Life is a cup of tea

I have been vaguely following the Intelligent Design court case in the US. It should be noted that in 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public-school science classes was an unconstitutional blurring of church and state. But the current issue centers on this:

Last year, the school board in Dover, a small rural school district near Harrisburg, mandated a brief disclaimer before pupils are taught about evolution. They are to be told that “The theory [of evolution] is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence.â€? And that if they wish to investigate the alternative theory of “intelligent designâ€?, they should consult a book called “Of Pandas and Peopleâ€? in the school library.

Eleven parents, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, two lobby groups, are suing to have the disclaimer dropped. Intelligent design, they say, is merely a clever repackaging of creationism, and as such belongs in a sermon, not a science class.

In my view that is exactly what intelligent design is – cleverly repackaged creationism.

Kenneth Miller, the author of a popular biology textbook and the plaintiffs’ first witness, said that, to his knowledge, every major American scientific organisation with a view on the subject supported the theory of evolution and dismissed the notion of intelligent design. As for “Of Pandas and Peopleâ€?, he pronounced that the book was “inaccurate and downright false in every sectionâ€?.

And on the subject of tea:

To illustrate the difference between scientific and religious “levels of understandingâ€?, Mr Haught asked a simple question. What causes a kettle to boil? One could answer, he said, that it is the rapid vibration of water molecules. Or that it is because one has asked one’s spouse to switch on the stove. Or that it is “because I want a cup of tea.â€? None of these explanations conflicts with the others. In the same way, belief in evolution is compatible with religious faith: an omnipotent God could have created a universe in which life subsequently evolved.

It makes no sense, argued the professor, to confuse the study of molecular movements by bringing in the “I want teaâ€? explanation. That, he argued, is what the proponents of intelligent design are trying to do when they seek to air their theory—which he called “appalling theologyâ€?—in science classes.






3 responses to “Life is a cup of tea”

  1. Zoomape avatar

    That is a brilliant illustration that I will etch into my mind and trot out 3 dozen times before Christmas when dealing with the travesty that is the literal reading of Genesis.

    Thanks Spud. Glad you have the appetite for this particularly depressing low-point in popular American culture.

  2. Paul avatar

    You can watch a kettle boil, it can be boiled in the present & can be observed by scientist & lay people alike. That is science in opperation. But
    we can’t watch the big bang happen, because thats in the past & can’t be observed, we could suppose it happened because the universe is expanding, but to state that there was some kind of original explosion is an assumption, it is outside of operational science as nobody has observed it happen. So both Darwinism & the intelligent design movement are flawed, A) because Darwinism assumes man evolved from a scum pond, even though he no scientist observed this & B) the I.D. movement won’t tell us who the creator is.

    So were left with pure creationism, because God the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit were there to create the world & they observed it happen & thats why Genesis is going to make a big come back,

    God Bless,


  3. stingerman avatar

    Darwinism is a dead debunked theory. It is impossible for an educated person to believe that such complexity and design could just appear.

    As a computer scientist, I have to admire the great design and coding that went into the development of living creatures. The abstraction and reuse of genetic code and how regulators uniquely implement the various classes that make up our genetic frameworks in differing biological creatures.

    How could anyone with an understanding of genetics and computer science not believe in an intelligent designer. Evolution is just stupid.