Saturday, August 20, 2005

Indiana invaded by ID

Intelligent Design is making in roads into the Hoosier state. Dr.Myers at Pharyngula has a nice bit about the issue here.

Then Prof. Myers posts a little piece about a cartoon printed today in the Indy Star. Here's a link to that post and a link to the cartoon.

Needless to say, I was a little peeved. Indiana being my current state of residence and all, I decided to reply to the cartoonist. Here's what I wrote:

Was your cartoon for August 20th a very subtle piece of irony? Were you trying to make fun of Intelligent Design proponents for claiming that biologists are 'Darwinists' and that they are 'ignoring the evidence' and the criticism?

I doubt this.

Rather, I think you are severly confused about the current debates regarding the teaching of evolutionary biology.

Firstly, modern evolutionary biology is not 'Darwinism'. Modern evolutionary biology is very different from Darwinism. In fact, it's very different from the evolutionary biology of the 1930s, 40s and 50s known as 'neoDarwinism'.

Secondly, your cartoon reflects another misunderstanding regarding the way in which evolutionary biologists deal with ID. While it is true that some choose to not engage with ID in a public setting, this does not mean that there is a problem with evolutionary biology as the scared looking monkeys in your cartoon seem to be suggesting.

Also, the monkey thing is a little old. It's not like only evolutionary biologists' ancestors looked like monkey's...your ancestors looked a lot like monkeys too. It's a fact. Deal with it.

Matthew Dunn
Bloomington, IN

There was also an interesting and lengthy piece published on the ID debates in today's NY Times. I think they kind of fuck it up thought because they don't really deal with the actual claims of the IDers. Although they do a good job of detailing the now rather transparent religious motivations of the Discovery Institute et al.

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