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Saturday, December 31, 2005

The year that was meant to be but didn’t

This was the year Intelligent Design (ID) made its push to get into the science classroom and Iraq was supposed to be the shining new example of democracy in the Middle East. Alas, the latest attempt at cloaking creationism by another named gibberish has encountered its first knock back by the US legal system in Pennsylvania. The court's decision is available here (pdf) for the interested.

Judge John E. Jones III declared that the school district's claim that I.D. is a scientifically valid alternative to evolution is simply wrong. "Intelligent design is nothing less than the progeny of creationism," he writes.

Salon has an in depth article titled Survival of the unfittest looking at the challenge from ID and its rise in mainstream culture. Thankfully the situation here doesn’t appear to be as bad as in the US with both Bush and the Pope joining the chorus.

A lot of people seek answers to complex systems with closed solutions rather than spending the effort required to critique and/or debunk one’s beliefs and maintain an open and sceptical mind. ID isn’t the first and will not be the last challenge to the sceptics amongst us. I was always in favour of teaching the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster alongside ID. So what’s going to happen to FSM now?

As Nassim Taleb writes, there are many Opiates of the middle classes needing debunking. Another supposed success was to be the spread of secular democracy in Iraq. While some sense of political self-governance has taken hold it’s hardly the resounding success it was meant to be. The US appears to have done a deal with the Sunni leadership but Iran is sabre rattling, so what's up?. IMO, the biggest questions in 2006 will be if Iraq slips into a civil war and how the US-Iran relationship will evolve. Meanwhile Juan Cole has a an excellent article titled Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005

See you in the next year and all hail


  • At 11:43 am AEDT, Blogger Ananthan said…

    In my boredom here at work I actually read the whole court decision. At points it's utterly ridiculous and unbelievable how the ID proponents acted. I really respect the judges ability to cut through bullshit though. He's written an incredibly thorough analysis of this specific case and the creation/evolution debate... makes for some interesting reading if you're trapped somewhere for a few hours.

    And Happy New Year

  • At 9:29 am AEDT, Blogger sittingnut said…

    both Bush and the Pope ? i think neither are proponents of id.

    id is rubbish i agree .

    however one should keep an open and skeptical mind about everything even 'science' as understood by most ppl..
    most ppl who are so eager to debunk id for instance have no idea about the big holes in theory of evolution, or for that matter in that most basic of sciences: physics.

    after all the whole universe is presently explained by two theories (general relativity and quantum mechanics) that are not only incompatible with each other but so weird (in the case of qm at least ) that when ppl work out the consequences (infinite number of parallel universes where infinite number of one's copies are going through the same life with small changes anyone?) it seems almost easy believe in heaven and hell.

  • At 11:08 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    Been away from the blog these days. Back now.

    ananthan - it's an intersting read. Happy 'belated' new year to you too.

    sittingnut - both bush and pope have expressed sympathetic views without qualification. also neither has said that it doesn't belong in the science classroom.

    open and skeptical indeed. many do not concider 'science' in the 'philosophy of science' and falsification sense either. sciences will always have "unknowns/holes" which need further seeking out and development of new paradigms


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