Friday, October 9, 2009

Unintentionally ironic

Though it makes me gag, I sometimes listen to the podcast "Intelligent Design The Future". Grammar hiccups aside, this podcast is simply a propaganda tool of the Discovery Institute. Their function... to help those who can't consolidate their religion with the theory of evolution, supplying fodder to suspend their disbelief long enough to die a believer. They combine muddy thinking with interviews of "scientists", philosophers, medical doctors -- anyone with perceived authority -- and agree that the theory of evolution is flawed, so the universe must be designed by God.

On the episode of Sept. 25, 2009, Bruce Chapman interviews "skeptic" David Berlinski. They proceed to pat each other on the back, congratulating themselves for being on the winning team. Then they whine about how creationists ID proponents are being bullied by the Darwinists. Berlinski likens it to the crumble of the geocentric worldview. The dominant worldview used to be that the earth was the centre of the universe, geocentrism. But people like Kepler and Gallileo proposed that the sun was the centre of our solar system, a view called heliocentrism. These poor scientists were victimized for their dissenting opinions. In Berlinski's analogy,

geocentrism = dominant evil bully = theory of evolution
heliocentrism = marginalized noble truth= intelligent design

His analogy is based on good versus evil. The evil geocentrists eventually lost the fight to the noble heliocentrists because the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that planets revolve around the sun. Thus, Berlinski's analogy concludes that evolution is evil, and ID is good.

But let me frame the analogy in a different way, based historical beliefs versus evidence. At the time, geocentrism was the historical view, but it gave way to heliocentrism because of the evidence. Intelligent design (a.k.a. creationism) was the historical view, but it gave way to the theory of evolution because of the evidence. In my analogy,

geocentrism = outdated historical view = intelligent design (creationism)
heliocentrism = view supported by evidence = evolution

The irony... Berlinksi's use of the analogy actually does shed some light on what's going on. In the podcast, he reminds us that Gallileo was persecuted by the CHURCH for his dissenting opinions. The take-home message: religion will do whatever it can to stifle dissension, even if it means denying evidence.

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