The controversy over teaching intelligent design in tandem with evolution in science class - a proposal our brilliantly intelligent, well-spoken and popular president endorses – has received far too much serious attention for Crabby Old Lady to endure.
In case you’ve missed the terabytes of words published on this topic pro and con, Wikipedia boils down its definition to this:
“Intelligent design…is the controversial assertion that certain features of the universe and of living things exhibit the characteristics of a product resulting from an intelligent cause or agent.”
In other words, a smart cosmic spirit, not evolution, accounts for life. You can read the similar Judeo-Christian explanation for the origin of life in Genesis. (Crabby recommends the King James version for the beauty of its language.)
Although not all, many intelligent design proponents avoid identifying their supposed designer as God, but that’s just a political ploy to circumvent the constitutional doctrine of the separation of church and state as it applies to publicly-funded schools. So when you run across IDers’ references to a designer, you can substitute the word God if you like – it means the same thing. You can also substitute the word creationism for intelligent design if that suits you. ID is just fancy dress for creationism.
There appear to be as many variations on intelligent design as there are angels dancing on the head of a pin. Most adhere to the proposition that life is too complex for mutation and natural selection, the two primary aspects of the scientific theory of evolution, to be possible.
Oh, pshaw! All anyone need do to see the monumental flaw in that thinking is to consider the threat of another hot media topic - an avian flu pandemic. As biologist, Olivia Judson, explained in The New York Times last week, the H5N1 virus which so far, it appears, can pass only from fowl to humans, could “learn” to pass between humans in two ways:
“The virus might infect someone already sick with a strain of human flu, and the two viruses could have sex, thus creating a new virus that contains some genes from each. Such viral hanky-panky is thought to have led to the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968. Or the virus could mutate - acquire accidental changes to its genetic material - in such a way that it becomes able to travel between people.”
Until someone can prove to Crabby Old Lady that not a single intelligent design advocate has taken a flu shot nor accepted the need for a new one each year – a tacit admission of belief in evolution – their arguments for teaching ID on a par with evolution are a sham, an attempt to cram Christianity, especially the evangelical variety, down the throats of America’s children at taxpayer expense.
Crabby has no objection to teaching a supernatural explanation of life - whether it is called creationism, intelligent design or fairy tale - as long as it remains at home or in Sunday school. To equate it with biology, chemistry, physics and evolution is as witless as according astrology the same legitimacy as astronomy.
It is shocking to Crabby Old Lady that there are places in the U.S., such as Kansas last Tuesday, which have ignorantly voted to change “the definition of science, expanding it to include supernatural explanations of natural phenomena” (UK Guardian) and promote intelligent design to equal status with evolution. Revoking Darwinism from the curriculum is, as Olivia Judson warns in the Times, a dangerous and frightening mistake:
“…we can use our knowledge of evolutionary processes in powerful and practical ways, potentially saving the lives of tens of millions of people. So let's not strip evolution from the textbooks, or banish it from the classroom, or replace it with ideologies born of wishful thinking. If we do, we might find ourselves facing the consequences of natural selection.”