A reader: “Those results really gotta stick in Derb’s craw, eh? I’m sure
we’ll be hearing from him again very soon.”
Well, roger on your last there, buddy, but a yawn and a sigh on the other.
(1) The poll was not about Intelligent Design, which is a recently founded,
narrowly focused movement led by a small number of individuals, and should
not be confused with the notion that some sort of intelligent design is
operating in the universe. I am a conservative, but I am not a member of my
state’s Conservative Party.
(2) I don’t at all mind people believing in wacky pseudoscientific theories.
It adds to the gaiety of nations, far as I’m concerned. Like (I think) any
good conservative, I value character and spirit more highly than
intelligence and book learning, as I tried to express here.
Not everybody can know all about everything. There are lots of things I know
next to nothing about. This isn’t something anyone should mind. I’d prefer
my dentist to know all there is to know about dentistry; but if he wants to
go home at night and pray to Apollo, or the Great Manitou, or the spirit of
Elvis, I’m cool with it.
(3) I do, though, feel strongly about teaching pseudoscience to kids in
public school science classes. Science is a wonderful thing, and I hold it
in reverence, as one of the highest intellectual — and, in its humility and
collegiality, **moral** — creations of humanity. (I am speaking of the
body of science, not of individual scientists, any one of whom may of course
be arrogant, un-collegial, or immoral.) I’d like for kids, those who are
intellectually capable, to understand what science is and does (and isn’t,
and doesn’t). People like the Intelligent Design charlatans are poisoning
these pedagogic wells with unscientific nonsense, and ought to be tarred and
feathered and run out of town on rails.
(4) However, once you’ve graduated from high school, believe what you like.
It’s no business of mine, and I honestly don’t care.
I await with interest the coming poll on public beliefs about the Continuum