Tuesday, 1 November 2005

Dark Designs

How credible is the argument for Intelligent Design? From the York Daily Record :
HARRISBURG — It was surely one of the most anticipated moments in the history of federal jurisprudence, the appearance, finally, of former Dover Area School Board member Bill Buckingham at the Dover Panda Trial.

And it did not disappoint. It was, in the truest sense of the word, unbelievable.



At the onset of his stay on the witness stand, Buckingham raised his right hand and swore, or affirmed, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then, for the record, he stated his name.

"William Buckingham."

By the time he left the stand, six hours later, I almost expected the judge to ask him for a photo ID to make sure he was indeed William Buckingham.

A telling moment came when he was asked about how the Dover Area High School had acquired 60 copies of the book "Of Pandas and People," a brilliantly dumb book that promotes the idea of intelligent design.

In a deposition given in January, he said he didn't know how the district got the books. He said he didn't know who donated the books. He said he didn't ask because he didn't want to know. He said he didn't know who donated the money to buy the books.

So, during his testimony Thursday, Steve Harvey, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, asked Buckingham about the books and how the money was raised to buy them. He specifically asked Buckingham whether he raised the money at his church.

He said he hadn't.

Then, he said he had.

Then, he said he hadn't.

He said he stood before the congregation one Sunday morning and said "there was a need" for money to buy "Of Pandas and People" and if anyone wanted to give, they could.

"But I didn't ask anyone for money," he said.

Harvey asked him whether he took up a collection at his church, Harmony Grove Community Church.

"Not as such," Buckingham said.

So the lawyer asked him whether he got in front of the congregation and asked for donations.

"I didn't," Buckingham said.

He paused.

"I'm sorry, I did say that, but there was more to it," he said.

Anyway, he collected the money — wherever it came from — and then he wrote a check for $850 to Donald Bonsell, father of then-school board President Alan Bonsell.

But previously, when asked by the lawyer about who donated the books, he said he didn't know.

"Mr. Buckingham, you lied to me at your deposition ... isn't that true?" Harvey asked.

"How so?" Buckingham responded.

It went on for a while before Judge John E. Jones III told Harvey to move on.

"You made your point very effectively," the judge said.
Read the rest, it gets better, Or rather, worse.

As for the "Theory" of Evolution, why, it's no more credible than another "Theory" : Number Theory :
Remainders are just wrong.

By which I mean both mathematically and morally. Division is such a natural idea that I can no longer accept that it might not "come out evenly". It is still acceptable to have division result in a decimal, but not in a remainder. Here is my logic:

I call it my theory of Intelligent Division. A search of the text of the bible reveals that the word "remainder" is only used to describe the outcome of subtraction, never division. This is a clear indication that a "remainder" upon division is not an acceptable result. Rather, we must postulate that in all instances of division, an intelligence greater than ourselves is guiding the outcome, and such an intelligence would never allow something as sloppy as a "remainder". Look, for instance, at the decimal result of any division. There is a clear sign of an intelligence at work, because the numbers after the decimal point show non-randomness to a high degree. To ignore that pattern (in favor of "remainders") would be to ignore the obvious intelligent hand guiding the process of division.

Our culture has clearly lost its way when so-called "number theorists" discuss the notion of ugly "remainders". Such immorality has spawned completely unnatural processes such as "modular arithmetic" in which 350 times 2 equals 34 ("modulo 666", a clear sign of unscrupulousness) when we all know it must equal 700. These "mathematicians" tell everyone that "remainders" are an established fact in number theory, and that they explain all sorts of facts about numbers. But they never explain to you that number theory is only that: just a theory!

Should Intelligen Design, Intelligent Division, and similar "alternative theories" be taught, what about Intelligent Falling? :
As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

Burdett added: "Gravity— - which is taught to our children as a law - —is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."

Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal interpretation of the Bible.
Of course, that last is fictional. Much like the most of the testimony regarding "Intelligent design".

Personally, I think the best argument against "Intelligent Design" is the Kludginess of it : Biology is full of compromises, things which sorta work most of the time, bits derived from other bits, and stuff that doesn't work terribly well. Like many cities which weren't planned, like Topsy, they "just grew" into sometimes bizarre and beautiful forms. But that was a process, not the result of some Grand Plan.

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