Live video uitzending op 13 maart om 14.50 vanuit de Westerkerk in Amsterdam

Nieuwsbrief

Schrijf je in voor de nieuwsbrief
Intelligent Design? (2005)
Linguïstiek & Wetenschap

In dit korte artikel maakt Chomsky korte metten met de groepen in de VS die Intelligent Design willen doceren op scholen. Hun irrationalisme is ook op andere terreinen gevaarlijk.

Khaleej Times, October 6, 2005

President George W. Bush favours teaching both evolution and "Intelligent Design" in schools, "so people can know what the debate is about." To proponents, Intelligent Design is the notion that the universe is too complex to have developed without a nudge from a higher power than evolution or natural selection.

To detractors, Intelligent Design is creationism — the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis — in a thin guise, or simply vacuous, about as interesting as "I don’t understand," as has always been true in the sciences before understanding is reached. Accordingly, there cannot be a "debate."

The teaching of evolution has long been difficult in the United States. Now a national movement has emerged to promote the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools.

The issue has famously surfaced in a courtroom in Dover, Pa., where a school board is requiring students to hear a statement about Intelligent Design in a biology class — and parents mindful of the Constitution’s church/state separation have sued the board.

In the interest of fairness, perhaps the president’s speechwriters should take him seriously when they have him say that schools should be open-minded and teach all points of view. So far, however, the curriculum has not encompassed one obvious point of view: Malignant Design.

Unlike Intelligent Design, for which the evidence is zero, malignant design has tons of empirical evidence, much more than Darwinian evolution, by some criteria: the world’s cruelty. Be that as it may, the background of the current evolution/intelligent design controversy is the widespread rejection of science, a phenomenon with deep roots in American history that has been cynically exploited for narrow political gain during the last quarter-century. Intelligent Design raises the question whether it is intelligent to disregard scientific evidence about matters of supreme importance to the nation and world — like global warming.

An old-fashioned conservative would believe in the value of Enlightenment ideals — rationality, critical analysis, freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry — and would try to adapt them to a modern society. The Founding Fathers, children of the Enlightenment, championed those ideals and took pains to create a Constitution that espoused religious freedom yet separated church and state. The United States, despite the occasional messianism of its leaders, isn’t a theocracy.

In our time, the Bush administration’s hostility to scientific inquiry puts the world at risk. Environmental catastrophe, whether you think the world has been developing only since Genesis or for eons, is far too serious to ignore. In preparation for the G8 summit this past summer, the scientific academies of all G8 nations (including the US National Academy of Sciences), joined by those of China, India and Brazil, called on the leaders of the rich countries to take urgent action to head off global warming.

"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify prompt action," their statement said. "It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."

In its lead editorial, The Financial Times endorsed this "clarion call," while observing: "There is, however, one holdout, and unfortunately it is to be found in the White House where George W. Bush insists we still do not know enough about this literally world-changing phenomenon."

Dismissal of scientific evidence on matters of survival, in keeping with Bush’s scientific judgment, is routine. A few months earlier, at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, leading US climate researchers released "the most compelling evidence yet" that human activities are responsible for global warming, according to The Financial Times. They predicted major climatic effects, including severe reductions in water supplies in regions that rely on rivers fed by melting snow and glaciers.

Other prominent researchers at the same session reported evidence that the melting of Arctic and Greenland ice sheets is causing changes in the sea’s salinity balance that threaten "to shut down the Ocean Conveyor Belt, which transfers heat from the tropics toward the polar regions through currents such as the Gulf Stream." Such changes might bring significant temperature reduction to northern Europe.

Like the statement of the National Academies for the G8 summit, the release of "the most compelling evidence yet" received scant notice in the United States, despite the attention given in the same days to the implementation of the Kyoto protocols, with the most important government refusing to take part.

It is important to stress "government." The standard report that the United States stands almost alone in rejecting the Kyoto protocols is correct only if the phrase "United States" excludes its population, which strongly favours the Kyoto pact (73 per cent, according to a July poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes).

Perhaps only the word "malignant" could describe a failure to acknowledge, much less address, the all-too-scientific issue of climate change. Thus the "moral clarity" of the Bush administration extends to its cavalier attitude toward the fate of our grandchildren.

 

Over Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky Wereldbekende linguïst en activist. Tussen 1980 en 1992 was hij de meest geciteerde levende persoon. Verkozen tot belangrijkste intellectueel ter wereld.

Lees, kijk en luister Chomsky over:

Nieuwe artikelen en video's van Chomsky

Noam Chomsky: De vernietiging van de 'commons'

chommakHoe de Magna Carta een Minor Carta Werd. Het duurt nog enkele generaties voordat de Magna Carta, een van die grootse gebeurtenissen in de ontwikkeling van burger- en mensenrechten, duizend jaar zal bestaan. Het is nog niet geheel duidelijk of men tegen die tijd het duizendjarige bestaan van de Magna Carta zal vieren, betreuren of negeren. Dat is een zaak waar we ons nu zorgen over dienen te maken. Wat we nu doen, of achterwege laten, zal bepalen hoe de wereld eruit zal zien waarin die gebeurtenis al dan niet herdacht zal worden. Als de huidige tendensen onbelemmerd in stand blijven, zijn de vooruitzichten niet gunstig – niet in de laatste plaats omdat de Magna Carta voor onze ogen aan stukken wordt gescheurd.

Lees meer...
 
Noam Chomsky & Anthony Arnove ter nagedachtenis van Howard Zinn

Chomsky spreekt samen met Anthony Arnove ter nagedachtenis van Howard Zinn op 5 november 2011. Ze bespreken ondermeer (radicaal) passivisme, Occupy Wall Street, en het gedachtengoed en euvre van Howard Zinn.

{youtube}XvVlM5RlSe0{/youtube}

Lees meer...
 
Unpeople - 7th Edward Said Memorial Lecture

Chomsky spreekt op 5 november 2011 bij de 7e Edward Said Memorial Lezing in Australie genaamd "Unpeople".

{youtube}THrzcR6BF9w{/youtube}

Datum: Nov. 5, 2011

Lees meer...
 
The responsibility of intellectuals, redux. Using privilege to challenge the state

chomskyIn 1967, as the Vietnam War escalated, Noam Chomsky penned The Responsibility of Intellectuals, a stunning rebuke to scientists and scholars for their subservience to political power. Today we face a similar array of crises, from wars to escalating debt. What are the obligations of intellectuals in this day and age?

Original: Noam Chomsky, “The responsibility of intellectuals, redux. Using privilege to challenge the state”, Boston Review (September/October 2011)

Lees meer...
 
Was there an alternative? Looking back on 9/11 a decade later (nieuw boek)

wasHet nieuwste boek van Noam Chomsky is een heruitgave van zijn bestseller over 9/11, met een nieuw essay eraan toegevoegd. Dit essay, een terugblik op de afgelopen 10 jaar en de liquidatie van Osama Bin Laden, wordt hier als voorproefje gepubliceerd. Onderaan vind je een link naar de uitgever van het boek.

 

 

 

Lees meer...