Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading Roger Ebert's eviscerating review of Ben Stein's film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." I hesitate to link people there, because while it does a fantastic job of pointing out the poor logic and deceptive tactics used in the film, it also carries a tone of condescension that is sure to turn off anyone who might have fallen trap to the film's dishonesty. Like most well-written screeds against the ideologies to which logic-minded people take issue, Mr. Ebert's is clearly intended to "preach to the choir," using language aimed at individuals sharing the opinions therein. Everything Mr. Ebert has to say is backed by logic and scientific evidence, but while saying it he sounds like a total asshole.
I think this one-sidedness is one of the many things keeping this ludicrous "debate" alive, ensuring that people on both sides of the issue keep fighting into the coming decades. I airquote "debate" in the previous sentence because the actual issue is extremely simple: Intelligent Design is not science, and thus doesn't belong in science classrooms. See, Science™ is a protocol devised to get to the bottom of things logically and rationally, limited to what can actually be observed and tested. That's it. No magic, no faith; just What You See is What You Get™. If you can't observe it, it can't be covered by science. If a theory cannot be backed up by testing and observation, it can't be called science.
Rather than putting effort into explaining to the layman that science is a protocol designed to attempt the determination of how things work, using ONLY WHAT CAN BE OBSERVED AND TESTED, proponents of science (who are by definition anti-ID -- not because of some hatred for religion, but because an Intelligent Designer CANNOT CURRENTLY BE OBSERVED OR TESTED FOR) feel the need to attack the misguided attempts by ID-proponents to attack the theory of evolution, and even science itself. Back and forth these attacks go, doing nothing but reaffirming what IDers already believe: that evolution is an attack on Christianity.
Unfortunately, I fear this is going to continue for a very long time. While I take issue with how the ID movement portrays science as "anti-religion," I have to admit that many of the outspoken folks trying to cry foul of Intelligent Design's methods, logic, and purpose happen to actually BE anti-religion folks, many of them of rather asshole-ish persuasion themselves. (I'm looking at you, Richard Dawkins.) I find this incredibly disheartening.
As of now, the opposition to the teaching of Intelligent Design in science classrooms is as follows: scientific theories are based upon the notion that observations and evidence overwhelmingly back them up. Intelligent Design theory posits no such testable, observable theories. All their time and energy is spent finding problems with portions of the evolution model, which, while actually pretty useful, is not the same thing as positing a theory of their own. The notion that everything was created by an intelligent force is a nice notion -- one which I happen to believe -- but it is not the same thing as a scientific theory. If you want to do science, then you have to do considerably more than just come up with a nice notion.
ID proponents (and Ben Stein's film) portray themselves as being "shut out" by science, that what they're doing is being ignored on the grounds that it attacks the accepted model, and that science is akin to persecution of religion. This simply isn't true. If the ID folks actually were to do the work involved in creating such a theory, doing the experimentation and observation necessary to back it up and get their work peer reviewed, it WOULD be accepted by science. Unfortunately, the main proponents of Intelligent Design Theory have no interest in doing that; they'd rather just fabricate controversy, pretending that the mean-old scientists just won't let them play because scientists hate Christians.
Sadly, it's far easier to rile up congregations and make them feel persecuted than to actually do the science they purport they're doing. By portraying evolution as anti-religion while claiming persecution at the hands of scientists, they've painted an inaccurate portrait of the "debate." People with no understanding at all of science now feel that their viewpoint ought be represented where it simply doesn't belong. This two-faced approach is nothing short of dishonest, and I personally feel that the level of dishonesty exhibited suggests that it's not just misguided, but also intentional.
I'm not sure What Jesus Would Do™, but I'm pretty darn confident that he wouldn't support lying to and misleading people in order to get them to believe the things he says.
If you know me at all, you know that I favor rational thought over traditionally-held beliefs pretty much exclusively. It's because of this that I never really hold much stock in what the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement says. Most of their energy goes into attempting to disprove a system they are scripturally-obligated not to believe -- evolution -- rather than providing any rational arguments for just what it is they're arguing for: that everything as we know it now was designed by someone intelligent, just not necessarily God.
I've pretty much dismissed out of hand that they could actually be right (which, I suppose, is no better than them dismissing my argument of "Couldn't an Intelligent Designer use a system of evolution as part of his design?"), but I've just encountered some new evidence that has completely blown me away. It seems like every other day the IDers present some new argument for just why the idea of evolution is more silly than that of an Intelligent Designer, none of which have had any impact at all on my sense of rationality. Until today.
This new argument, which I've dubbed "The Peanut-Butter and Banana Sandwich Conjecture," is pretty much irrefutable -- and, might I say, delicious as hell. But I digress. Consisting of two separate arguments, which I've presented below in video form for your convenience (and also for my convenience), the PB&B Sandwich Conjecture simply and concisely proves not only that life can't spontaneously happen, but that all life on earth is the result of a designer who made intelligent decisions about even the tiniest of details.
Now, as I'm sure you'll agree, each of those is somewhat compelling on its own, but the combination of the two is what really hammers the point home. Game, set and match.
As far as I know, I'm the first person to have combined these two lesser arguments into a single irrefutable one, so I'm now going to go ahead and take credit for proving that evolution is inferior to Intelligent Design as a theory.
It's been quite a journey... I, for one, would never have predicted that someone would prove the IDers to be right, let alone that it would be me. You might think that I'd feel bad about this sudden shift to the other side of the argument, but I don't; science is all about changing your argument in the face of new evidence, and the fact that I can do so with no qualms is just further testament to my abilities as a rational thinker. I'm now an IDer, and proud of it.
(All press inquiries regarding this ground-breaking theory should be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org)