Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dawno Reads about the Dover Panda Trial and Leaps on Her Soapbox

Intelligent Design. Nice name for a place that does interior decorating for computer nerds and various other techie types, doncha think? What it’s not nice for is science curriculums. Jill has written about it and linked to the courtroom blogs, so I won’t duplicate that effort (and I hope you read Jill’s blog, it’s great).

There have been various conversations about this topic all over the place. My SO has a Flying Spaghetti Monster medallion on his car now. WWFSMD is moving up in popularity as well – 30,300 topics returned on a recent Google search and its own Uncyclopedia entry (and Wikipedia, too); I’m impressed. This is a justifiable reaction to the ID concept. If we took it seriously, we’d be saying it was worth taking seriously.

In the interests of providing fair representation to the ID concept I did go to their website. I believe it’s important to know the opposition’s stance, goals and motivations. And to read the press releases to know if they’re going to be setting up shop in your school district. Ohioans, I hope you’re reading carefully.

Unfortunately, there are folks who take ID so seriously that they’ve corrupted their elected position of Board of Education member and turned it into a pulpit for their dogmatic version of Christianity. They are using that position to promote, in public schools, a religious belief. Aren’t these people elected? Please tell me they can be voted off the board next election day. And tell me where I can send campaign contributions to their opponents.

So, what’s this post about? Glad you asked. I’m here to encourage you to read this up close and personal series of posts by Mike Argento from the York Daily Record about the Dover, PA trial, which I found through John Scalzi’s Whatever.

The whole series of posts is a wonderful, humorous, but ultimately, thought provoking read. I could go on and on with excerpts but I’ll spare you that, just please, if you’ve any interest at all in what’s going on – and want to see what could be coming to your town soon, read it from the bottom up and spread the link around.

There’s a post near the top of the blog that refers one over to The York Daily Record site where an Argento article on the trial is published. One paragraph in that article (dated Oct. 25th) in particular caught my eye.

The bottom line of Fuller's testimony is that intelligent design as a science is not accepted because the rest of the scientists won't let it in their little club. It's as if the real scientists are the cool kids, smoking out behind the administration building at recess, and intelligent design is the geeky kid who isn't allowed to join them because he just isn't cool enough.

This reminded me (and sorry for the segue – but not much because by now you should know how my mind wanders around going ‘oooh, shiny’) of the whole Publish America philosophy about commercial publishers. “The elite don’t want you in their circle, they’re a clique you can’t break into, so we’re going to go out and champion the ‘real people’s’ right to be published authors. While we make a fortune off of you.

Yes, yes, PA, you’re David and Random House is Goliath. Sure. It doesn’t matter that what’s been written has fatal flaws (which doesn’t mean it’s not good – just that it’s not commercially marketable and that should be the standard for ‘published author’), that’s not the problem: it’s the clique keeping authors out of the clubhouse. *sigh*

Why is that kind of rhetoric so compelling to so many? Do people really, deep down, believe that stuff – at least for long? Are you really doing yourself any favors by taking a short cut? Standards are applied to promote trust in a product or person. If someone is licensed to be a doctor or a lawyer I’m not jealous of their elite clique. I’m glad that someone has validated that these folks have completed the education and training to provide me with what I need. And, if they mess up, there is a governance board that will take appropriate action. Likewise, when I want to read something, I like it to have been through some kind of editorial process.

Back to the ID discussion…the Dover trial is over as of yesterday and the Judge has the case. I’ve been affirmed in my perception, from reading Argento’s posts, that, bottom line, we’re dealing with a political problem. There are people determining what children learn that are not being held publicly accountable. There are people spending (and possibly earning) tax dollars that couldn't care less about the taxpayers – or their children, they have their personal agendas to promote. What will stop ID? Concerned citizens making sure that their school boards are under the intense, bright light of scrutiny about the textbooks and curricula they approve. I meant what I said above, where do I send my contribution to the campaigns of the opposition candidates??

Next post I’ll go back to being Dawno-lite…thanks for sticking around!


Jill said...

Thanks for blogging about this controversy. I really think people underestimate the effect cases like this have on the fiber of our society. (I know, sounds heavy, but I still believe it.)

Dawno said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Please, schools, let kids have interesting and contraversial discussions about origins -- in sociology class or religious education or history, but science classes need to teach critical thinking skills and prepare students who want careers in science for the rigors ahead.

emeraldcite said...

I've met a lot of people in my life and come to the conclusion that very little about this planet is intelligently designed.

My $.16 (adjusted for our current inflation rate with a base of two bits from 1950 according to the Department of Labor Statistics. Side Note: everyone uses, for some odd reason, the 1950s as some decade to harken to, which I find fairly odd because people tended to be more self-repressed with less liberties and completely unaware of what was going on in the rest of the world.)