The Evolution Debate
08.26.2005 11:27 | DISPATCHES
There is no evolution debate. There is a debate about whether creationism or Intelligent Design (which is Creationism's better-disguised descendant--yes, even Creationism evolves) should be taught in high schools. I say it can be taught in theology class, or philosophy class, or maybe history. But not in science class, because it isn't science. There is no science in saying "God did it." Sorry. There isn't.
And that's why there is no "evolution debate." On one side is the entire scientific community. On the other side are a lot of people who aren't stopping to think, but who are yelling and screaming at their school boards. Period.
Here's the very smart Richard Dawkins on Michael Behe's idea of "irreducible complexity," which underlies the idea of Intelligent Design:
What [Behe] done is to take a standard argument which dates back to the 19th century, the argument of irreducible complexity, the argument that there are certain organs [like the eye],certain systems in which all the bits have to be there together or the whole system won’t work...
Exactly. I'm sorry to be ill-tempered about this, but the only appropriate response to Creationists and IDers is: come back when you are less stupid. It is all fine and good to be person of faith, but scientists do not go charging into churches insisting that the Bible be revised to include evolution, so churches should not come crashing into science classes. And if Michael Behe can't come up with an evolutionary explanation for something, he should probably think harder and do more research.
Now, Darwin considered that argument for the eye and he dismissed it, correctly, by showing that actually the eye could have evolved by gradual stages. Bits of an eye -- half an eye is betterthan no eye, a quarter of an eye is better than no eye, half an eye is better than a quarter of an eye...
Darwin answered them point by point, piece by piece. But maybe he shouldn’t have bothered. Maybe what he should have said is, well, maybe you can’t think of --maybe you’re too thick to think of a reason why the eye could have come about by gradual steps, but perhaps you should go away and think a bit harder.
Behe should stop being lazy and should get up and think for himself about how the flagellum evolved instead of this cowardly, lazy copping out by simply saying, oh, I can’t think of how it came about, therefore it must have been designed.
Also see The Skeptics Dictionary for a nice rundown of the Intelligent Design foolishness.