The battle for American science: Alok Jha and Oliver Burkeman

Alok Jha and Oliver Burkeman write a lengthy piece in the Guardian’s new Life section today. And they write it on the very interesting subject of creationism. Some interesting goings-on in Atlanta at the moment with the so-called ‘mouse trap argument’.

It appears to be a bastardised version of Paley’s Watch argument.

I really do not see the logic, nor have I ever, in the argument from intelligent design. A mouse-trap exists therefore an all-poweful super being created the universe? – a bit of a leap there. I studied the argument in detail while at university, and had a passionate argument with my Jesuit lecturer on the issue.

The article has some good quotes:

“We’d all like to have the answers. Suppose you drove someone who’d never seen Mount Rushmore to look at it. They would immediately apprehend that the mountain had been designed, formed by intelligent activity. Now, most people would think that designer would be God … but where the designer came from is a separate question.” (Most scientists point out, among many criticisms of ID, that it assumes the function of an organism to be a given: true of a mousetrap, but not necessarily of living things – ends themselves can change.)

And Ken Miller points out, with my full backing –

“But there’s something called the scientific process, you know – involving open publication, criticism, and rejection of things that aren’t convincing. We don’t teach both sides of the germ theory of disease and faith-healing. Evolution isn’t in the classroom because of political action or court decisions. It’s in the classroom because it made it through, it stood up to scrutiny and became the scientific consensus. It fought the battle and won.”

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