March 9, 2006
Intelligent Design: Keep that sense of humor
An analysis of political cartoons
In a lecture given by Ken Miller in early January of 2006, he explained to the audience that one good thing about this whole design movement was all of the laughs that came out of it. One must keep their sense of humor fine-tuned, especially in situations like this, when something just refuses to die, despite being trampled on by science and reason. And so, through this movement there have been numerous cartoons published across the country, critical of the Design movement, which , as it has been shown, is being very harshly criticized by many in the scientific community. Here are a few examples that I will provide that are sure to stimulate one's sense of humor, and yet also stimulate one's thinking critically about what ID is really about:
In looking at all of these, the cartoons seem to invoke humor out of the minds of scientists, and utter anger and scoffing from the proponent of Intelligent Design. Indeed, the truth hurts, especially if one is facing it head-on.
The cartoon to the right depicts a man representing Intelligent Design trying to get into the prestigious community that makes up science. The community of course objects, fairly pointing out that Intelligent Design has not met any of the criteria that absolutely needs to be met in order to be included as real science. Fortunately, it seems that Design will not be getting through the doors if admissions can help it. Admissions then evokes its true colours to everyone when he retorts that all that he needs to do is to do is to use a different way of getting past, in this case, smiting. In this context, smiting means redefining the requirements to fit the standards of ID.
Of course, when looking at many cases throughout the U.S., ID only managed to smite a few school districts, and not the entirety of science. Fortunately, nobody had their faces covered by the illusion of “smiting” that ID tried to put forth. Science upheld itself valiantly, and the requirements of observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, and peer review pulled through.
The cartoon to the left depicts two grown men in front of a chalk board trying to solve a complicated-looking equation. The equation in question is so difficult that during one of the steps, the student presumably inserts “THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS” as a possible solution. The instructor isn’t very impressed and suggests to the student that he really ought to explain this particular step of the problem.
Miracles are usually defined by a divine influence. Being thrust down a mountain and surviving could be defined as miraculous. The cure for AIDS could be defined as miraculous. As an adjective, miraculous is a fine way to define something that is extraordinary. However, using it to explain a scientific breakthrough, or worse still, to explain that which science has yet to explain, thus limiting the knowledge that humans can grasp on the subject just because they cannot understand it at this point and time.
Science is not critical of ID because it opposes Evolution. Science merely asks Design to be more clear about their position in science. Science demands Design to produce empirical evidence that has undergone rigorous peer-review before it is accepted as mainstream.
So, like the misguided student in this cartoon, Intelligent Design is either going to learn from its mistake, and correct its mistakes, or it will fail because they cannot put any sort of evidence on the table. And the teacher who represents science will go on teaching the rest of the students the correct way to do their math– and get the method for acceptance pushed through as soon as possible.
But it also gives the rest of the community reason to laugh.