Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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To quote myself…

May 31st, 2005 · No Comments · Politics, Rants

As a follow-up to the earlier post about the Intelligent Design film playing at the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium, here are a few things I posted in a discussion on the TMoL boards:

[Responding to a post about the Smithsonian's "appeasement" of ID supporters]

It’s not a matter of appeasement so much as it’s a matter of “dealing with those idiots isn’t worth my time and this makes them go away FASTER.”

Anyone dumb enough to fall for Intelligent Design in the first place is probably WELL beyond the Smithsonian’s ability to educate, regardless of the “stand” they may or may not take on the issue. As such, trying to resist something as trivial as a private viewing of a goofy film by some atavistic whackos would be a MASSIVE waste of effort, time and resources.

In the end, the important facts are these:

1) The press received by the ID partisans has been minimized by taking away the only real tool they’ve ever had - whining.
2) Their movie will be seen by a closed, private audience made up entirely of people the “Discovery Institute” selected for invitation - not exactly a bold stride by their “theory” into the inquiring minds of the undecided.
3) The Smithsonian has pocketed $16,000 from this that - by their rather overt admission - will be specifically used for proper, scientific study.

It’s less a slippery slope in support of ID than it is a sublimely well-executed bit of diffusal and deflection by the Smithsonian, turning a potentially troublesome incident into a fairly significant gain by the very forces the film’s producers clearly sought to assail in the first place.

If only ALL of the Intelligent Design folks’ “victories” could work out as such amusing failures in the long run.

And my thoughts on the problem posed by ID itself:

The problem isn’t that people believe that God invented evolution or that He crapped the Cosmos into existence six minutes ago and has tricked us all with an elaborate mass delusion or that dinosaurs are actually made of spongecake and bunny tears. It isn’t even a problem that they’re claiming that evolution is wrong (and don’t believe the double talk from ID supporters who claim they have no beef with evolution).

The problem is that ID advocates are trying to shoehorn entirely untestable stuff they pulled out of thin air without a shred of evidence beyond hunches into the realm of science. In science, you don’t respond to a lack of evidence by making shit up and seeing if folks are willing to buy it. You respond by establishing the requirements and facts needed to answer the question so that if and when you DO find new evidence you have the ability to verify or disprove it. It is perfectly acceptable to say “we don’t know.” It is NOT acceptable to say “we don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that this random idea COULD work.”

ID works fine in a number of contexts - philosophy, theology, metaphysics, sociology, psychology. It has a very definite place in each of those fields (either as a specific theory or as a subject for consideration), but it is absolutely NOT scientific and anyone trying to place it in the realm of science is entirely off-base.

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