Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Prove it, test it, and repeat it - or shut up."

In the April 27 Albuquerque Tribune, an editorial by Larry Spohn (“Behold, science: Why realm of facts, not faith, belongs in the public classroom”) comments on efforts in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, to open the door a crack to discuss religion in science classes.

I like the way he concludes:

... [S]cience does best when it is allowed to flourish in an open, democratic environment in which facts rule - unmercifully so.

Indeed, scientists give no quarter. None. You say it's fact; they say, "Prove it, test it, and repeat it - or shut up."

Imagine somebody saying that to the pope or a Muslim cleric. Their realms are faith, not science. Their debates, if they occur, center on doctrine, belief, faith.

But from evolution to cold fusion, it's always a tough sell, because scientists only buy what can be proved, as observed in nature or the lab. There, matters of faith, by definition, are going to have a rough time.

Which is why you don't see any sessions on the latest discoveries in intelligent design at the annual biology or ecology conferences. And until you do, don't let anyone ever tell you it belongs in your kid's science classroom.

For more on Rio Rancho, see Panda’s Thumb.


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