Thought this was an interesting take by Crispin Sartwell on the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ in schools.


2 Responses to “Design”

  1. 1 coc July 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    I think the resistance to ID in public schools was driven not by a desire to prevent “a one paragraph disclaimer” but rather to prevent that being used as the thin edge of a wedge. In fairness if ‘science’ teachers are permitted this, it is forseeable that entire swathes of Kansas (or wherever) might gradually drift to not teaching science at all, or rather replace real science with religious mumbo jumbo.

    Also he claims that “the scientistic conception of the universe …itself rests on faith” in “fundamental presuppositions”. Now I’m too lazy to listen to faitheism 1-6 where he may outline what these presuppositions are. If he’s trying to equate a “faith” in determinism (for example) with a faith in an omniscient sky fairy he is off his rocker. But maybe I think that because I am emotionally attached to an irrational belief in the real world?

  2. 2 Hugh Green July 5, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I know what you mean about the thin end of the wedge. What I’m not sure about, however, is if the permission, or the prohibition of teaching about intelligent design would make much of a difference one way or the other. To my mind it seems that a belief in intelligent design reflects something more profoundly disturbing in the structure of a society: there’s plenty of religious practice that does not require a belief in a 5,000 year old world where man once walked amid the dinosaurs. But where you have the promotion of ID, I think you have the makings of a deeply authoritarian, if not fascist, society: where you have one big boss who decided everything, and everyone exists merely to carry out his orders, which are transmitted by those who occupy positions of earthly authority: normally rich men who exploit the fears of the weak and powerless. Sartwell’s an anarchist, so I don’t know if he’s talking in ideal terms, or those of the state that actually exists, and whilst I think he’s right that an education need not necessarily be structured according to discrete, hermetically disciplines, and therefore there’s nothing wrong with at least addressing the claims made by intelligent design in a context of reasoned discussion, I do think he’s missing something by not addressing the background to the project of introducing intelligent design, which probably has the objective of doing away with reason altogether.

    I can’t remember what the presuppositions are, and I’m too lazy to go back and check myself. Will do tomorrow maybe.

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