Thursday, November 10, 2005

Democrats need to come out of the closet on creationism

What is Democratic party policy on including intelligent design in the classroom? As far as I can tell there isn't one. I wasn't even able to find any national party leaders who have gone on record on the issue other than Howard Dean, and it is unclear to what extent, if any, he was speaking for the party. What Dean said (in August) was a good start
But the truth of the matter is, intelligent design is a religious perception and a religious precept. That's fine. That should be taught wherever religion is taught, if that's the desire of those people who are religious. Science is science. There's no factual evidence for intelligent design.
Now the good news yesterday in Dover was that 8 candidates who backed evolution threw out all the creationist incumbents on the school board. And the pro-evolution winners had all run as Democrats and won despite the fact that the district itself is heavily Republican. All very encouraging. But where is the national party? As far as I can tell, there was no comment on this or on the disastrous intelligent design victory in Kansas the same day. A search of google and various newspaper and congressional databases for "democrat" and "intelligent design" turned up nothing relevant but silence.

As obsessed as Democrats are about polling and triangulation, I suspect that they are afraid that it might hurt them at the ballot box to stand up for science, given that a majority of Americans apparently favor teaching creationism/intelligent design alongside evolution in science classes. However, this is clearly a case in which pandering to public ignorance involves abandoning the reality-based view of the world. And if you abandon that, then the theocrats have already won.

Besides, the victory of the Democrats in the Dover school board election indicates that if the issue is properly framed and intelligently discussed, there is at least a chance that the majority will realize that keeping science education scientific is in everyone's interest.

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Noam Chomsky on Malignant Design
...the background of the current evolution/intelligent design controversy is the widespread rejection of science, a phenomenon with deep roots in American history that has been cynically exploited for narrow political gain during the last quarter-century. Intelligent Design raises the question whether it is intelligent to disregard scientific evidence about matters of supreme importance to the nation and world — like global warming...

In our time, the Bush administration’s hostility to scientific inquiry puts the world at risk. Environmental catastrophe, whether you think the world has been developing only since Genesis or for eons, is far too serious to ignore...Perhaps only the word "malignant" could describe a failure to acknowledge, much less address, the all-too-scientific issue of climate change. Thus the "moral clarity" of the Bush administration extends to its cavalier attitude toward the fate of our grandchildren.
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And Jesus's General has a new map of Kansas.

And One Good Move has a hilarious video clip of Pat Robertson calling down the wrath of god on the residents of Dover for voting the creationists off of the school board. Over the top even for mad Pat. Pharyngula comments in Thugs for God.

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