“Evolution is a theory, not a fact,” say the stickers that another school system, in Cobb County, Georgia, affixed to textbooks. But all scientific knowledge “continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered,” and therefore all science is nominally theory—theory that exists along a spectrum, however, from deeply knowledgeable speculation (like superstrings in particle physics) to virtual certainties (such as evolution). In science, there is no such thing as fixed, irrefutable truth. That’s the difference between empiricism and faith.
So here’s a compromise: I’m willing to print the reasonable-sounding liberal core of the Cobb County disclaimer on every textbook in America—“This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered”—as soon as the Christians agree to put the same sticker on all of their Bibles.
10 October 2005
You Can't Spell "Creationism" Without "Cretin"
There's no delicate way to put this, but I firmly believe that anyone who thinks intelligent design (i.e., creationism) is a valid scientific theory is a total idiot. I'd like to think that if, given a day or two, I could write a piece as dead-on as this one from Kurt Andersen, but who am I kidding? Suck on this: