Friday, January 27, 2006

IDiots Downunder


Most of the rest of the West is relatively sane when it comes to religious mania. Members of the American Taliban tend to think that every Western nation is a besotted with Jesus as they are. Not so. And even those who consider themselves Christians are not of the fanatical brand that haunts American Protestantism.

It is true that fanatical cults exist in most Western nations. But these are usual imported from the nut groups in the US. American fundamentalists like their Saudi Islamic fundamentalists kin are spending vast sums of money to export their fanaticism around the world.

One example of this is the silly campaign for Intelligent Design (ID). Advocates of ID, or IDiots for short, are now trying to push this anti-science theory around the world. They have been smacked down repeatedly by the courts in the US, something George Bush is doing his best to remedy through his judicial appointments. But of course such silliness is restricted to the US alone.

Australian Denis Sutherland now reports that the anti-science teaching of US fundamentalism is cropping up in Australia as well. She reports that Campus Crusade for Christ has paid to send an IDiot DVD, “Unlocking the Mystery of Life: Intelligent Design” to every high school in Australia.

She reported that the IDiots from Campus Crusade met with the Federal Minister of Education. The Conservative government of Australia is a bit more Bushian than most Western governments. And this Minister is a Christian. While he said that IDiocy shouldn’t be taught as science but if the schools want to teach IDiocy as well then he doesn’t have “any difficulty with that.”

What a good idea? Now the schools can have classes that teach and other classes that unteach. If you can have a science class that teaches evolution and then another class that unteaches it why not do this across the board? In hygiene courses you can have witch doctors teach that diseases is caused by evil spirits not by germs and that hygiene is not important.

You can have courses that teach that 2 plus 2 does equal 4 and then have someone advocate the idea that numbers are meaningless and that nothing really adds up at all. Geography can show students a globe while Medievalists come in and teach a flat earth theory. Along with chemistry we can teach alchemy and along with astronomy teach astrology. Biology courses can concentrate on the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snowman and flying reindeers pulling sleighs.

At the university level it becomes a lot more fun. Along with anthropology classes we can have courses on how space aliens created the human race. In medical college we can teach prayer and advance faith healing along with acupuncture and the use of crystals. We can have the bottom-bouncers of TM come in and teach courses on international relations.

Now I respect the right of nutters to teach their kids nonsense. If the Greens can do it with their faith then fundamentalists ought to be able to do it with theirs. I just don’t think they belong in the government schools.

I also respect the idea of private education. I prefer that all education be private and I would urge secular, rational people to start private schools to compete. We need good quality, secular schools and government is a lousy way to provide it. Government does to school kids what it does to the mail. You spend a lot on both and in the end they are still slow.

But as long as government is providing certain “services” then those services should be restricted to those purposes. School are meant to educate students about basic things like math, reading, writing, science, history, etc. Stick to those core issues.

Some people argue that everyone has the right to teach their views in the government schools. No one believes that especially not the IDiots. They don’t want a lot of things taught in the schools. And if they had their way evolution would be out and only their creationists bull would be taught. They only demand equality because they can’t have dominance.

Now a hospital that is government financed offers medical care. As long as it is government financed that is all it ought to do. It should, for instance, be open to faith healing crusades or circus shows. Just because someone is forced to fund it doesn’t mean that the institution should be used for any purpose that any taxpayer, or group of taxpayers, may demand.

If a large number of tax wanted to use a hospital operating theater for seances it should not be allowed. If government provides a park that doesn’t mean people can turn it into a camping ground. If a group of people want to use the street to set up a series of shops they don’t have that right.

One problem with state ownership of anything is that competing groups can demand that the object, which they fund, be used for their purposes. But it can’t be used for an unlimited series of projects at the same time. So until privatized it ought to be used for the function for which it was created. Parks are not camp grounds, hospitals are not meeting halls, schools are not churches.

2 Comments:

Blogger knightontherock said...

Interesting.

Intelligent design is not really science, if anything it is inferring things from physical evidence, that is, that there is an intelligent designer. Whilst the process of inferring from evidence is scientific, the conclusions drawn from the ID lobby are not, lets say, free of religious connotation.

Are you familiar with intelligetn design? Have you grappled with the Cambrian Explosion, and the vast numbers of unlikely events that life has crossed that does infer intelligent design?

Will a comet crashing into North America randomly create New York City, complete with sewers, electrical systems and street signs? That's the kind of chances that proteins in a pool of amino acids would randomly create the simplest autonomous cell. It is puzzling, but I agree, not really the sort of thing for the science class room per se.

March 11, 2006

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

You mention the "vast numbers of unlikely events that life has crossed thatdoes infer intelligent design."

Did you ever consider that exactly those kinds of vast number of unlikely events happen every single day billions of times over. A few months ago I was in London. I rode the tube. Nothing odd. Thousands of people were on the tube at that very time as well. No one compelled them to be there or planned it. The people were literally from all over the world. Major sequences of events in each of their lives brought them all to that spot, at that exact time. One minute sooner that combination did not exist. A few seconds later it would not exist. But for that second that unique, astomically unlikely, combination of people all appeared on the tube at that exact time. What would the chances be of all the events that made that happen. Billions and billions and billions to one, especially if you tried to project that combination 1 year ago or 10 years ago.

But one second later another impossibly improbable combination of events brought another huge number of people together on the tube at the exact time. And a second later it happened again. It happens every second of the day, day in and ay out and has for years. Combine all of that together and the net result is that mathematically we would say that the exact combination of people who have been on the tube in all the incidents, taking place exactly as they did wwould be impossible. No vast number of unlikely events could possibly cause it to happen. So is this the result of Intelligent Design? The tube itself,yes, but not the impossible combinations of people who ride upon it every second of the day.

March 11, 2006

 

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