O'Reilly Defends Intelligent Design - Your Belly Laugh for the Day
Reported by Marie Therese - January 19, 2005
Thomas Aquinas, move over. There's a new kid on the block and his name is Ignatius Loyola O'Reilly! When I first heard the topic of this segment I thought. oh, no, not another polemic defending creationism. I had intended to just ignore it until I actually listened to O'Reilly trying to be an apologist for God and making a fool of himself. I don't know how his guest, Dr. Michael Grant, Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, kept a straight face. I couldn't stop laughing and wondered if the reason Bill left teaching was because his students couldn't stop either! Here it is - the transcript of this milestone in Christian apologetics! For those of you truly interested in the way in which science handles new input and eventually arrives at a new theory, you might want to check out The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn.
O'Reilly: Top Story Tonight. Spurred on by the ACLU and other so-called freedom groups, a nationwide controversy has erupted over teaching Intelligent Design in public school biology classes. Intelligent Design is the belief that a higher power created the universe. Some Americans want it taught alongside evolution. In the Dover, Pennsylvania school district, teachers wouldn't even mention Intelligent Design, so today the District Superintendent had to do it. Lawsuits are flyin'. Joining us today is Michael Grant, a Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado.
See, I can't understand, as a former high school teacher myself, why you can't just say "Well, some people believe there's a deity and the deity formed the universe and things progressed from there?" What would be wrong with that, Professor?
GRANT: Well, my view of what would be wrong with that is it's not science. And that's not the place to talk about those kinds of things. The proper place to talk about those kinds of issues is in comparative religion. It's in the philosophy classes. Biology classes should be science.
O'Reilly: OK. But science is incomplete in this area of creationism, is it not?
GRANT: Science is always incomplete in all areas.
O'Reilly: Well, I don't agree with that. Science is not always incomplete and I'll give you an example. There are twenty-four hours in a day. Alright. That's science. And there are four seasons. That's science. So you can state things with certainty in biology or any other science you want. However, if I'm a student in your class and you're telling me, well, there might have been a meteor or big bang or there might have been this or there might have been that, I'm gonna raise my hand like the wise guy I am and say "Professor, might there be a higher power that contributed to the fact that we're all here?" and you say - what?
GRANT: I say that's something you need to question, you need to think about, you need to discuss with other people. You need to do that in the proper class. In the biology class we deal with science, with the natural world and what fits our conventional concepts of science.
O'Reilly: But, what if it turns out there is a God and He did create the universe and you die and then you figure that out? Aren't you gonna feel bad that you didn't address that in your biology class?
GRANT: Well, to quote a famous quote ...
O'Reilly (overtalks all words): Cause then it would be science, wouldn't it? You know, if tomorrow the deity came down and proved himself, then it would be science, wouldn't it, sir?
GRANT: If it meets the convention standards - whatever it is you're referring to - meets science, then I certainly would be convinced. And, until and unless that happens, I'm going to go on teaching what I see is current science.
O'Reilly: Alright. See. I think this is a narrow-minded view, with all due respect, that you are holding. But I must point out to our viewers that most academics agree with the professor. Alright. It's pinheads like me that cause trouble. Now. Cloning of human beings. It's never been done that we know of. Would you agree with that?
GRANT: To the best of my knowledge, it has not yet been done. That's correct.
O'Reilly (overtalks the last 8 words): OK. Now. Do you not talk about cloning of human beings in biology class? Do you not talk about the possibility that may come about in the future?
GRANT: In certain special classes and the bioethics classes, we definitely do talk about that....
O'Reilly (overtalks last 3 words): Yeah. It's not science, sir!!
GRANT: ...whether it could or should be done. It's very much science.
O'Reilly: Yeah. It's not science, is it?
GRANT: There's an enormous amount of science in it.
O'Reilly: It's not!
O'Reilly: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! It's not science. It hasn't been done.
GRANT: Yes, it is.
O'Reilly: So, by your theory in the creationism deal, you shouldn't talk about that at all, because it hasn't been done, it hasn't been proven, nothing's happened there!
GRANT: That's not the definition of science and I never said that was the definition of science - that it hasn't been done and it hasn't been proven. What I'm saying is that we use conventional information about what our best understanding of the natural world is at this point in time. Of course it can change. I can give you lots of examples of where we have to change. That's the nature of science. It does not take a biblical or any particular source as unchanging truth. We continually test. We continually monitor. We continually change.
O'Reilly (overtalks last 6 words): I wouldn't teach the Bible. I - see, I agree that I wouldn't say "Look, you guys should read Genesis and do the Adam and Eve nuh" - if I were professor of biology, I wouldn't, I wouldn't do that. But I would say "Look, there are a lot of very brilliant scholars who believe the reason we have incomplete science on evolution is that there is a higher power involved in this and you should consider it as a scientist." I don't think there's anything wrong with that, Professor. And I think the people like the ACLU, who don't want you to mention it in your biology class, are the Taliban. I think THEY are the ones that are infringing on the rights of all American students by not allowing that to be at least considered. I'll give you the last word.
GRANT: I think it should be considered in the classes that I mentioned. But you don't start from the premise that Dembski, who's one of the leading members of the Intelligent Design group, says. [Reads] "As Christians, we know naturalism is false." If you start from that premise ...
O'Reilly: Nah. I wouldn't do that.
GRANT: ... you've abandoned science.
O'Reilly: Sure. I mean ..
GRANT: Well, that's one of your leading Intelligent Design individuals.
O'Reilly: But it's not me! And I'm sayin' you guys are all wrong by not allowing a biology class to consider the universe in all the forms that it may take. Professor, we appreciate your point of view. Thanks very much.