ID, schm-I.D.

As a professional evolutionary biologist, I suppose I better weigh in on the Intelligent Design series PBS is running and the fight that "pitted “friend against friend, and neighbor against neighbor within the small community [Dover] that serves as a microcosm of an America still divided over evolution." (Not referenced to protect the guilty.)

I'm sorry, but .... Reaching back in evolutionary time for the appropriate expression: gag me with a spoon.

America is not divided over evolution. Even the United States is not divided over evolution. The sort of people who think they are haven't got a clue what it is.

The scientific definition: heritable change through time.

The fundamentalists' definition: opening the door to godless amorality.

Anyone notice that they're not talking about the same thing?

It's been obvious for years -- hell, decades (Scopes was in the 1920s) -- that "evolution" is not evolution to the fundies. It's a stand-in, a dog whistle, for a whole lot of other stuff that's bothering them.

The modern world bothers them. And in a lot of ways, I can see their point. It bothers me, too. Amoral corporations with the business ethics of a mafia don, torturing governments that attack defenseless countries, not-knowing whether our grandchildren will have a livable planet ... all that is pretty unsettling.

It's also all being done by the most powerful people, the ones who give us our livings that we'd just as soon not lose.

For me, that's where it ends. I've figured out the problem. I have my teaspoon out, digging away at the mountain of crap.

For them, that's not enough. They want a goat to carry away the sins of the village. Evolution. Sex. Blacks. Immigrants. The actual goat doesn't matter. It just has to be powerless and lacking any real threat. Their pretense that their hatred of "evolution" has anything to do with evolution or religion is, as the Bad Astronomy blog points out, screamingly obviously bogus.

So, could those of us in the reality-based community please get real about the issues bothering the biblical literalists? It might even be useful to have a discussion with them about their real fears. But enough already with buying into their cover story that this has anything to do with religion, or evolution, or science.


(One of my earlier posts on this: You can't believe in evolution.)

And, as a footnote, just one (temperate) example of the fundamentalist attitude, taken from a comment thread about the Dover decision:
"It’s not a matter of being “insecure, ridiculously sensitive, and narrow minded,” it’s a matter of being called to strive for a higher personal standard of behavior, self-respect, and decency—something our culture used to have until the secular, amoral, social liberalism of the sixties started systematically dismantling that standard." (Not referenced to protect the goofy.)

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