One Reply to “Here’s the Khan Academy education vid, attacking intelligent design

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    landru says:

    I noticed this last year and sent Khan the following feedback. He did not respond.

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    From: _snip_
    Date: Feb 23, 2010
    Subject: Feedback on “Introduction to Evolution and Natural Selection”
    To: sal@khanacademy.org
    Hi, Mr. Khan.

    First of all, what an awesome project your Academy is. What a generous and gracious use of your time.

    I think your piece on Intelligent Design has several problems. The issues begin right away with the definition of ID that you use. You say that ID is the idea that some things we see are so amazing, it seems hard to believe that it could be the product of random processes. This is not the definition of ID that the proponents of ID use. I am sure you agree that if one is to examine a claim, that one should allow those making the claim to define what it is that they are claiming. The concepts of amazingness, profoundness and awe-inspiration are not in any way part of the claim of the ID proponents. Neither is the notion of perfection. ID does not use any notion of perfection.

    ID’s claim is that certain structures or phenomena in nature are best explained by design and that design detection can be done in nature using essentially the same kinds of methods that are used to detect design in fields such as archeology, forensic medicine and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Of course, there are theological implications to ID, and sure, most ID proponents believe that the designer is God. Your talk focuses only on the implications of ID, not on its actual claims.

    There are theological implications of evolution by natural selection. Let’s say for the sake of argument, though I would bet that it’s probably true, that most prominent evolutionary biologists believe that the truth of evolution means that there is no God, that we don’t need a God, or that if God exists, he plays at most a very remote role in creation. So what? Does that mean that Khan Academy should examine and present evolution in terms of these implications and not in terms of its scientific claims? Of course not. Then why so with ID?

    To your credit, you do admit to be making a theological argument when you examine questions such as whether the human body is the best that a perfect entity could produce. Your talk was a very interesting look at the question of whether evolution by natural selection is more awe-inspiring or less awe-inspiring than (your definition of) Intelligent Design. But wouldn’t you serve your community better by first explaining and examining the actual claims of and arguments of ID? It’s very easy to find material on ID by the very people developing the theory.

    Thank you for your time, I hope these comments are useful, and again, thank you for the work you are doing. I hope to watch more of your lectures and expect that if I continue to provide feedback, most will be more positive than this.

    _snip_

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