Thursday, November 22, 2007

"cdesign proponentsists" Unwittingly Remind Us that Evolution is Error then Trial

PBS Nova has produced an excellent program entitled Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (web site, online free video of the program, transcripts) chronicling the federal court decision against the Dover school district's promotion of Intelligent Design.

If you don't have an opporutnity to read the court's decision or the trial's transcripts, you should make time to watch the complete 2 hour program. It gives one renewed faith (pun intended) that our Constitution has yet again been protected against the attacks of those that would seek to send us back to the dark ages before the age of scientific enlightment. Judge Jones summarized it best in the program when he noted:
...In an era where we're trying to cure cancer— where we're trying to—prevent pandemics, where we're trying to keep science and math education on the cutting edge in the United States. To introduce and teach bad science to ninth grade students make[s] very little sense to me. You know, garbage in, garbage out. And it doesn't benefit any of us who benefit daily from scientific discoveries...
"Garbage in, garbage out" indeed.

There were several examples of the creationsts design proponents attempt to sneak "garbage" into the scientific process; the most ironic being the use of the phrase "cdesign proponentsists". It's irony writ large that the creationist would introduce an error that mutated creationists to “cdesign proponentsists” as detailed in Chapter 10 of the program:

NARRATOR: Barbara Forrest's testimony would make a strong case that the Dover school board was thrusting religion into the classroom.

And in comparing the Of Pandas and People drafts, Forrest discovered that the authors had apparently made their revisions in haste.

BARBARA FORREST: In cleansing this manuscript, they failed to replace every word properly. I found the word "creationists." And instead of replacing the entire word, they just kind of did this and got "design proponents" with the "c" in front and the "ists" in the back from the original word.

NICK MATZKE: So the correct term for this transitional form is "cdesign proponentsists." And everyone now refers to this as the missing link between creationism and intelligent design. You've got the direct physical evidence there of a transitional fossil.
As Professor Sean B. Carroll reminds us in his book The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution (audio of interview), Evolution is not about trial and error, but instead the mechanism of error then trial that determines if a mutation will survive. We can thank creationists -> cdesign proponentsists -> design proponents for reminding us of this.




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