Thursday, May 12, 2005

Good comments

In the comments on the Magruder letter I excerpted, there have been some important points raised. Psychology is one of the fields singled out in the Wedge Document. Modern psychology relies on evolutionary reasoning, recognizing that the brain evolved for a very different world and social context.

But I want to address the most recent comment in more detail:
I think that the real problem here is the narrow way in which "science" has been defined. The IDC folks seem to be attacking a chimera -- a notion of "science" as somehow neutrally and assuredly representing the One True Way That Things Are instead of the best guess that we have at the moment about things. If they wanted to join the debate, they'd be free to present their arguments; the problem is that they don't have any valid ones. Critiquing evolution for not living up to an archaic ideal of "science" isn't anything but politics. But I think that we have to be cautious in our rebuttals that we don't end up reproducing that misleading notion of "science" ourselves; hypotheses and statistics don't make something "scientific." Instead, we should be emphasizing systematicity, rigor, and the sovereignty of argument over mere belief.

Science is not an alternative religion. We should avoid falling into the IDC's trap of portraying it as such, because going down that road grants them an enormous tactical advantage.

I think that's exactly right. I don't know anyone who argues the other way in these debates. There are people who take a scientistic worldview, but not many in these debates.

But the commenter is right, and it's always worth remembering that we aren't aiming for some sort of conquest, just fairness. It's only fair to teach science in science classes, and to let religious leaders teach what they want.