News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Does Intelligent Design Threaten Democracy?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Does Intelligent Design Threaten Democracy?

The following article, somewhat tongue in cheek, provides an ahteist/unitarian view into what's wrong politically with "intelligent design." Along the way to "proving his thesis, the author provides some intertesting facts that are put together in a bit of a Rohrschach of liberal paranoia... or is it?
The Imperial City
Backward, Christian Soldiers!

Why must intelligent design be stopped? Because this—God forbid—could be the moment when the theocratization of America makes a real advance.

By Kurt Andersen

Will the Yankees win the pennant and the World Series? Don’t know, don’t really much care. It’s the same with religion: I just don’t get it. There may be a God or—I was raised Unitarian—an oversoul or divine oneness of creation, but I have no conviction one way or the other, nor any itch to shuck off my uncertainty in favor of either atheism or firm belief.

I realize I’m a freak, entirely out of step with the mainstream. According to the polling data, about 5 percent of Americans say they don’t believe in God, and only another 5 percent—my 5 percent—aren’t sure. But almost the whole other 90 percent subscribe to some flavor of (Christian) faith—most of those say that the Bible is literally true, and a good 30 percent believe that it was dictated by God.

And whether they are strict scriptural literalists or not, a huge supermajority of Americans believe in—what else to call it?—magic: 61 percent think the world was created in six days, 70 to 78 percent say that hell and the Devil and angels exist, 81 to 85 percent believe in Heaven. If opinion polling had existed in the Middle Ages, it’s hard to imagine that the numbers would have been much higher.

For practical reasons—reasons both of politics and civility—it ordinarily behooves our tiny minority of reality-based infidels to keep quiet about our astonishment that most of our fellow citizens are in thrall to fantastic medieval fever dreams, just as it behooves secular minorities in Islamic countries to keep their modern sentiments to themselves. In countries like ours, the Iraqs and Afghanistans and USAs, liberals need to pick their battles. . . . . .

So now my interest in the outcome of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District—the federal trial of a lawsuit over a Pennsylvania school system’s embrace of intelligent design—is intense. Dover is close, only two hours beyond Philadelphia. Instead of rooting for Derek Jeter this fall, every joule of my home-team passion is going to the heroic team of dissenters in Dover—not just Tammy Kitzmiller and her ten fellow parents who filed suit, but Bertha Spahr and her six fellow teachers who declined to go along with the school board’s crypto-Christian meddling in their science curriculum.

This is the anti-evolution disclaimer the Dover teachers were ordered to read to their ninth-grade classes before they could teach evolution: “Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. . . . Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. . . . Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view.” In a letter to the school superintendent explaining their refusal, the teachers at one point became especially emphatic: “INTELLIGENT DESIGN,” they wrote, caps lock on, “IS NOT SCIENCE. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BIOLOGY. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT AN ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC THEORY.” . . . .

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