Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Letter to Matt Miller

Matt Miller
c/o KCRW
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Mr. Miller,

I am writing to you because of the Left, Right & Center broadcast of August 5, 2005, on which you appeared to defend the teaching of Intelligent Design by asking, “Why is it wrong, because it’s not irreconcilable to me, if you’re talking about the origins of life, which is I think this is what it’s about, to talk about to our children, which we’d say at home anyway and in school, that while evolution is the best understanding we have now that science has given us, of how we evolved, that there are still many people who think that the original matter and life that got here, was something from God? That’s what I believe. And I don’t find those things irreconcilable at all.”

That is all perfectly true and unobjectionable, but it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design. To break it down:

“Evolution is the best understanding we have now that science has given us.” That is ideally what we teach now. That is not what Intelligent Design advocates want schoolchildren to be taught. They want to teach schoolchildren that the Darwinian understanding of evolution is wrong, or at least highly dubious and much debated by mainstream biologists.

“There are still many people who think that the original matter and life that got here, was something from God.” This too is what we teach now and I don’t think anyone objects to it. This fact is well-covered in history, literature, and social studies classes. It is hard to imagine anyone graduating from public school without knowing this to be true.

Some things that we don’t or shouldn’t teach in public school biology class are, “Life probably came from God,” “Matter probably came from God,” and, “There are strong scientific objections to the theory of evolution.” The first two are unconstitutional advocacy of certain religions, the second one is outside the scope of biology, and the third one isn’t true.

If we teach Intelligent Design in schools, then on what basis should we exclude Transcendental Meditation, or any other theory which suspiciously resembles a religious belief, but which has a few Ph.D. adherents who like to characterize it as scientific? It may be that either Intelligent Design or Transcendental Meditation advocates are really valiant Galileos, who will one day be vindicated by history. But I think that they should have to win over the mainstream scientific community before we let them take their case to K-12 classrooms.

Regards,
Richard Mason

4 Comments:

At 6:06 AM, August 11, 2005, Blogger Jordan said...

Transcendental Meditation? I think we should let the kids decide.

 
At 12:29 PM, August 11, 2005, Blogger Ashbloem said...

Bravo. I hope you really sent this to KCRW.

 
At 3:21 PM, August 11, 2005, Blogger Joe said...

Great post, and not just because I now know what to do when I'm lonely.

 
At 8:01 AM, August 24, 2005, Blogger Richard Mason said...

No reply from Matt Miller. But he probably has an unanswerable mountain of fan mail, like Ringo Starr.

 

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