Friday, September 02, 2005

ID in PE?

Amanda and Jonathan Witt comment on the interesting article in the Washington Post by Sally Jenkins on observing intelligent design in athletes. She says:

First, let's get rid of the idea that ID (intelligent design) is a form of sly creationism. It isn't. ID is unfairly confused with the movement to teach creationism in public schools. The most serious ID proponents are complexity theorists, legitimate scientists among them, who believe that strict Darwinism and especially neo-Darwinism (the notion that all of our qualities are the product of random mutation) is inadequate to explain the high level of organization at work in the world. . . .

The idea, so contentious in other contexts, actually rings a loud bell in sports. Athletes often talk of feeling an absolute fulfillment of purpose, of something powerful moving through them or in them that is not just the result of training. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, a neuroscientist and research professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, is a believer in ID, or as he prefers to call it, "intrinsic intelligence." Schwartz wants to launch a study of NASCAR drivers, to better understand their extraordinary focus. He finds Darwinism, as it applies to a high-performance athlete such as Tony Stewart, to be problematic. To claim that Stewart's mental state as he handles a high-speed car "is a result of nothing more than random processes coming together in a machine-like way is not a coherent explanation," Schwartz said.

And she concludes:

But science class also teaches us how crucial it is to maintain adventurousness, and surely it's worthwhile to suggest that an athlete in motion conveys an inkling of something marvelous in nature that perhaps isn't explained by mere molecules. Johann Kepler was the first to accurately plot the laws of planetary motion. But he only got there because he believed that their movements, if translated musically, would result in a celestial harmony. He also believed in astrology. And then there was Albert Einstein, who remarked that "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." Historically, scientific theorists are sandlot athletes, drawing up plays in the dirt.

The Witts observe:
Her explanation recalls to mind the wonderful line in Chariots of Fire where the great sprinter Eric Liddel tells his sister, "When I run I feel His pleasure."

But all of this brings up the obvious question: since the Darwin Dogma Only gang thinks ID has nothing to do with science, and therefore does not belong in science class, would it be OK to discuss it in Phys. Ed.? As for me, I believe strongly in academic freedom for gym teachers.


At September 26, 2005 11:21 PM, Anonymous John said...

Enjoyed reading your post...

I too am skeptical of the macroevolutionary claims of Darwinism (and its evolutionary descendants)...



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