Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Kurt Vonnegut on Intelligent Design and Intellectual Honesty

After posting on William F. Buckley, I thought I would finally post on another notable intellectual who doubted Darwinian orthodoxy as a sufficient explanation of origins. Kurt Vonnegut had this to say about evolution and intelligent design:

Mr. VONNEGUT: Where you can see tribal behavior now is in this business about teaching evolution in a science class and intelligent design. It’s the scientists themselves [who] are behaving tribally.

INSKEEP: How are the scientists behaving tribally?

Mr. VONNEGUT: They say, you know, about evolution, it surely happened because their fossil record shows that. But look, my body and your body are miracles of design. Scientists are pretending they have the answer as how we got this way when natural selection couldn’t possibly have produced such machines.

INSKEEP: Does that mean you would favor teaching intelligent design in the classroom?

Mr. VONNEGUT: Look, if it’s what we’re thinking about all the time; if I were a physics teacher or a science teacher, it’d be on my mind all the time as to how the hell we really got this way. It’s a perfectly natural human thought and, okay, if you go into the science class you can’t think this? Well, alright, as soon as you leave you can start thinking about it again without giving aid and comfort to the lunatic fringe of the Christian religion.

As I have said in the past, I am not in favor of requiring teaching about intelligent design in science classes. But it should be permitted, and students questions and curiosity about intelligent design should not be banned or punished.

Macroevolutionary theory is one part of the larger question of origins: Where did everything come from? Science can answer some aspects of origins, but cannot answer others. Philosophy and religion have legitimate answers to some aspects. How a person answers these questions will depend on his or her epistemology and worldview. Public schools and courts should not be in the business of mandating and establishing any specific epistemology of origins. If there is any area where we need pluralism, diversity and tolerance in public schools, it is here.

Vonnegut seems to be suggesting that the way evolution is taught now is forcing students and teachers to be intellectually dishonest. So it goes.

Too bad Kurt Vonnegut was not around to be interviewed for the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.


Post a Comment

<< Home