16 May 2005

Intelligent design

Only because I’m having trouble sleeping:

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I’m more than a little sick of the faith–science binary. I seriously doubt that “intelligent design theory” and “evolutionary theory” are quite at odds. There’s nothing explicit in either position that necessitates the exclusion of the other. But a couple of my favorite social critics have fallen on their faces to mock the proponents of intelligent design.

Ruben Bolling equates the “intelligent design” question to an artificial debate concerning the temperature at which water freezes. I guess I don’t really find “straw man” arguments to be particularly humorous. Besides, 32 is an arbitrary number. You’re smarter than this comic, Mr. Bolling!

Slightly less egregious is Tom Tomorrow’s comic on the same debate. But he uses sexual reproduction versus baby-by-stork as his false parallel. It’d be funny if evolution were as visually obvious as childbirth! HAHAHAHA! Er, but the debate isn’t even about whether evolution is plausible! Golly, Tom, is that the best you’ve got?

On a different note, I listened to today’s Odyssey, on “Motherhood on the Margins.” It was a pretty good show and raised some important questions about how motherhood is treated in contemporary cultures. At the same time, the guests frequently fell into the cliché, “we only think this way because someone wants to make a profit.” At one point, though, things really got out of hand: one of the guests asserted that all white women are inherently racist. No one asked for clarification—not even a simple “What do you mean by ‘racism’?” or the slightly better “Do you mean to suggest that only white people can be ‘racist’? If so, isn’t that assertion itself racist?” Sometimes we academics get a little too lulled by our own pet phrases.