With so many important things out there for open and honest debate, why are we (Americans) wasting time on proven scientific theory? As I'm sure you've heard, parents in a school district in Pennsylvania have mandated that a four paragraph statement be read by science teachers in biology class, saying that "intelligent design" is a legitimate alternative theory for the origin and evolution of life. Now there's a big court battle and it seems like all of America is debating something that isn't even worthy of debate (even The Daily Show did a whole week-long series of shows called "Evolution, Schmevolution").
It isn't worthy of debate because of one fact. "Intelligent design" isn't science, it's a belief. If you introduce the supernatural, or anything that can't be tested or proved into a theory, it isn't science. It's a belief that is perfectly OK for anyone to believe, but only science should be taught in public schools. The other thing that burns my ass about arguments for "intelligent design" is that people (purposefully or not) misunderstand and misuse the term "scientific theory" as meaning a "scientific guess." Kenneth R. Miller, the Brown University biology professor quoted in the article, has a more pithy explanation than I could give:
"Scientific theories are not hunches," he added. "When we say 'theory,' we mean a strong, overarching explanation that ties together many facts and enables us to make testable predictions."
Why are we wasting time on this? It almost feels like a distraction from more important stuff America should be arguing about - like why it is or isn't a good idea to buy a Bugaboo stroller? Where's The Daily Show expose about that!!
OK. I'm done. Sorry for the (kind of off topic) rant.
Pa. Case Is Newest Round in Evolution Debate [Washington Post]
15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense (A great .pdf file that's definitely worth a read.) [Scientific American via Boing Boing]