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exploring how the world works and why it works that way …

Of time, science, evolution … and ID?

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Having been trained as a geologist, I have some sense of the immensity of geologic time. In today’s New York Times, op-ed columnist Verlyn Klinkenborg offers the view that “[n]early every attack on evolution – whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution – ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time.”

Klinkenborg’s argument is one of the strongest (and best-written) I’ve seen lately of the consequences on science that public acceptance of faith-based alternatives to evolution represents. From the column:

Accepting the fact of evolution does not necessarily mean discarding a personal faith in God. But accepting intelligent design means discarding science. Much has been made of a 2004 poll showing that some 45 percent of Americans believe that the Earth – and humans with it – was created as described in the book of Genesis, and within the past 10,000 years. This isn’t a triumph of faith. It’s a failure of education.

That last line — “a failure of education” — rings true these days. Just look into American students’ performance in math and science compared with other nations. I’d argue science is now something that a growing number of Americans fear rather than embrace. That’s not a healthy public attitude when it comes to deciding educational priorities at all school levels.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 23, 2005 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. What A Paradox?
    “Evolution is a robust theory, in the scientific sense, that has been tested and confirmed again and again. Intelligent design is not a theory at all, as scientists understand the word, but a well-financed political and religious campaign to muddy science. Its basic proposition – the intervention of a designer, a k a God – cannot be tested. It has no evidence to offer, and its assumptions that humans were divinely created are the same as its conclusions. Its objections to evolution are based on syllogistic reasoning and a highly selective treatment of the physical evidence.”
    What a paradoxical euphoria for well learned people ( Intellects ?)to make such a statement. Theory or no theory, any abstract thinker should be able to see the logic of Intelligent design.”Nothing happens for nothing”


    August 23, 2005 at 9:11 pm

  2. Spread the Wealth
    I agree with you, Denny, that people are spooked by science. I’ve discovered in my years, though, that a simple unabashed sense of WONDER in the natural world goes a long way in making science less clinical and more personal. Once a person sees what a neat place the world is, it’s easy to take that next step and ask “Well, why does such-and-such work that way?” Science can then jump out of the laboratory and into the “real world.”
    Too often, people leave science for the scientists, the same way the arts often get appropriated to professional artists. In many ways, our society has become so specialized that unless you part of the “in” club, you’re one of the great unwashed masses not worthy to carry the torch. If we all took a little more seriously the importance of a liberal arts background, which I know you strongly espouse, then I think it would go a long way toward making the spooky things less spooky.


    August 30, 2005 at 2:33 am

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