Tuesday, January 17, 2006


ID: Rushing In Where Angels Fear to Tread

Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach has written a fascinating article on the current state of origin of life research. He quotes George Cody, an origin-of-life researcher, as saying “No one knows anything about the origin of life.”

That's true for scientists, but not for creationists and intelligent design "theorists" who are are prone to rush in where angels fear to tread.

In Kansas, for example, the science curriculum developed by professional scientists and educators -- who know that we don't yet know how it happened -- made no proposal about teaching the origin of life in high school biology classes.

The wingnut majority that rules the Kansas State Board of Education with an iron hand -- Abrams, Martin, Willard, Morris, Bacon, and Van Meter -- along with intelligent design activists John Calvert and William Harris weren't nearly so reticent.

Under their direction, Benchmark 3 for students in grades 8-12 now wrongly suggests that students be able to explain proposed scientific explanations of the origin of life as well as scientific criticisms of those explanations:

Some of the scientific criticisms include, the standards now say:

a. A lack of empirical evidence for a “primordial soup” or a chemically hospitable pre-biotic atmosphere;

b. The lack of adequate natural explanations for the genetic code, the sequences of genetic information necessary to specify life, the biochemical machinery needed to translate genetic information into functional biosystems, and the formation of proto-cells; and

c. The sudden rather than gradual emergence of organisms near the time that the Earth first became habitable.

Paradoxically, the characteristic all know-nothings exhibit above all others is the unshakable conviction that they know everything about everything. As a consequence, the Kansas science standards now fill the void in what we know scientifically with creationist speculation and intelligent design misinformation.


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