Thursday, April 30, 2009

Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design: An idea whose very name proves there is a God, and that He is hilarious

Originally, I was just going to start this post with "Creationism is fucking retarded," but decided that maybe I was being a little unfair. There’s no reason that someone can’t believe that the earth was created in six days, or that dinosaurs may have existed at the same time as humans, or even just that humans have no relationship whatsoever to monkeys — no, that’s cool, enjoy believing that... just as long as I’m allowed to believe that my overdeveloped leg muscles permit me to run through time, solving mysteries and helping the lonely find love. Worship however you like.

The part that pains me in the pants is where people want to refer to their religious beliefs as "science," and teach the things they believe in our public school science classes. That shit burns me up — at a time when we’re singing the blues about China’s and India’s industrial and technological ascent, and the bleeding off of our jobs to foreign countries, a time when we are as a country so completely undereducated — we’re now officially trying to teach less science in science classes. That way, high school graduates will know — and care - about less shit than ever before.

Read about the Kansas department of education hearings. They are actually debating whether or not science classes should include "alternatives" to evolution that "look at all the evidence," and let the "chips fall where they may." I put these snippets in "quotes," because "all" of them were "actually said by people."

Yes yes, it’s so completely unfair. We are being persecuted, they wail. Asshole scientists, elitists who require observation and the gathering of evidence in order to prove their outrageous theories, are pissed at the notion of introducing pure, 200 proof fairy-tale bullshit into their science courses and have had no choice but to unleash stinging clouds of unbridled facts into the faces of their adversaries.

OK seriously though — Intelligent Design? Did you really think that people would let you get away with this shit? "Oh, it’s not creationism, see, it’s Intelligent Design, which is different on account of the words in the name." Listen, I’m not saying it’s insane to want to talk about creation, at least not in the same way that chocolate-covered calamari would be insane; but I am saying that philosophy is more the venue for this. Right? It’s the only wide open place for discussions about how it all started, why we’re all here, and how you are responsible for the murder if you witness it and don’t prevent it and modus motherfuckin’ ponens. But not in the science classes, dammit, because you can’t prove a single fucking thing about Creationism, and public school science is supposed to teach kids how to learn about their world through observation and gathering evidence.

And don’t even fucking try and throw the Founding Fathers at me either (In these Church/State arguments, The Founding Fathers are like a pistol sitting on a bar stool between two opponents, each of them flailing to grab it before the other one does), because I own you with that shit. This is so clearly one of the main reasons the Founding Fathers would have pressed for church/state separation; too many of them had a notion of what it was like to be on the ass end of the official State church, and would want there to be as little endorsement or incorporation of faith in government as possible.

Anyway, I get pretty pissed off about it. You should read a little bit about this, it’ll piss you off too. Read both sides — science and creationism – see if you notice anything different about how the two sides argue. One side requires that claims be backed up with evidence while the other side requires belief; creationists attempt to divert debates away from arguing points of evidence, instead appealing to emotional and philosophical triggers. And in some places, unbelievably, that has provent to be an effective way to subvert public policy.

Michigan is looking to pass a law that allows doctors to refuse treatment to someone because they are gay. Some nice pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception. Where do these people get the sac to disgrace their professions, take away the ability of adult citizens to decide about their own lives and then run away from the tougher, more mature ethical responsibilities that someone with their job carries? Faith, that’s where.

Despite my ballbreaking, I really have nothing against the notion of God, religion, or spirituality. I have my own questions, and my own internal debate about matters of spirit and universe and all that fooferaw. The shit that scares me is the fact that people of extreme faith, people who need to take some aspects of their beliefs literally, are extremely easy people to manipulate and almost impossible to reason with. Sorry, but it’s true. Pat Robertson continuously says the most odious, hateful shit you are likely to hear on a mainstream news show. But so what? His viewers consider him to be the closest guy to God, so he knows he can say whatever the fuck and they’ll be right there on the couch where he left ‘em. People like Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, they don’t fuck around. They want as many people — poorly educated but deeply religious — as possible, and they’re working pretty hard at making "faith-based" society a reality.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins:

A delusion that encourages belief where there is no evidence is asking for trouble. Disagreements between incompatible beliefs cannot be settled by reasoned argument because reasoned argument is drummed out of those trained in religion from the cradle. Instead, disagreements are settled by other means which, in extreme cases, inevitably become violent. Scientists disagree among themselves but they never fight over their disagreements. They argue about evidence or go out and seek new evidence. Much the same is true of philosophers, historians and literary critics.

But you don’t do that if you just know your holy book is the God-written truth and the other guy knows that his incompatible scripture is too. People brought up to believe in faith and private revelation cannot be persuaded by evidence to change their minds. No wonder religious zealots throughout history have resorted to torture and execution, to crusades and jihads, to holy wars and purges and pogroms, to the Inquisition and the burning of witches.

[Note: I realize that the rambling, sputtering post above is a shabby example of dilapidated B’Afflesque prose, but I don’t care and I’m not changing it. ]