The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More on ID at TCS--Turning "Unknown" into "Unknowable"

I emerged, and forty years later my children emerged, from secondary school having briefly memorized the names of the principal parts of a flowering plant and the like but with no conception of what science is. What little I knew I had learned on the side, from Robert Heinlein.

So it is that I have some sympathy for President Bush. Despite attending some pretty good schools, he evidently was not taught science in any meaningful way. On the other hand, he's had ample time to supply the defect in his education. But it is a rule of human behavior that we supply only those defects that we recognize and feel to be such. The President, like all of us, has attended to some defects and left others alone.

One of the defects of democracy is that we usually have quite ordinary persons as our leaders. Sometimes this doesn't matter; their particular defects don't bear upon public affairs, or the times are sufficiently placid that it just doesn't matter that they drink, or play too much poker, or cultivate friends of doubtful character, or whatever.

These are not such times. The President's ignorance of science might have remained a private matter, but he chose to speak on the subject of evolution and "intelligent design." This is a great pity.

It is the case that some people don't like where the engine is taking us, indeed, don't want to go anywhere at all. History affords examples of such people and offers a proper model: the Amish. They made their decision in the 17th century to get off the train, and they have lived peaceably ever since, surrounded but largely unaffected by the Industrial Revolution and all that has followed. Unfortunately, our present-day reluctant passengers seem not to want simply off the train. They want the train to stop and for the rest of us to accept their terms. If President Bush has not taken quite so radical a position, he has certainly decided to take a turn walking down the tracks in front of the train, waving a little red flag.

Read the whole thing here.

5 Comments:

  • Okay, first I didn't click the link and read the whole thing, but...

    Even if a man is "ordinary" in some sense, it is important to know when you are not sufficiently informed in a subject to make a point. Then you must either keep your mouth shut or become informed on the point. As president it can be very difficult to do the former, but one of my biggest faults with Bush is (the appearance that) he repeatedly fails to do the latter. I would not put such prudence beyond an ordinary man of such age who carries such responsibility.

    Therefore, I find President Bush to fail to meet the standards to which I would hold an ordinary man.

    (Yes, I am just using this to take a shot at Bush.)

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 4:04 PM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 PM  

  • What the hell is this anonymous dude talking about? Scott, the article basically says the same thing. I agree.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 4:18 PM  

  • The spam commenters seem to be out in force today; I just deleted one myself.

    By Blogger PRB, at 4:52 PM  

  • They are nailing everyone today.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:37 AM  

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