Bailey bashes Behe


An excellent article from Ronald Bailey on Michael Behe, and the creationism battle in general.


I’ll read it in a minute, but I can’t resist referring once again to this oldie but goodie by Bailey, which sums up the religion, politics and (lack of) science of ID. Since reading it in ‘97 or early ‘98 I have been convinced that most of the major anti-evolutionists (creationists and especially IDers) do not privately believe what they preach.

Ronald Bailey Wrote:

Get rid of public schools.

That statement probably makes most of my fellow critics of anti-evolution activists cringe, because that’s what the fundamentalists among the activists probably want to do. That is, drive that last nail in the coffin of public education by making science class a forum for misrepresenting science and indirectly promoting long-discredited origins myths.

Bailey, as a Libertarian, is at least honest about his intent. While I still think that public education deserves another shot, I’m not far from a agreeing with Bailey that it’s better to scrap it entirely.

Bailey writes

Get rid of public schools.

Boooooooooooooo! ;)

This proposal lowers political and social conflict, and eventually those made fitter in the struggle for life by better education will win.

I doubt it. The smarter people are, the less irrational they are. The less irrational they are, the less paranoid they are. The less paranoid they are, the less conservative they are. The less conservative they are, the more likely they are to feel it necessary to feed and clothe the poor, hungry and less-educated. Poorer and less-educated people have better sex and more of it, especially if they’re not starving.

Maybe Bailey doesn’t really understand what “fitness” is all about?

Is it just me, or do the orange boldfaced links look really cool?

The smarter people are, the less irrational they are.

Actually, there have been some fairly interesting studies suggesting the opposite, in particular highlighting the ability of intelligent people to rationalize away contradictions between their beliefs and real-world evidence. In essence, when a person is confronted with a fact of reality that contradicts his worldview, he has three choices: revise his worldview, ignore the contradiction (this is easier when the irrationality has no effect on your daily life), or rationalize it. Smart people are better able to do #3. Dumb people have to pick between #1 and #2.

I still don’t quite understand 2 things about his “no public schools” thing.

1) why have vouchers? why pay the government to pay us back to sending kids to school? cut out the middleman. if everything’s privatized, then its highly unlikely that having zero-children households paying taxes for schools would survive a lawsuit or three (dozen). Thus, in the end, only a few schools would actually afford to exist at all.

2) what do you get when you send your children to schools where nobody will challenge their worldview? Adults who have no idea how to really debate and compromise – any attack on their position inherently becomes a personal attack that won’t be taken seriously. We have enough non-compromising partisan politics going on in this country as it is. Last thing I want to see is a generation where compromise isn’t even a word in the vocabulary anymore.

Let’s go back to Behe just long enough for me to launch a different tangent. How do you pronounce “Behe”? My mind is bopping between possibilities: “bay”? “BAY-hay”? “BAY-uh”?

Oh, oops. This was asked on a previous thread, and Katarina said it’s “bee-hee”. May I ask Katarina how she knows? Not doubting, just being scientific.

The Text to speech engines I use pronounce it “Bee-hee”. It pretty good for reading the hundreds of comments that get posted up here ever day.

Get rid of public schools.

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. - Thomas Jefferson


Oh, oops. This was asked on a previous thread, and Katarina said it’s “bee-hee”. May I ask Katarina how she knows? Not doubting, just being scientific.

Definitely “bee-hee”. I recall reading some pop articles during the popularity of “Darwin’s Black Box” and each piece made a point of noting that his name rhymed with “tee hee” (like the laugh).

Rather appropriate, I remember thinking.

Get rid of public schools = get rid of U.S. technical dominance. The anti-choice crowd just loves choice when it comes to teaching; the absolutists favor epistemological relativism, the entitlement to believe and teach what’s false.

Also … the claim that studies suggest that smart people are less rational isn’t very smart – if the folks we label “smart” aren’t rational, then the labeling criteria are wrong. Intelligence isn’t just a matter of doing well on something called an intelligence test – the test has to actually test for intelligence. And intelligence is the ability to act rationally, which has to do with achieving self-interested goals, like

But the problem here doesn’t seem to be with mislabeling, but rather with logic. Supposedly, smart people have the option to rationalize away discrepancies, while dumb people can only ignore them. While having more choices can indeed reduce rationality, smart people don’t really have the option to ignore discrepancies – that they notice them is part of what makes them smart. So they have to rationalize – which is less robust and more subject to challenge than simply ignoring the evidence. Smart people are are more likely to be swayed by a sound argument, and generally more likely to revise their worldview upon the introduction of new evidence, valid reasoning, and new experience.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on February 9, 2005 5:38 PM.

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