Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Missouri's ID Bill or keping misooree stupit

Here is the text of the Missouri Standard Science Act,  which was linked from a Missouri blog called Show Me Progress, who posted it under the title “keping misooree stupit.” As ID bills go, it is quite a bit more blatant than most. None of this “academic freedom” or “truths and weaknesses” nonsense. It gets right to the point:
(2) "Biological evolution", a theory of the origin of life and its ascent by naturalistic means. The first simple life was developed from basic elements and simple molecules through the mechanisms of random combinations, naturally occurring molecular structures, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. From the first simple life, all subsequent species developed through the mechanisms of random variation, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, segregation, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. The theory is illustrated by the evolutionary phylogenic tree. Theory philosophically demands only naturalistic causes and denies the operation of any intelligence, supernatural event, God or theistic figure in the initial or subsequent development of life;
(3) "Biological intelligent design", a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence. Since the inception of each original species, genetic material has been lost, inherited, exchanged, mutated, and recombined to result in limited variation. Naturalistic mechanisms do not provide a means for making life from simple molecules or making sufficient new genetic material to cause ascent from microscopic organisms to large life forms. The hypothesis does not address the time or sequence of life's appearance on earth, time or formation of the fossil record, and time or method of species extinction. The hypothesis does not require the identity of intelligence responsible for earth's biology but requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation. Concepts inherent within the hypothesis include:

(a) The origin of life on earth is inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism;

(b) All original species on earth are inferred to be the result of intelligence directed design and construction. There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth's species from microscopic organisms;
If you read between the lines, however, you can see the standard language in the whole ‘evolution cannot lead to increased information’ language. Credit the bill's organizers for reading their Dembski.  It is clear that the writers don't know the first thing about evolutionary theory but most of the organizers of bills like these aren't interested in learning about it in the first place.

The bill also reflects the usual bogus dichotomy between evolution and belief in God by defining evolution a priori as denying the role of God completely, as if, somehow, the backers know this. In one fell swoop, they also deny the validity of the evolutionary creation model, which makes one wonder if there are young earth creationist sympathies at work. 

It is difficult to see how this is going to fly in the legislature or if it does, how it would survive a constitutional challenge. It is almost as if the bill's promoters have never heard of Dover, Pennsylvania.  I would expect this to die in committee. 

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