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Tuesday, August 02, 2005
More on the Intelligent Design Versus Evolution Argument

This story really heated up nicely. Rick's post got picked up by Instapundit, The Commissar and elsewhere. As I've already said, I don't really know much about ID, so instead I'd like to talk about how both sides use this issue.

Robert Reich, who's not one of my favorite people to say the least, said something pretty intelligent once on NPR. He was talking about the minimum wage and why it came up as an issue every couple years. He thought it would be a lot more logical to just peg the minimum wage to the CPI and be done with it.

That's not the intelligent thing he said; I don't favor pegging the minimum wage to the CPI. But he went on to explain why Congress didn't do it. It was because the debate over the minimum wage gave both sides a chance to posture to their respective constituencies. Republicans could point out to small businesses that they had battled to keep the increase to a small amount, while the Democrats could not to organized labor that they'd moved it up a buck or two over a period of time.

Something similar goes on with the evolution controversy. Republicans pander to the ID crowd, Democrats pander to the secular humanists, and in the end nothing really happens.

And I'm just a little leery of the "all scientists agree" formulation. Our side is pretty good about slapping down that statement when it comes to man-caused global warming.

Years ago, Carl Sagan felt that he had demonstrated the truth of evolution in the TV series Cosmos. Talking about crabs, he pointed out how crabs in this one area of Japan had developed a pattern on their shells that looked like a human face. Was it God, or was it evolution? Sagan had the answer. Over the years, superstitious crab fishermen had thrown back the crabs that had the facial patter on their shells, so that the crabs who had it had stayed alive to have more baby crabs than the ones who didn't.

Of course, Sagan never explained what happened to the crab fishermen; did they evolve to the point where they had less compunction about keeping the crabs with the human faces? But more important, this does not prove evolution; it proves natural selection, which is a part of evolution.


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