Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bristol Festival of Intelligent Design

Bristol Festival of Ideas starts early next month and I was interested to note that one of the talks was entitled 'Dissent over Descent' by sociologist Stephen Fuller and is his view of how, "Intelligent Design has driven science for 500 years" and about "Evolution's 500 year War on Intelligent Design". If you don't know what Intelligent Design (ID) is, it is "...the proposition that certain features of the universe and of living things can be better explained by an intelligent cause rather than natural processes such as natural selection." In other words, it is trying to put a veiner of pseudo-science over Creationism. So what, you may think – it is the festival of ideas after all. Without even getting into why ID is rubbish as a science; its the bumff written about the talk that is irritating. It says, “Stephen Fuller's revisionist history is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of science's most vociferous debate.” ID is not 'science's most vociferous debate', it is not even a debate in science. Science does not even consider it part of the same subject area – science considers ID to be philosophy. To date, not a single ID paper has been published in a recognised scientific journal. ID is not a debate within science, which is why a sociologist is pushing the idea and not, say, a paleontologist or a biologist. It is only a ' vociferous debate' with social conservatives who want to push a religious agenda into our lives. Don't get me wrong, science is not the big know-it-all and I am happy to debate its rights and wrongs, but so-called ID 'debate' is nothing more than a radical US-Christian wolf in sheep's clothing. The flyer could at least label it so.

That said the event does have a few things that look interesting; a screening of Fast Food Nation and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the amazing Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell and Billy Brag. See

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