The Corner

Re: Intelligent Design Poll

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.

Please note:

(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

Hypothesis.

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