Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nature Stories

Cruising around the blogosphere over the last couple of weeks looking for science and nature blogs (I found lots--see the blogroll for a selection of interesting sites!) I was struck by the energy being expended, mostly on American blogs, on the issue of Intelligent Design (ID) vs. Darwinian Evolution. I knew that this was an issue in the United States, that there are movements afoot to add ID to high school science curriculums, but I had no idea that the controversy was as heated and active as it seems to be. President Bush's remarks a couple of days ago (see for example these articles at Truthout), to the effect that he favoured the inclusion of ID in curricula, created a spike in blog activity on the topic.

This is pretty disturbing on a number of levels. The most immediate is not only that ID "theory" is not science, but that it seeks to end biological science as I know and love it. In my post, Midsummer, for example, I talk about different strategies for the raising of young among warblers. Darwinian evolution creates the context for this conversation. It is the framework for speculation and investigation into why this species is doing well and that one isn't in this slice of time, so small in the history of the two species as to be less than the blink of an eye. It is what makes diversity and change in the natural world interesting and meaningful. Taking it away sucks all the fun out of what I love to do--watching and learning, thinking about the life around me. I would hate to see the opportunity to experience nature in all its real complexity taken away from anyone.

I won't get into the arguments that are being put forward for and against ID--check out Pharyngula (much discussion, but current major post here and Panda's Thumb for lots of discussion and a list of sites addressing this issue this week. I read a number of the recent posts with interest, and I stumbled on a five-parter at Panda's Thumb about an evolutionist's experiences attending a creation conference that was both funny and sad by turns, and gave a good deal of insight into what's going on in the "creation" world (here is the link to Part One).

But in the end I just find it sad that energy is being expended by biologists and philosophers of biology defending evolutionary theory against this stuff.

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