What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 2, 2011

Tracking Teh Crazie - Michele Bachmann on Evolution

Well here's a new argument (new to me, at least) from the anti-science crazies.  By insisting that science teachers teach science the guv'ment is again eroding some on our God-given liberties.

From the Des Moines Register:
Bachmann’s position on intelligent design was tested in a series of questions from the audience.

While emphasizing that she didn’t have a platform position on the issue – since she believed it wasn’t something the federal government and president should be involved in – Bachmann said her religious beliefs informed her scientific views and that sufficient questions have been raised concerning evolution to justify alternative theories to be discussed in science classes.

“I do believe that God created the earth and I believe that there are issues that need to be addressed – the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the issue of irreducible complexity, the dearth of fossil record,” she said. “Those are all very real issues that should be addressed in science classes.”

Not allowing ideas like intelligent design to be discussed in science classes amounted to government censorship, she said.

“I think the one thing we do not want to have is censorship by government,” she said. “Government shouldn’t be dictating what information goes on the table.” [emphasis added.]
Crooks and Liars has some more:
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says schools should teach children about evolution and intelligent design because "the best thing to do is to allow all scientific facts on the table."

During a question-and-answer session at the University of Northern Iowa Wednesday, Bachmann was asked if intelligent design should be taught as science in public schools.

"I think that all science should be on the table," the candidate explained. "I think the one thing we do not want to have is censorship by government."

"I do believe that God created the Earth," she continued. "And I believe there are issues that need to be addressed -- the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the issue of irreducible complexity, the dearth of fossil record."
Couple problems with this argument.

First it assumes that there are indeed facts swirling within the intelligent design "theory" so therefore it is somehow a "science."  And second, all three reasons Bachmann listed to doubt evolution (Second Law of Thermodynamics, irreducible complexity and the fossil record) in no way conflict with evolution.

Let's take a look at the most general outline of ID (Intelligent Design).  It asserts that an intelligent designer designed the universe - a designer, by definition, who is outside of the universe.  But science can only deal with the stuff inside the universe.  Once one has injected an intelligent designer into the argument one has effectively left science.

On Bachmann's other arguments, Crooks and Liars has some science/rational thinking in response:
According to many scientists, all three issues Bachmann mentioned do not discount the theory of evolution.

Scientific American's Steve Mirsky wrote in 2005 that arguing irreducible complexity as evidence against evolution was a "full-blown intellectual surrender strategy."

While Charles Darwin cited a lack of fossil records as "the most obvious and serious objection that can be urged against the theory," University of Chicago professor Jerry Coyne believes the objection is no longer valid.

"Since 1859, paleontologists have turned up Darwin's missing evidence: fossils in profusion, with many sequences showing evolutionary change," Coyne explained in a 2005 article.

And University of Minnesota, Morris associate professor PZ Myers says the claim that the Second Law of Thermodynamics makes evolution false is "one of the oldest canards in the creationists' book."
None of this, of course, will matter to the anti-science crowd.

Teh Crazie - evolutionary style.


EdHeath said...

Good post, very well researched and complete.

I gotta say, I almost think you could have stopped at "Bachmann said her religious beliefs informed her scientific views". Evangelicals, among the religious, strike me as particularly disdainful of science where it conflicts with the ... um ... historical record of the bible. I may not be educated or even smart enough to understand some parts of science, even some of the discussion of entropy versus evolution in your link to PZ Myers article. But I believe he is, and that other biologists and physicists are, and I am willing to take their word that evolution does not conflict with entropy.

But what's funny to me is that Bachmann is willing to accept that it is God's plan for everything to go to entropy, but rejects evolution. Why would God decide to destroy us, whom He made in His image? Did we do something wrong (I thought Jesus said "I got this covered"). I suppose if the rapture occurs, then it would be OK and even appropriate for the remaining non-believers (essentially all Catholics, non-evangelical/born again Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, pantheists, agnostics and of course atheists) to sink into entropy, while the Chosen are in heaven (where physical laws are directly controlled by Him) are laughing at the rest of us.

I guess Pascal's wager would not be enough. As Robert Jeffress says, it is not enough to be a good, moral man (or woman).

Elliot Kennel said...

The de facto result of all this nonsense is that teachers elect to skip the subject altogether. So if people want to pass new laws either mandating a certain teaching or banning it, what sort of punishment will these actions carry?

Perhaps a ban on critical thinking is what these people really want.

Hopefully my kids will learn somehow to think for themselves, because they will be exposed to crackpots like Rep. Bachmann in the future.

rich10e said...

hi eduardo