Monday, May 09, 2005

The Metastory

Red State Rabble explains The Kansas Science Hearings Metastory, concluding that:
The barnstorming brotherhood of bible college biologists came, they saw, they did not conquer.
That remains to be seen. I've seen letters to the editor today complaining about the boycott and others criticizing Kathy Martin in harsh terms. I think the metastory (the story about the story) is still congealing.

I'm optimistic. But we will almost certainly have bad standards, and if the public isn't outraged enough, anything Governor Sebelius does to delay their implementation could make her re-election campaign more complicated.

The other problem is that the coverage was almost uniformly over the ID vs. evolution perspective. That's only half the story, at best.

The consistent theme of Saturday's hearings were not so much a criticism of evolution as an attack on science. Any sort of naturalism was decried as an attack on theistic belief. Teaching science as scientists practice it was attacked as disenfranchisement of religious people. Again and again, practical naturalism (or methodological naturalism) was attacked.

That would open up the door not just to ID, but to creationism, flood geology, and Raelianism. Definitions of science may be in flux, but there's a pretty sound consensus that flood geology is apologetics, not science. Astrology isn't science, but it seems to fall within a supernaturalistic form of science. We can all agree that that doesn't make sense.

And that explains the attacks on "historical sciences." If evolution, astronomy and geology can be cut off from the other sciences, it makes this radical, fringe agenda seem less insane.

That's the battle. It isn't just evolution, it's "materialism" or "naturalism." It's the culture war. I don't know whether we're winning that battle.