23 January 2006

Orson Scott Card defends ID

Go read his article first.

Done yet? Good.

Below, for ease of formatting, his words are in italics and mine are normal.

1. Intelligent Design is just Creation Science in a new suit (name-calling).

It's not name-calling, it's pointing out that we've already had this argument and won it. There's no reason to fight the same battle again. Even lobsters know that, why can't creationists figure it out?

But the problems that the Designists raise with the Darwinian model are, in fact, problems.

And there were a lot of problems with Newtonian physics, so we came up with quantum and GR, we didn't throw it out entirely.

The irony is that there are plenty of Darwinists who are perfectly good writers, capable of explaining the science to us well enough to show us the flaws in the Designists' arguments. The fact that they refuse even to try to explain is, again, a confession that they don't have an answer.

The irony is that you already had this material in grades 5-8. The fact that you refused to learn it is, again, a confession that rational discussion will not produce an answer.

4. They got some details of those complex systems wrong, so they must be wrong about everything (sniping).

This is how science works. If the underpinnings of your idea are faulty, the idea itself cannot be accepted. If it were minor details, then the idea should be revised instead. Meanwhile, IDers are doing the exact same thing by claiming that the flaws they find in evolution mean that the entire theory should be thrown out.

They freely admit that evolution obviously takes place, that simple organisms were followed by more complex ones.

Oh really? That's new to me.

7. Even if there are problems with the Darwinian model, there's no justification for postulating an "intelligent designer" (true). ... Science is simply unsuited to studying God. ... So when the answer to the question "why does this natural phenomenon occur?" is "because God wants it that way," then science simply has nothing to add to the conversation.

This is the only good stuff Card says in his argument, and it's a shame that he focused on the other stuff earlier in his article and name-called "Darwinism" a religion. My students can see that the "why" of it all is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. Scientists DO NOT address the "why," and that is all we are trying to uphold in the schools, that we not have anything addressing the "why" taught in classrooms as science. If there are other extremist scientists who say to accept it just because they say evolution's true, I have yet to see them. I never tell someone they're incapable of understanding it. What I do tell them is as much as I personally understand about evolution, and that in order to have more detail, they should take a course on evolution.

It's a shame Card had to go and write this article, I used to respect him for his Sci-Fi writing. He should've stuck to that. In the end, all the article is is a defense of all the bad stereotypes about evolutionary biologists, and a poorly formed defense of the bad stereotypes about IDers.

Links:

4 comments:

Thomas Siefert said...

I'm surprised and saddened, seeing Orson Scott Card write stuff like this.

zandperl said...

Thomas:
Some of what he said was good, but too much of it isn't. From what I saw in one of the discussions though, he has written similar things on religious-related topics previously. It's a shame.

utenzi said...

I don't understand the surprise. OS Card is very religious so he's got an axe to grind in that regard. Just because he's a talented writer doesn't mean that he's going to be free of biases.

zandperl said...

I either didn't know or entirely forgot. *shrug* I usually assume everyone is the same as myself unless I see specific evidence to the contrary. Principle of mediocrity and all that.

It occasionally leads to frustration on my point when I am forced to acknowledge that not everyone is a science dweeb such as myself, but I'm sure they feel the same when I ask things like "it's legal for states to suceede from the US, right?"