"intelligent" design

Alan Leschner, shortly before the AAAS meeting last month on Science meets Society:

"The statement, approved by the Dover school board, was brief—but the intent is revolutionary. It seeks to discredit the science of evolution, backed by nearly 150 years of research and accepted by an overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide, and to encourage the acceptance of intelligent design, a theory with strong appeal to many religious people, but no backing in actual evidence or in science.

Perhaps it is fitting that we in the United States are having this debate again. This year marks the centennial of Albert Einstein's "miracle year" in which the physicist penned papers on light, time and energy that changed our understanding of the universe. The year 2005 also marks the 80th anniversary of the Scopes "monkey trial," a historic legal drama in which Tennessee officials tried to enforce a ban on teaching evolution in schools.

These anniversaries remind us of how much our understanding of the universe and of life on Earth have evolved in a mere 100 years. "

With these enormous societal pressures attempting to reverse years of progress, is it any wonder, that:

"Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day"

And, I believe that this general ignorance can lead to a certain complacency in combatting other societal ills:

"The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.

"The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens"

Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

"U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower"

And eventually this complacency leads to distortions in the way we view ourselves and the world around us:

"Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll"

The only thing "intelligent" about ID is that it will help the "haves" who are educated in private schools that actually teach good science to hold power over a credulous mass of "have nots" who sat through semi-science classes. Don't let it happen!