Thursday, August 04, 2005

How Can It Be a Mistake?

Rick Santorum, Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, stuck his foot in his mouth during an interview on NPR this morning (August 4, 2005). I don't suppose it's his fault, he's just speaking from his religious indoctrination instead of using independent thought.

The interviewer asked what he thought about President Bush's recent statement that Intelligent Incompetent Design should be taught in schools. Rick started off well enough: he said that Intelligent Design shouldn't be taught in science classes because it isn't scientific. Then he started munching on his big toe: he said that the evidence against the Theory of Evolution should be taught along with the evidence in favor of it.

Sorry, Rick, but there simply isn't any evidence against the Theory of Evolution. Many refutes have been attempted, but every genuine attempt to scientifically show that Evolution doesn't happen has failed. There are still unanswered questions, but there is no contrary evidence.

He reasoned that we need to look at the evidence against Evolution because, according to the Theory of Evolution, mankind has no purpose: we're just a "mistake". It's impossible for the evolution of humanity to be a mistake, Rick. A mistake is doing something wrong; setting out to do one thing and doing something else instead. The process of Evolution has no target, so it can't go to the wrong place. An Intelligent Designer could make mistakes, but an unintelligent process like Evolution can't.

Does humanity have a purpose? From an evolutionary standpoint, successfully reproducing and expanding into new environments makes a species a "success", but species also change in the process. No, if humanity has a purpose, we need to define it for ourselves, but it need not be incompatible with evolution. Creating and maintaining a secure and comfortable living environment for ourselves and our fellow human beings is a realistic goal that I think anyone could agree to pursue.


Mark said...

I noticed your dismay with the two-party system in a post over at kfmonkey's blog. Personally, what I see as a way out of this situation is an alternate voting system which allows voters to more sincerely express their preferences, rather than just voting for one of the top two possibilities. Approval voting would be a good start, and pretty simple to implement: just change plurality's "Choose one" to "Choose one or more."

Even better would be a ranked choice method, though at this point things get a bit more complicated, and I doubt it would pass on a national scale. But Condorcet methods hold a lot of promise.

There's some more rhetoric on this issue at If you think alternate voting systems hold promise, spread the word to anyone who will listen. This isn't going to take hold unless people understand the options.

Lord Runolfr said...

Party of my dismay lies in the fact that the parties choose their candidates essentially for their fund-raising potential, not their qualifications. In my humble opinion, John McCain was a far superior candidate for President than George W. Bush, but George got the nomination because he was able to raise more money for the election campaign.

Based on my reading of the sources you provided, I'm not sure that any of the alternative voting methods you listed would actually address that inherent problem, but the primaries would probably be as good a place as any to experiment with alternative voting methods.