Thursday, August 25, 2005

When ID-iots Attack

Intelligent Design proponents, a.k.a. “ID folks” [Hey, can we call them ID-iots?  I swear I just thought that up, but it has probably been used plenty  –ed.]  jump on any gap in the data or currently-unexplained phenomenon and hold it up as proof of science’s failings, even though that which is unexplained is the driving force and the source of science’s ever-expanding quest for knowledge and understanding.  Scientists find themselves on the defensive and are starting to keep their mouths shut because any such admission of uncertainty of will be taken out of context and used to undermine their research, or at least suck them into some bogus notion that there is, in actuality, a “controversy”

In their efforts to appear bias-free, most of the media gingerly cover the Intelligent Design controversy (I won't dignify it by calling it a debate) and will rarely fail to call ID proponents to task on the incredibly-obvious tactics being used.  For one, they are not held to any standards at all and can thus attempt to discredit rock-solid Theories without offering any sort of competing theory of any merit.  Science has to stand up to rigorous, even ruthless peer-review on a continuous basis, so scientists should be well-equipped to handle genuine skepticism and use it to refine and hone theories as new data becomes available.  However, in an environment dominated by those who fail to live in or even grasp the most basic scientific principles of the so-called “reality-based” Universe, all bets are off.   If someone really believes that the surface of the moon is made of cheese, and angels on your bumper prevent accidents, can you really effectively disabuse them of that notion by showing them spectroscopic data or traffic fatality reports?

Even worse, since advanced theories by their very nature require more detailed, often complicated explanations (which some scientists are all-too-happy to provide, which quickly overwhelms the layperson), after which the ID-iots throw their hands up in a triumphant shrug—“Such complexity obviously has to have come from some “Designer.”  The anti-science coalition has struck gold with the Bush Administration in power.  Science that supports their rampant pro-Corporation/Right-wing religious values/anti-environmental policies are freely quoted, while that which goes against it merely disappears from government reports, websites etc. (and the people who did the latter science find themselves out of jobs alongside those who tried to publish it).

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