Mailvox: questions for a conference

RR asks if anyone has any suggestions for questions he might ask at an evolution speech:

I was wondering if you and the ilk could help me come up with some questions to ask a speaker at an upcoming speech entitled “Evolution, Education, and Intelligent Design“?

I thought the following would generate a certain amount of brain-twisting and possible red-face and sputtering:

1. Could you tell me the practical advantages in scientific experiments that knowledge of evolutionary theory brings that would not be available to someone holding to some theory of intelligent design or young-earth creationism?

2. What predictability advantage comes from a thorough adherence to evolution rather than intelligent design theory?

These are good questions. As anyone who follows science knows, biology tends to follow one of two tracks, either the “do something useful with genetics” track or “keep attempting to prove TENS track”. There is very little, if any, connection between the two, and in fact, one could make an excellent case for the fact that wasting resources in attempts to prove TENS through “consistent with” results has been a much greater hindrance to advancing genetic science than the sum total of anti-scientific political efforts of the last fifty years.

And since the subject directly concerns education, another pair of useful questions might be these:

3. Since most biological science does not utilize evolutionary theory and because only a very small percentage of students will go on to study biology in college, why should any high school students be forced to study either the theory of evolution by natural selection or the intelligent design hypothesis?

4. A significant and increasing percentage of high school students are unable to read or do math at an age-appropriate level. What is the benefit of teaching evolutionary theory or intelligent design to a student who cannot read or do the necessary math that is required to understand even the most basic scientific concepts.

Anyone else have ideas?