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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My letter to the Washington Post re: Bush and ID

I figured I should post it here since odds are it won't get published.

President Bush's stance on the inclusion of Intelligent Design creationism in the classroom is yet another attempt at partisan hackery. Besides the inevitable legal battles that such a move would generate (and thus deplete our districts of badly needed funding), our children would effectively be caught in a political power struggle waged by the anti-scientific Religious Right. The decision to teach evolution should not be up to politicians and pundits, but rather based upon the research and conclusions of the scientific community. As a scientist, I recognize that evolution is supported by observation and experimentation, both in the laboratory and the wild, and that the Theory of Evolution has generated many fruitful research programs and benefits for humankind. It has undergone rigorous testing and has earned its place in biology. Biologists around the world, of all faiths and none, recognize the utility of evolutionary theory in explaining the diversity of life on earth, and also in more practical matters such as understanding antibiotic resistance. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, does not share this honor. It offers no testable explanations for the diversity of life, and indeed isn't even articulated as a theory, which even prominent ID supporters such as Paul Nelson can recognize:

"Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don't have such a theory right now, and that's a problem. Without a theory, it's very hard to know where to direct your research focus. " Paul Nelson, Touchstone Magazine 7/8 (2004): pp 64 – 65.

If ID supporters want their non-theory taught in schools then they should formalize a theory of Intelligent Design and actually conduct experiments in support of it, not waste their money lobbying politicians. To suggest we elevate Intelligent Design to a status on par with that of evolution is nothing more than social promotion. I thought a so-called conservative President would recognize this fact.


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