand.

Most of science is based on ‘just theories’. IE, The Theory of Relativity. The Theory of Relativity has gained mass support, despite the fact that it won’t be provable until we develop some way of going faster than light.

Even some of the things we take for granted are still being argued over. Take gravity, for instance. Right now, scientists are still arguing whether gravity is some form of energy, generated by all mass in the universe, which is only noticeable when an object is sufficiently massive…or whether gravity is caused by objects making indentations in space-time.

Theory, theory, theory. The idea that a theory must be 100% proven before it is taught in science class is absolutely preposterous. You see, teaching theories is what leads to people contemplating how things really are, and attempting to discover the true meaning themselves.

In short, it’s only through learning the possibilities can we uncover the truth. If that sounds to flowery, let me put it another way. Teaching theories is a way of saying: “We don’t really know how this works, but from what we’ve seen, our best guess is that it works like this. What do you think?” Then everyone studies the matter, the theory is altered, refined and above all, changed, until we finally have the explanation.

Theory is the basis of Science. Without theory, there IS no science.

You see, religion and science don’t mix. They’re diametrically opposed.

Religion is based on the un-provable and with it, blind faith. Religion says: “This is what we believe, and nothing can change that.”

Science is based on the exact opposite, nothing is taken on blind faith, and everything, in order to be accepted, must be either proven, or proven plausible. Science says: “This is what we believe, but we’re learning new things about it all the time.”

Let me give you another example from the Penn and Teller show.

Another lunatic, sorry, I mean ‘Advocate of Intelligent Design’, looked directly into the camera and said:

“What we believe is that the world, as we see it today, is six thousand years old, as it is written in the bible.”

Now this ‘fact’, that the Earth is a mere 6000 years old, is taught every day in religious studies. Apparently, the same people who would have it so only facts, not theory, can be taught in science class, believe that this complete and utter PROVEN falsehood can be taught to children without a second thought.

You see, the Earth isn’t six thousand years old. It’s not even six million years old. This planet we call home is approximately four and a half billion years old.

But how can we know this? By going to the thing the religion fears the most. Evidence. By carbon dating a single fossil, you can blow the idea that the Earth is 6000 years out of the water. Does this make any difference the Intelligent Design Advocates?

Not a bit.

“It’s in the Bible. It must be true.”

Blind faith. If a proven fact proves you right, grab it with both hands and publicize it as much as possible. If a proven fact proves you wrong, completely and utterly ignore it.

That something is ‘written in the Bible’ doesn’t prove anything. The Bible wasn’t written by God. It was written by a group of men, who tried to explain the Universe with the knowledge of the day. It’s a testament, and testaments can be wrong.

(As a sidenote, I’ve always found it amusing that the Bible is represented as immutable truth when there are so many versions of it. I searched the internet to try and find how many different versions there actually are, and guess what? There are so many, no one can agree. A book that was written, then re-written to fit countless different Christian denominations, as well as by one or two monarchs to fit their own ends…and that’s your immutable truth, your testament?  I mean, when a Monarch can even break away from Rome and start the Church of England, just so he can get a divorce…how can the Bible be proof of anything? Basically, if the Bible was 100% pure, immutable proof, there would only be one version.)

The easiest way I can explain my point is that religion is science in reverse.

Science looks at the facts, the evidence, then creates a theory that fits that evidence. Also, science changes as new evidence appears. I’m not saying that scientists don’t cling to the theories and ‘facts’ that they have always held as true, but with enough evidence, science will change.

Religion starts with the conclusion, and then evidence is twisted to fit the conclusion. If indisputable evidence comes along, it is suppressed, called heresy and lies, no matter how airtight the case is. If you think I’m exaggerating, look at what happened when it was discovered that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the Universe, or that the Earth was not flat, but a sphere. Spanish Inquisition anyone?

Science changes with new evidence. Religion simply ignores any new evidence that it doesn’t like.

Even the strongest arguments that Intelligent Design Advocates use to try and discredit Evolution prove only one thing… That they simply don’t understand the Theory of Evolution, and the reason they don’t understand it is that they don’t want to. I mean, why bother actually studying and learning about something that you don’t want to believe in? What if it puts forward an argument that you can’t disprove?

For example, the standard argument against Evolution is:

“If Evolution is correct, why aren’t monkeys evolving into humans today?”

…and that argument makes about as much sense as saying:

“If the Earth is round, why don’t the people on the bottom fall off?”

…which I’m pretty sure many people said when it was first discovered that the Earth wasn’t flat.

Basically, the people who don’t even have the first idea of what the Theory of Evolution is, are attacking it in order to preserve the theory that someone came up with 2000 years ago.

So, should Intelligent Design be taught in schools?

By all means! Even though I don’t believe in intelligent design, that doesn’t mean that people don’t have the right to believe in whatever they wish, and the right to decide what they want their children taught in schools.

However, no one has the right to take a belief that hasn’t been objectively studied, a belief that has no supporting evidence whatsoever, and call it science.

Now the Religious out there will say: “It’s in the Bible! That’s proof!”

No it isn’t. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t automatically make it proof. All it means is that at one time, someone wrote it down. If I printed this post out and put a cover on it, this post has all the credentials that the Bible has.

I’ll play it by their rules. When they can prove that Intelligent Design is irrefutable fact, I will personally teach it to any science class I can get into.

No one has demanded that the Big Bang Theory should be taught in Religious Studies alongside ‘Genesis’. If someone suggested it, the very idea would be thought of as ridiculous.

Why should teaching religion in science class be thought of any differently?


OzzyC said...

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

MC Etcher said...

What can I say, except "Yep!"

Anonymous said...

I believe that there are many subjects that need to be taught in schools that are not, and probably never will be. But the reasons that those subjects are not taught is because no one can admit that there is more to life (as we know it), than science.

I always find it amusing that we as humans have declared, by stating matters as scientific fact, that we know anything. I'll go as far as to say that science is more like religion than what most imagine it to be. As well, religion is not as far removed from science. If scientists ignored theories, they would have nothing to research to scientifically prove or disprove. If the strongly religious ignore scientific fact (which is usually more the case)they would become more close minded than those scientists that claims "they've discovered the truth". After all...research how many "scientific facts" have been publicized and ultimately scientifically debunked in the past 100 years...I would guess it is staggering.
Science, philosophy, psychology, etc...are all taught in public and private schools, yet when it comes to religion it becomes a taboo topic to even mention.
Personally, I feel we either need to teach all...or none. A child in today's society would be badly deprived of social skills if they had no knowledge of science...etc. But perhaps they may be more deprived if the ambition to have blind faith in what is unknown, unseen, unstudied, untested and unproved, is never offered as learning option because "Science" has closed the book on what is and isn’t.

And by the way. I enjoyed your post. Thanks.

Paulius said...

I agree with you completely, Anonymous. I beleive it's just as wrong and dangerous to have blind faith in science as it is to religion...Like I stated in my post, science changes, and what is accepted as fact today, often turns out to be untrue tommorrow.

My main point was simply that the religious point of view should be taught in appropriate classes.

Religion has a home in psychology, philosophy, and of course, Religious Studies...but in Physics or Biology? Nope.

Again, as I stated in my post, everyone has the right to believe in what they want to beleive or learn what they want to learn.

The best way I can explain it is that if I suggested that evolution be taught along side creationism in religious studies, it would not, and should not happen...I don't see why the reverse should be true.

Apparently it's wrong to teach children scientific theories that conflict with religious teachings...but it's not wrong to teach religious points of view that conflict with science.

It's a big double standard.

I'm not saying "Science has proved the Bible wrong, therefore it shouldn't be taught." All I'm saying is that a Religious BELIEF, should not be taught in the same class as a Scientific Theory.

One last thing, science exists because we DON'T know scientist worth his salt will ever say "We've got everything figured out."

CP said...

As much as I love debate...I must admit that you are correct in stating that the two should not exist in the same learning forum.
I can't help... by nature... to try to be fair and balanced. I am a Libra. Not by religion, but by science. Which forces me to consider all options...Glass half full and all that crap...

Science also shares a home with psychology, philosophy, and of course...religous studies..

I suppose my point is that maybe the two are not as removed as we put them.

Perhaps the debate is what scientifically keeps the the two ... and oh... by the way... Happy Belated Birthday!