Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution

Posted on October 16th, 2005 in Commentary by EngineerBoy

From the perspective of science, evolution is a fact, in the same way that gravity is a fact. It can be observed through the fossil record, and the scientific community has no doubts that life on Earth has evolved over time. This again matches gravity, as scientists can readily observe that objects with mass do not float away from the earth and into space unless acted upon by an outside force.

The “theory” part of evolution has to do with the exact explanation of how and why organisms evolve over time. Nobody knows for certain the precise combination of factors that result in evolution over time. This again precisely matches gravity, where nobody really knows exactly and precisely how and why gravity works.

So, scientifically speaking, both gravity and evolution are described by “theories”, which are logical frameworks describing the behaviors, while also presenting possible or probable explanations for the phenomenon. However, the fact that the exact mechanisms behind gravity and evolution are unknown does not mean that they do not exist.

Also, science in no way excludes the possibility that evolution is guided by an unseen force or intelligence, any more so than it excludes the possibility that gravity is caused by individual angels assigned to hold every single person, animal, and grain of sand against the earth. However, while science does not exclude these possible explanations, it is not the realm of science to search for spiritual or supernatural explanations for phenomena. It is the realm of science to search for natural explanations to describe the world around us.

From my perspective, the following are true:

Evolution = Science

Creationism = Faith

Intelligent Design = Philosophy (or faith disguised as philosophy masquerading as science)

And here are some definitions used in the further discussion below:

Scientific Method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method.

Faith: (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion (3) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Philosophy: a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means.

There should be no debate about any of the above being taught in the appropriate venue. However, Creationism and Intelligent Design have as much place in a Science class as Evolution does in a Religion class. They don’t have anything to do with each other.

However, there is a constant hue and cry, mostly by conservative Christians, to either suppress the teaching of evolution in science class, or to include creationism and/or intelligent design in the same venue. One presumes that this is because many Christians reject evolution outright and so do not

The NFL Should Bench Its Blackout Rules

Posted on October 14th, 2005 in Commentary,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy

Are you ready for some football? Too bad...

The NFL has blackout rules that impact what games can be televised in which areas. If your TV provider does not broadcast within 75 miles of a city with an NFL team, these rules do not apply and your local affiliates can show any of the games available from their parent network.

However, if your TV provider broadcasts within 75 miles of an NFL city, you are definitely impacted by these rules, which are shown in complete detail at the bottom of this article. Functionally, the blackout rules work as follows:

Rule Number One: If the home team is playing at home, and does not sell out by 72 hours prior to game time, then the local affiliates cannot show this game. The purpose of this rule is to get more people to the stadium to watch the game, which benefits the team owner. You see, the NFL divides up TV revenues among the teams, but the individual team owners get to keep all their stadium/ticket/concession revenues.

Rule Number Two: If the home team is playing at home and manages to sell out prior to 72 hours prior to game time, and the local affiliate shows the game, no other NFL games can be shown on other channels while the home team game is on. I guess that this rule is designed to drive more viewers to the affiliate/network showing the home team?

The stated purpose of these rules is to preserve/enhance the revenues for the home team (Rule Number One) and home network affiliate (Rule Number Two). However, this is extraordinarily flawed logic. I’ll give you an example of similarly flawed logic – my mother used to work for the County Tax Assessor/Collector Office, which also handled license plates for the State of Texas. At one time vanity plates were available for about $25, and the state sold a whole lot of them. Some brainiac in the state government said, hey, if we charged $75 each, we’d make three times more money! So they raised the price to $75, and ended up with vanity plate revenues that were half of what they were at $25, because so many people stopped buying the plates at the new, higher price. This is exactly what the NFL is doing…driving away lifelong fans (customers) in pursuit of short-term revenue (instead of long-term profit).

MTVFL?

The NFL does not seem to understand that their short-sighted blackout rules, while perhaps improving revenue for a weekend, or maybe even a season, has the long-term effect of driving fans away from the NFL. You see, today the American consumer is inundated with entertainment options. Movies, TV, music, DVD, TiVo, Pay Per View, Movies on Demand, etc. And television now has 100’s of channels with thousands of programs, and although most are unwatchable (in my opinion), one man’s dreck is another man’s favorite show.

In the midst of this cacophony, the National Football