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PUSH: “Science is not a threat to a moral world.”

I blame my liveblogging backlog on two things: my email and physicist/cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, today’s first speaker–not really: actually I blame the confluence of the two. I (rudely!) checked my email as he began his talk and, for those 30 seconds, I lost track of the trajectory of Krauss’ brilliant, rapidfire discussion on the shape, […]

I blame my liveblogging backlog on two things: my email and physicist/cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, today’s first speaker–not really: actually I blame the confluence of the two. I (rudely!) checked my email as he began his talk and, for those 30 seconds, I lost track of the trajectory of Krauss’ brilliant, rapidfire discussion on the shape, size, age, and expansion of the universe. I won’t even try to sort through it all (the concavity or flatness of the universe, the 11 or 12 dimensions investigated by string theorists, the essence of “dark matter,” Einstein’s axiom that space curves in the presence of matter, to name a mind-blowing few).

What did make sense to a right-brainer like me was Krauss’ thinking on so-called intelligent design. “There’s no evidence of design in nature. None!” he says, equating the alternative to evolution as a fear of science. The vast number of species that once existed are now extinct. Is that intelligent design? George W. Bush advocates for teaching “both sides” of the evolution/ID debate, says Krauss, but notes a contradiction: “With avian flu, you don’t hear him saying ‘it’s been designed, we’re going to die.’ They turn to science.”

One of the problems with such debate–aside from the fact that there is no “side” represented by ID, as the only commonality as Krauss sees it between its various proponents is an opposition to evolution–is adhering a particiular belief system to it. “Science is independent of questions of purpose,” he says, relating the story of Belgian priest Georges Lemaitre, who urged Pope Pius to retract a statement that science had “proven” the book of Genesis.

“ Only when we are willing to accept the Universe for what it is, without fear, will we be able to build a just society,” Krauss says. “Science is not a threat to a moral world.”

And: Don’t miss the trailer for Flock of Dodos, a soon-to-be-released documentary on intelligent design and other “alternative belief” systems.