Thursday, September 14, 2006

One mind pondering many...

The latest video I posted has touched on a subject I have been mentally analyzing for the past couple of years. Granted, the subject has been drawn into a clearer focus once I crossed the Madison Dixie line to in order help support my wife realize her dreams, but it has been there never the less. I guess you could boil it down to man, spirituality, and this journey we all travel together, life.

Its been an interesting trip for me, in my just shy of 30 years performing my own take of a walkabout, it still excites me when I think about what I might come across next. Along that path, I've seen first hand the core of humanity at its best. I will also always remember the time I was exposed to what the worst can lead too; when I wondered into the wrong neighborhood while exploring the south of France. But overall, it has been an incredible rewarding experience that I wouldn't trade for any amount of money. Picking back up to my original topic, there is one element in the world that troubles me the most, nescience. There are many forms where this element takes root, and many others where the environment may encourage its growth and spread.

The first, and most obvious, is where the individual or group of individuals live in an environment where education and knowledge just may not be available, or even suppressed. These conditions lead to a large part of what ails the world. One of such conditions that we as Americans feel constantly is out subjective war on terror. I could spend a lot of time on this issue, but that is for another day. The the form of discounting ideas, and sometimes slandering them I wanted to touch on today is the cognitive choice by the individual. The case I want to frame here is the topic of religion and science.

As a fair disclosure, I do have a degree in Biology, and do subscribe to the theory of evolution. But, I am not trying to pursued anybody in this posting, I just wanted to put out some observations on the topic of Evolution and Intelligent design, and the implications that may arise.

Taking it from the top, there are many things that are misunderstood from both sides of the argument here. The first element I wanted to look at was the criticism of the theory of evolution. Often I hear complaints that the lack of proof shows evolution is just that, a theory. There is plenty to work with here, but I wanted to remind people about the structure of scientific thought. When approaching science as a whole, there is more that we don't know than we do know. That is just the nature of the beast, as stated by Socrates "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.' This is the fundamental filter that I feel we must all be most careful with. If an individual approaches a new idea with the self confidence that they know what is going on, the overall impression of that idea will have first passed though the prism of pre-conception. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but what I can say is that one is more likely to miss a few key details.

This is why I strongly object to the idea of teaching Intelligent Design along with Evolution in science classes. There are a few levels that I need to break this topic up to cover it correctly. The first element I wanted to look at was the fundamental difference between the two. Evolution is not a model that is meant to draw the final conclusion for you. Anyone who uses evolution as example in refuting the existence of God is a big of a fool in my mind as someone who thinks evolution means we are descendents of chimpanzees. Evolution is the mechanisms and pathways life as we know it develops and adapts on this world. That's just it, doesn't layout the story of where we began and where we will end up. The path of evolution can only travel as far as the latest generation. It is not a crystal ball where our future and fate will be revealed, but it is a study of how life as we know it got where we are today.

Intelligent design on the other hand, does provide a path by which it can extend beyond the latest generation available. By moving the mechanisms and pathways to a level which by all means are immeasurable, the theory is moved from a scientific study to a philosophical debate. This returns to my statement that one can not interject bias in order to provide an answer to that which they can not explain. Saying that the ocular eye is too advanced to have just happened, and must have been guided by some higher power is lazy, and teaches others to do so as well.

Well how does this play out? By placing Intelligent Design in science classrooms across the country, we provide an easy out for those students that grapple with the concepts presented by Evolution. I would rather have our students stand the line then take two steps back. The main reason I want them exposed to Evolution is that if there is a conflict found within that goes against what they personally believe, I want them to confront it head on. I have no problem with an individual that is exposed to the truth of what the theory of evolution presents, and is able to weigh them based on actual merit, and decides to go with a prior belief, I would be thrilled. Why? Because critical thinking was put in place under that situation, and the decision should be made for the individual, not for the individual appeasing others. Critical thinking, and the ability to distance ourselves ever so slightly from our own bias allows for understanding and growth. With the world is a state such that it is, I can not help but feel we need this more than ever. Because, last I checked, people were not willing to kill each other over their beliefs in evolution, or a divine method, well that is unless you were talking about which God was directing it.

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