Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Charles Krauthammer: Let's Have No More Monkey Trials

When we were talking about the conservative intellectuals and their views on evolution, I mentioned that I have a lot of respect for Charles Krauthammer, who now devotes a column to the topic. You should read the whole thing, but I especially liked:

Well, if you believe that science is reason and that reason begins with recognizing the existence of an immanent providence, then this is science. But, of course, it is not. This is faith disguised as science. Science begins not with first principles but with observation and experimentation.

In this slippery slide from "reason" to science, Schönborn is a direct descendant of the early 17th century Dutch clergyman and astronomer David Fabricius, who could not accept Johannes Kepler's discovery of elliptical planetary orbits. Why? Because the circle is so pure and perfect that reason must reject anything less. "With your ellipse," Fabricius wrote Kepler, "you abolish the circularity and uniformity of the motions, which appears to me increasingly absurd the more profoundly I think about it." No matter that, using Tycho Brahe's most exhaustive astronomical observations in history, Kepler had empirically demonstrated that the planets orbit elliptically.

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