“Chris tried to play hardball, but played an ineffectual game of softball with Tancredo, who tried to paint "Intelligent Design" as being evolution with god behind it. It's not; it's creationism, pure and simple, and he knows it. Sad thing is that Matthews did not know it.”
I would have worded that differently by saying that it’s a political power grab by the Religious Right to usurp the scientific method of discovery in order to take over the public school system for the sake of indoctrinating American youth... ...but that’s just me.
You can see my link ridden rant on the matter, here.
Transcribed for your convenience, and my unbiased commentary at the end.
Transcription: Chris Matthews, wed 5-6-09:
Chris Matthews: Welcome back to Hardball. Does the Republican Party have a problem when it comes to believing in science? Check out this exchange I had with Republican Congressional leader Mike Pence of Indiana last night, when I asked him about evolution.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chris Matthews: I think you believe in evolution, but you’re afraid to say so because your conservative constituency might find that offensive.
Mike Pence (video): No, I’ve said to you, Chris, I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the Earth, the seas and all that is in them. How He did that, I’ll ask him about someday.
Chris Matthews: So are Republicans afraid to believe in things like evolution? Tom Tancredo is a former Republican congressman, of course, from Colorado, and of course, a man who ran for president, and delighted us in those debates. Mr. Tancredo, thank you sir. You definitely were a lighting rod in the debates I was dealing with.
Tom Tancredo: You’re welcome. Delighted…
Chris Matthews: Well thank you. Look I don’t want to get into religious tests…
Tom Tancredo:…delighted to a debate that worries me a little bit.
Chris Matthews: Well don’t get too worried, you’re at home here, you’re in your mother’s arms, uh, sir. I think it’s a strange thing…
Tom Tancredo: Bless you my child, bless you..
Chris Matthews: Ha ha ha. Look I don’t want to get into religious tests, we all have our own doubts about religion, our own beliefs, sometimes they’re overlapping each other, sometimes we believe things on different levels, and we sometimes have conflicts in what we believe… …what we were taught in our religion. Most of it I think sort of believe that God created the Earth, we have a belief in a deity, we also believe that somehow He did it through evolution--there was some kind of guidance to it from the beginning certainly, and He knew what He was doing -- He or She if you want to get really broad minded -- knew what He was doing and He did it His way. He didn’t do it in 7 days like we were taught, but He did it His way. Is that sort of your belief?
Tom Tancredo: I do, I believe what you’ve just described, by the way, is something that we call Intelligent Design. And therefore I’m not sure we have much of a debate. There’s Darwinian Evolution, There’s Intelligent Design, that’s the two conflicting points of view on this. And I suggest, Chris, that when you look at this very carefully, and believe me, I’m not a theologian, I’m not a scientist, I’m just a layman that looks at the evidence I have in front of me. And when you do look at it carefully, it does seem to me that the one is equal to the other, in terms of the number of people who support it, in terms--especially of their backgrounds and the research that’s out there, it’s not so clear cut.
You know, even Darwin said that in order to prove evolution, his kind of evolution, you would need literally thousands, maybe millions of fossils that were transitional, we should be able to find them. But of course, we haven’t been able to find them. We can all believe--I certainly believe that evolution occurs within species naturally. Human beings have grown taller over time. That’s certainly true, but crossing a species, there is no evidence of that, you have to make an assumption. And I’m just saying that assuming that, is just as tough as assuming that there’s intelligent design.
Chris Matthews: Ok, let me talk to you about what I think are the extremes on this position. That one extreme would be, there is no god, it’s all sort of random, we all ended up here, we don’t even know why we’re here, right? That would be a random, totally secular view of everything, I don’t think you or I are at that end.
The other end would be, it’s just like it’s written down in the Bible, we don’t have to figure out science, it’s all there. And if you really get into the Bible, and you’re totally literal about it -- and I don’t want to knock anybody’s belief -- you get to point of having to deny all the fossils out there because they all predated 4,000 of written history in the Bible, back to Adam and Eve, through the prophets all the way back.
Then you get into that crazy idea, well there’s a bunch of liberals that went around and buried all these bones in the ground to make it look like there was ancient history. Well, I don’t think most people believe that. I think most people accept the fact, there were dinosaurs, they were around here millions of years ago, it wasn’t covered in the Bible, etc. etc.
So, the question comes down to this, and this is why it’s relevant to discussions of climate change. Do you accept the scientific method? Now, I went to a Catholic school and I--the Christian brother taught us the first day, he said, now you can believe in evolution or not, we believe it here. And from the beginning of the education we had in biology, you had the kingdoms the classes the families, the genus’ the species, this is the way you learned about life. And among the way you understood things was the families, and in the family were People - us, and also apes.
Now, if you say there was no connection between the two, ever in history, that there was never any evolution that led to the creation of you and me -- that led to the creation, I accept the idea of guidance, and if you want to call it intelligent design, that’s fine with me -- but it ended up that way. If you don’t accept the science if you discover it, then you are really basing your whole life, just on belief. And then, you have a hard time dealing a person like that when it comes to scientific evidence on climate change, if they simply don’t want to believe it, ‘cause they don’t want to look at evidence. Are you a person that believes in the scientific method? Did you study biology in school like I did, which is based on these assumptions of evolution?
Tom Tancredo: Yes I went to Catholic schools for 12 years, yes I had biology, yes--first of all let me go back earlier to the first part of your statement about the time sequence. In Intelligent Design, there is no argument about whether the world was made eight thousand or eight billion years ago. Nobody argues that, it could have been any of those things, and there’s no religious dogma leading that particular discussion, it’s not a part of Intelligent Design. And so I certainly can accept that, the fact is that when you think about--if you go back and assume that all--you have to start thinking about what the beginning? You can see on the micro level, we see evolution, but can not make the assumption on it about the macro level, ‘cause there’s nothing there to look at, we have no scientific data.
You are absolutely right to say that we should use the scientific methods to make these kinds of decisions, but honest to god, Chris, there is no scientific data there, there’s nothing there we can look at to see that we’ve made this great leap. And so it’s an assumption, just like it’s an assumption about Intelligent Design. And I’m just saying to you, they’re equally valuable. I think they should be taught in schools together. Here’s a group of people, highly educated, well rounded and well respected in their field who believe in evolution, Darwinian Evolution. Here’s a group of people, highly respected, who believe in Intelligent Design. These are two theories, we should present both of them.
Chris Matthews: Ok, what’s the difference between saying you believe in evolution but you believe God’s behind it? What the difference between that and Intelligent Design?
Tom Tancredo: Well I don’t think there is an--much at all
Chris Matthews: So then you just have to have a little introduction in each chapter in the biology book that says, God did this, God did this, God did this, and that’s Intelligent Design. I mean, is that the distinction?
Tom Tancredo: You don’t even have to call it god, you don’t have to say anything, you just have to say that these people believe that there was something that designed all of this. You can call it god or…
Chris Matthews: I’m not going to fight you on that, congressman. I guess our distinction here is, are we willing to accept the scientific method, and if we discover these artifacts or these connections, the “missing link” is what it’s always been called, that we’re not just going to reject it and say, that can’t be because that runs in the face of my religion. Are we going to accept that there could be climate change and man could be causing it, and we better damn well do some changes if that’s the case?
All I want is an understanding of how reasonable we’re being in understanding the world that God gave us. That’s all I’m asking. And you say we’re all trying to understand it together.
Tom Tancredo: That’s a wonderful way to put it, the world that God gave us, all of us I think are looking exactly for that answer, that understanding. And I appreciate the way you put it, because frankly, I don’t think there’s a heck of a lot of argument here, although we’ve done we’ve done a pretty good job for seven minutes or so.
Chris Matthews: Well I appreciate that. Thank you for coming on, but I think we got way of the course of our secular beliefs, which I think I’d like to stick to. But I’m trying to figure out, if we’re every going to understand this argument over climate change, unless we accept the fact that we’re trying to get the truth, and not simply always stepping back and saying, I’m skeptical of all this, and just ending the conversation there. At some point you have to have a method of understanding truth, and make some assumptions, or else you’re stuck in the mud.
Thank you Tom Tancredo, run for president again. We’ll cover you.
Tom Tancredo: Next time. We’ll do it again.
--These are two theories, we should present both of them.
--And I’m just saying to you, they’re equally valuable.
--you just have to say that these people believe that there was something that designed all of this. You can call it god or….
Both are just “theories” eh…
Here’s my theory:
Me: By characterizing ID as science-worthy, Tancredo attempts to raise the theological tenets of ID to the level of scientific inquiry.In essence, my theory can beat up your theory, Tom. But try the quantum physics guys, I hear they're looking for the "God particle."
Matthews nails it in the end though.
Chris Matthews: But I’m trying to figure out, if we’re every going to understand this argument over climate change, unless we accept the fact that we’re trying to get the truth, and not simply always stepping back and saying, I’m skeptical of all this, and just ending the conversation there. At some point you have to have a method of understanding truth, and make some assumptions, or else you’re stuck in the mud."At some point you have to have a method of understanding truth, and make some assumptions, or else you’re stuck in the mud."
Well fortunately there’s
Unlike the “theory” of Intelligent Design, the “theory” of evolution employs the use of scientific inquiry for its information.
The scientific method, and the use of Scientific Inquiry is a fact, and can be proven. Also, scientific inquiry is based on the use of logic, and Logic requires critical thinking, and as we all know, critical thinking is of the devil... ...but I digress.
A Google search for “scientific inquiry” brought up these:
1) Scientific inquiry is a term that encompasses a variety of techniques that scientists use to explore the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence they find.
2) Basic Skills of Scientific Inquiry:
· Classifying and sequencing
· Defining, controlling, and manipulating variable in experimentation
· Designing, constructing and interpreting models
· Interpreting, analyzing and evaluating data
3) Scientific Inquiry and Higher Order Thinking Skills
For more information on this fake controversy, please visit Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial