Thank you, Steven Newton, for your presentation “Why teach evolution?”

This comes from Steven Newton at the National Center for Science Education via Sylvia Lam.

I absolutely fucking hate the bullshit argument that if we teach evolution in public schools, we must also either teach intelligent design as an “alternative theory” or teach the controversy.

I fully understand the (albeit insincere) sentiment that students should be exposed to information. Especially information that’s wide ranging. I’m also a proponent of teaching controversies on all sorts of topics. The obvious difficulty comes from the fact that intelligent design isn’t a scientific theory (in fact, I think its tenets are 1. stuff’s complicated; therefore 2. somebody must’ve made it, which is an appeal to ignorance). In addition, the shoe-horning bullshit of teaching the controversy fails to account for how many “theories” students should learn and who’s to decide which ones are valid and why.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster handles this beautifully, so I won’t spend much more time on it except to say that the crux of the creationist’s criterion for deciding the validity of an “alternative theory” is entirely based on said theory’s popularity. Recall that in my “debate” with Annan “I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, but will cling to bullshit anyway” Boodram, his only evidence supporting his insistence that belief in fairies is invalid was that no one’s ever taken the idea seriously. I assume, then, that the creationists and intelligent designers would have to form a committee on the “alternative theories” that the committee would take seriously. Clearly, the Christian view of intelligent design would make the cut, but the Egyptian or Greek versions probably wouldn’t. But then, I wonder what would happen if some fringe group spoke up that happened to have a good number of adherents in whatever community was in the middle of such a hypothetical controversy. Since I mentioned Egyptian mythology, take those insane cats who believe in the Egyptian pantheon who are right here in LA. (I’ve been looking for a link to their site and can’t fucking find it anywhere!) Would their version of creation be taken seriously? Of course not.

As others have pointed out, if we start taking seriously any bullshit belief, we must then take seriously all bullshit beliefs.

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