Monday, November 14, 2005


Like so many people, I enjoy knocking the way the Times has covered evolution. I must say that I'm quite impressed with Dennis Overbye's piece "Philosophers Notwithstanding, Kansas School Board Redefines Science." It gets into the philosophy of science and expresses the diversity of ideas on the topic without being a he said-she said:
One thing scientists agree on, though, is that the requirement of testability excludes supernatural explanations. The supernatural, by definition, does not have to follow any rules or regularities, so it cannot be tested. "The only claim regularly made by the pro-science side is that supernatural explanations are empty," Dr. Brown said.

The redefinition by the Kansas board will have nothing to do with how science is performed, in Kansas or anywhere else. But Dr. Holton said that if more states changed their standards, it could complicate the lives of science teachers and students around the nation.

He added that Galileo - who started it all, and paid the price - had "a wonderful way" of separating the supernatural from the natural. There are two equally worthy ways to understand the divine, Galileo said. "One was reverent contemplation of the Bible, God's word," Dr. Holton said. "The other was through scientific contemplation of the world, which is his creation.
Read the whole thing, and send the Times a note of appreciation.