Page 97 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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flailing your arms around and you hit something? Have you a right to hit somebody? Well,
no. So do you have a right to do anything to the unborn child or are there limits? Of course
there are limits, just as much as there are limits to what you can do as a human being with
your own body, and you’ve now got another body which is associated with yours. While this
is really quite frightening if you’re pro-choice, if you’re anti-abortion then this sort of
rhetoric is sort of acceptable. But it’s a quite brilliant changing of the whole conversation,
and therefore it becomes in many ways much more difficult to argue against, because instead
of being framed in one way it’s being reframed. I’m not suggesting you frame the argument
in terms of anti-creationism in an irrational fashion, but ironically, they’re using their rhetoric
of science to validate something which invalidates science as not true.
Zack Kopplin:
Yes, and the creationists are brilliant at reframing the debate. The thing is,
they have to be now, because they’ve lost so many times in court with everything that’s easy
for them that they’ve had to get really, really good at sneaking it in. So this is no longer even
about creationism or intelligent design, it’s about academic freedom to teach the controversy,
to teach all the science, to teach the legitimate criticisms of evolution. And there are no
legitimate criticisms of Darwinism on a basic level. Sure, there’s controversy over cutting-
edge science – there always is – but that doesn’t belong in a high school science class. The
other key part about that is that it’s actually not a threat to evolution as a whole theory. I
mean, punctuated equilibrium versus any other type of evolution, that could be a controversy
you talk about in high school, but again, it’s nothing that actually threatens the theory as a
whole. So all this talk about teaching the flaws of Darwinism is always just a backdoor entry
for creationism. Another thing that gets brought up a lot is that it’s about equal time, putting
both sides of an issue, and fairness. Everyone likes fairness, right? This is the democracy of
science. The problem is that science isn’t a democracy. It’s the facts.
Woman 2:
I live in South Africa, and knowing that these things happen in the States is good
to hear, because we always think that we are like backward people at the end of the world.
But what’s interesting for me is that in Africa it’s easy. You know what is science and you
know what is not science, and there’s a clear distinction between indigenous knowledge or
community-based knowledge and scientific knowledge. In a sense these two oppose each
other very clearly, and there’s no claim from the one towards the other. But what seems to be
your argument and what makes it different is the sense that there are people trying to sell a
different kind of knowledge as being science and trying to institutionalize that knowledge or
that base or frame as science, which shifts and mingles the distinctions a little more, which
makes it more difficult to define what’s really the point. So in Africa it’s easy to decide
“Okay, that’s science and that’s not,” and even now in scientific courses in medicine, for
example, people are bringing in sangomas, who are traditional voodoo medicine doctors, and
medical students do a course on voodoo medicine in a sense, but there’s no contradiction in
terms of what is science, so it’s about trying to see what the influence is and how we can
reach people differently. I think yours is a discussion between how is one being framed as the
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