Aussie Miasma

The boring assemblage of a boring life from Sydney, Australia.

21 October 2005

Science talk!

Delaney says a number of Aust scientists have written to express their 'grave concern' that 'intelligent design' might be taught in schools. He speaks to Mike Archer, who says ID is a new phrase for creationism. It is aptly described as 'creationism in a tuxedo'. He says it is an attempt by the religious right, from the US, to try and get religion to replace or undermine science understanding in the community because they feel it threatens their religion and belief systems. He says Austs are more rational and clear-headed than the average American. Delaney agrees but is 'worried about the future'. He says it is easy to say that they're promoting an alternative scientific theory to evolution in school but in fact it is not science at all. Archer says the structure is really a religious belief system. The model that whatever science cannot explain is a work of God is not a satisfactory thing to do - it is in fact a violation of the logical argument called 'false dichotomy'. He says some of the examples put forward by intelligent designers 'smack of ignorance'. He says many of the examples are not as they claim 'irreducibly complex'. Delaney says by its nature, a fact or belief is not real by its very nature. The religionists point out that evolution is itself a theory that requires faith and therefore only as valid as intelligent design. Archer says that point is built on a misunderstanding of what is going on in science. He says evolution is not a theory but a model, comprised of thousands of theories. Delaney and Archer discuss the creation of the universe by way of water and snowflakes. Organic molecules have 'a compulsive need to bond into more complex structures'. Delaney asks if this violates 'the natural principle of entropy' (the second law of thermodynamics). Archer says that Isaac Newtown's argument was only for a an enclosed system - evolution takes place in an open system 'driven by the engine of solar energy'. There is nothing to violate the second law. Delaney asks if anything in science disproves religion. Archer points to 'theistic evolution', the variant taken by the Catholic and other mainstream churches - that God created the methods of science. No scientist nor creationist can disprove this point. God could have used evolution as a method of creation. He says creationists come unstuck because of their Biblical literalism. He says it is important to separate science and religion as they are apples and oranges. He says science doesn't involve a belief in absolutes. It is in fact always vulnerable to change - its ideas are always liable to being thrown out if disproved by testing. He says it is a self-checking process. He says intelligent design may be theologically questionable too.


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