Intelligent Design and Global Warming Catastrophism

Marmoe’s Questions: #1

MarmoeMarmoe asked a number of questions; the answers got long:

Can we both agree that ID is not science and should not be taught as if it were science?

Almost. Intelligent Design ((ID) is actually packaged as science; it’s just not good, well-supported science. To achieve its ends, ID folks hide some data and exaggerate others, and leap to some evidently wrong conclusions based upon what they’ve got.

To me, Intelligent Design is very much like the current global warming catastrophism.

It is distinct from young-Earth creationism, which does not rely on science per se. The analogy in the climate arena can be found in two opposite positions that are equally unfounded scientifically: that humans are too puny to possibly affect the planet, and that humans are an evil blight on the planet that must be removed.

A number of global warming opponents have expressed the former view, and the latter view is being touted by catastrophists and appears on national television documentaries in the United States and apparently in Europe as well. Neither one is science; they’re based upon preconceived convictions rather than evidence.

For the former, “too puny” folks, the evidence is clear that humans have effects: Cities raise temperatures, agricultural changes can raise or lower them. We do produce a lot of smoke, CO2, and other materials. These things have local effects and can be picked up globally in some cases; the issue is quantifying them and understanding their significance within the Earth’s natural negative-feedback mechanisms.

For the “humans are an evil blight” folks who like to write books and put on television shows talking about how quickly the planet will “heal” from the “cancer” that is humanity (in shows and books like “After We’re Gone,” “The World Without Us,” and “Life After People”), the issue is more philosophical. If you don’t believe in any sort of Creator, through any mechanism, then you must accept that Man is part of Nature, just as much as any other part.

Robert Heinlein and the Naturists

I’m reminded of an old Heinlein quote:

There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who “love Nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature'”. The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature” – but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers’ purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race – i.e., his own self-hatred.

In the case of “Naturists” such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate.

As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women – it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly “natural”.

Believe it or not, there were “Naturists” who opposed the first flight to old Earth’s Moon as being “unnatural” and a “despoiling of Nature”.

If it does good for humans, it must be bad, many think. Thus, even solar and wind and geothermal power become evil to the extent that they appear to work. A topic for a different day.

Intelligent Design is science, sort of, but done badly (relying on real science and a fair amount of fudged data) and not supportable. So, too, the “global warming is going to destroy the Earth unless you put us in charge” folks are doing science, but badly.

Back to Rick Perry

Just in case it’s not clear from the above, I think that Rick Perry is misguided — wrong, to put it bluntly — to insist that Texas introduce Intelligent Design as science in the classroom. This puts him at about 80% right, and 20% wrong, in his policy approaches in my estimation.

This compares favorably with President Obama, who is about 10% right and 90% wrong on his policy approaches. If the choice is between the two, which seems likely, I’ll happily take Rick Perry. His wrong choice her does less harm to the country.

At least the United States doesn’t have the plethora of creationism-teaching schools that have spread across religiously dominated areas of the world. Like Europe:

In 2007 many schools in Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland received copies of Atlas of Creation, written by the Turkish Islamic preacher Adnan Oktar (who goes by the name Harun Yahya) and “is very influential in the Muslim parts of the European societies,” Graf says. The majority of Muslims in Germany believe in intelligent design and/or creationism, Graf notes. And as Islamic populations in Western countries increase, more scholars are taking an interest in the status of evolution education in Muslim-majority countries.

Islam is spreading Young Earth creationism across Europe.

A trivia bit: Years ago, I debated Adnan Oktar (“Harun Yahya”) on the topic of creationism. After several rounds, he disappeared. So, perhaps I won by default.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • http://en.gravatar.com/pascvaks Pascvaks

    FWIW – I guess I can say I’m an Old Man (in more ways than one;-). In the matter of years, I’m a very young 63; but there’s no telling if I’ll see 64, so I may be older than I think I am. Since before I can remember –I can only vaguely remember something my mother told me that I was 3 when it happened– I know I was “taught” about God. He’s been a part of my life all along. He’s always changing. Or…… is it me? I guess I really should say He hasn’t changed a bit. But I sure have.

    I don’t think we should lock ourselves into any straightjackets. Even when it comes to God. And I definitely think each of us has all the brains we need to figure out what’s true or not about God; we don’t need priests, rabiis, mullahs, shamen, monks, or witchdoctors. If you use God to help you explain all the mysteries of the Universe and Life that we don’t know the answers to, I think that’s great. I do.

    PS: One more thing, people have been wrong about many things in the past 6 million years. It really doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong at any given point in time. The only thing that’s important is what you think. That’s all that matters anyway. And no one has any right to tell you differently.