Stranger Fruit

South Carolina is currently undergoing a dalliance with ID. WIS10, a TV station in Columbia, ran an interview with the SC Governor, Mark Sanford. Here is a choice portion wherein Sanford demonstrates that science classes were wasted on him:

Q: What do you think about the idea of teaching alternatives to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in public schools; for instance Intelligent Design.

MS: I have no problem with it.

Q: Do you think it should be done that way? Rather than just teaching Evolution?

MS: Well I think that it’s just, and science is more and more documenting this, is that there are real ‘chinks’ in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about. The idea of their being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of.. in essence, destruction. Whether you think about your bedroom and how messy it gets over time or you think about the decay in the building itself over time. Things don’t  naturally order themselves towards progression. Uuummm.. in the natural order of things. So, it’s in fact, it’s against fairly basic laws of physics… and so I would not have a problem in teaching both. Uh, you saying this is one theory and this is another theory.

That is probably the most semi-literate thing I have heard from the mouth of a politician in a long, long, long time. Sanford is a graduate of Furman University where he received a B.A. in business, before receiving an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia. Both degree programs, I imagine, don’t spend too much class time on the second law of thermodynamics, and in Sanford’s case it shows.

For the straight dope on the second law, start here. For what to do about the dope that is the governor of South Carolina, you are on your own.

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  1. #1 xenolith
    January 29, 2006

    Ay carumba. Where you went to school isn’t much of an excuse. I graduated with two degrees from Bob Jones University (in SC) and still managed to work my way around to non-theistic evolution. Sadly, my story is the exception, I have to admit, and not the rule. And Sanford’s mentality goes a long ways to explaining why I had to get out of South Carolina. Of course, here in North Carolina, things ain’t that much better!

  2. #2 Roman Werpachowski
    January 30, 2006

    Someone’s gotta call the Stupid Reference to Thermodynamics Police!

  3. #3 Ocellated
    January 30, 2006

    That’s an amazing quote John.

    Did you ever have trouble with trackbacks in WordPress to MT blogs back at your old site? Trackbacks work for me everywhere except MT blogs… I tried sending you a trackback, but it didn’t come through.

    Here’s a manual trackback. I blogged about your article this morning.

  4. #4 John Lynch
    January 30, 2006

    Yes, I noticed that WP -> MT TBs weren’t working all the time. I blame MT 🙂

  5. #5 Rodney Wilson
    January 30, 2006

    Any interested South Carolinians, concerned with science standards in the state, can keep up to date with the current ID/Creationism attempts to push unnecessary language into our Biology standards here:

  6. #6 Dave S.
    January 30, 2006

    I would challenge anyone who actually thinks that ID is an “alternative” to the theory of evolution to explain ID ‘theory’ without reference to evolution. How would they teach it for instance? Show me a lesson plan. Remember, you must not teach any evolution at all…you must only teach the scientific alternative of intelligent design.

    What would you teach?

  7. #7 xenolith
    January 30, 2006

    Additionally Dave, I’d ask them to produce testable, repeatable, verifiable results to back their “theory.”

    I think a very important part of this debate that’s often not brought into the open is the definition of a “theory” from a scientific perspective. Perhaps, it’s partly because the media itself often hasn’t seized upon the important distinction between a “theory” in every day conversation and the more rigid scientific definition.

    We really need to educate the public as to what a scientific theory is, because I think when you do, the whole debate about whether ID should appear in a science class ends pretty abruptly – if you’re honest about it. Philosophy class, fine. Science, nope.

    Of course, there’s also the dearth of peer-reviewed papers, etc, etc, etc.

    Also, I hear some folks saying that ID really equals creationism – not quite, though I know what you mean – that they’re saying God created everything, but they’re drawing back to allow for some evolution. Well, a true fundamentalist wouldn’t see the similarity between ID and a literal 6-day Creationism at all. In fact, they’d consider it an affront – and a success for Darwin that the ID crowd is ceding ground (which, in fact, I think is the truth). ID is closer, I think, to a gussied up version of The God of the Gaps. We can’t explain such and such, so therefore God must’ve … (or the Spaghetti Monster). Which of course paints God (or the Spaghetti Monster) into an increasingly smaller corner as the gaps are filled in by natural selection, chaos theory, string theory, etc. So if ID is your primary reason for believing in God, you ought to be increasingly troubled.

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