Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kansas Rejoins the Modern World

From the New York Times:

Kansas: Anti-Evolution Guidelines Are Repealed

The State Board of Education repealed science guidelines questioning evolution, putting into effect new ones that reflect mainstream scientific views. The move was a political defeat for advocates of “intelligent design” who had helped write the standards being repealed. The intelligent design concept holds that life is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. The board removed language suggesting that basic evolutionary concepts were controversial and being challenged by new research. It also approved a new definition of science, limiting it to the search for natural explanations of what is observed in the universe. The state has had five sets of science standards in eight years, each affected by the seesawing fortunes of socially conservative Republicans and a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.

It's about freaking time. Forcing the kids in that state to learn creationism and intelligent design as actual science should be considered a form of child abuse.

Please understand that I am not saying there is no higher intelligence (agnostic here), but what I am saying -- and what should be obvious to everyone born after the Enlightenment -- is that science and metaphysics belong in separate quadrants of human inquiry for a reason. It should remain that way.

Which is not to say that the two fields can never interact or compare notes. But when science tries to hold dominion over metaphysics we get flatland (no vertical orientation in spirit). When metaphysics tries to hold dominion over science we get superstition -- and the inquisition, the burning of witches, and all kinds of other atrocities.

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