Earnest Pettie, comedy writer
EWTN, The Global Catholic Network, is currently airing a show titled “I Was a Teenage Darwinist.” I tuned in, hoping to see a 50’s style creature feature, where some poor Catholic teenager suddenly suffered a mutation and was forced to explain to those around him that unfortunately they had to die in order for his existence to confirm Darwin. Boy was I ever wrong. Instead, when I turned to ETWN, I saw a middle-aged man giving a speech on Intelligent Design at Rockhurst High School. For the uninitiated, Intelligent Design, as Slate points out, is not a theory designed to compete with the theory of evolution. Instead, it is a sling full of pebbles designed to slay what Creationists percieve as the evil giant that is the theory of evolution through natural selection.
The program’s speaker began by talking about the history of astronomy, latching onto the idea of epicycles. Epicycles were used by observers to explain the apparent backward movement of planets long before we had a better understanding of the mechanics of the universe. Epicycles didn’t really exist; they were a trick of the eye. For the speaker, epicycles were evidence that scientists are all too willing to accept an incorrect assumption as truth as long as it meshes with their understanding of the world. In effect, the speaker punishes scientists for having been wrong, rather than accepting their mistakes as a by-product of a larger quest for knowledge. For the speaker, ancient acceptance of epicycles is no different from contemporary acceptance of natural selection. In fact, he would tie every current gap in evidence or understanding back to epicycles.Of course, he didn’t do the same for his belief system. He didn’t say things like “The church believes that the Earth was created in under a week, presumably to avoid overtime. The church also believed that some people were so good that their bodies refused to decay. Incorruptibles. Yeah, that flew in the face of science, and bodies subjected to examination were proven to have been embalmed, but intelligent design is very different.”
School districts around the country are populated with those who want Intelligent Design to be introduced into their public schools’ curricula. There is an argument to be made for the people of a school district being able to influence what their schools teach. The argument would go something like this. “My kids are in danger of becoming critical creatures, and this could have a negative impact on our time together. What if they become too good at Wheel of Fortune? I’d like to roll their education back– and your kids’ too. When they’re over, I don’t want them to guess the ending to the rerun of Murder She Wrote before I figure it out.” The Supreme Court may have given the state a hand, this week, in combatting that trend. In Kelo vs. New London the Supreme Court held that eminent domain gave the state the ability to do whatever it pleased as long as it had the state’s best interest at heart. (The State, like the Pope, is infallible…by election!) Using Kelo, it would be very easy for any state to repel the onslaught of the ID army by arguing the teaching real science is better for the state’s tax base since idiots often represent a drain on resources.
Even then there would still be plenty of ways to get Intelligent Design into the schools. Here are just a few ways to get ID back in the classroom:
1) Candy Hearts. Sure, Valentine’s Day is just once per year, but imagine the educational fun a child could have when he opened his Valentine’s Day bag and saw a box of hearts containing messages like “God Created You Special. Not monkeys”
2) Start a soda company. There’s nothing a school district loves more than profiting off its students’ love of snacks. “Diet Intelligent Design. It’s smart, lite!”
3) Rumors. Rumors are to school halls as staph infection is to hospitals. Start a rumor that the hot, English teacher (it’s always English, isn’t it?) is seeing an Intelligent Design adherent.
4) Restroom stalls. “For a good time, read Genesis Chapter 1 and then strike up a pointless argument in science class.”
5) Inserts. Grocery stores put inserts in newspapers because they know that’s a fast and effective way to reach consumers. It’s a little “outside-the-box,” but what about going inside-the-bag? Every nickel bag has a Chick Tract inside it.