Tuesday, July 19, 2005

She blinded me with science

This article starts out as a straightforward science piece, explaining some of the research being done by astronomers to find planets that could possibly contain life.

About three-quarters of the way into the piece, there is an unfortunate left turn.

This would merely be an interesting academic argument except for a film that is going around, and which I recently viewed, called "The Privileged Planet," which suggests that the Earth's nice qualities [for supporting life] are no accident.

The film, produced by Illustra Media in California, is based on a book of the same name by Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer at Iowa State, and Jay W. Richards, a philosopher and vice president of the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

It argues that Earth is so special and unlikely that it must be the work of an intelligent designer. "What if it's not a cosmic lottery?" Dr. Richards asks in the film.

This is not a criticism of the article's author. He actually does a nice job of recognizing the intelligent design concept, and also pointing out that...well, it ain't science. (My paraphrasing.)

What makes that part of the article unfortunate is the need to bring it up at all. What has happened to our society that we are backtracking a couple of centuries and questioning the very nature of scientific research? Why the need to put markers down saying "no more research here, boys and girls, we've decided that God made this?"

[Insert concluding thought here. Something witty, perhaps even pithy.]


Post a Comment

<< Home