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Scientists and thinkers conversant with the language of science often find themselves baffled by the intransigence of religious conservatives over accepted scientific theory. The heart of this cultural battleground centers around the challenge to the theory of evolution and its proper place in public school curricula. Too often public commentary tries to reduce this intransigence to ignorance or superstition. Scientists and their supporters fail to understand that metaphors of intention and design are deeply embedded in the theory of evolution—including metaphors such as “mechanism” and “selection.” The use of these metaphors undermines attempts to remove teleology from the language of science even when scientists try to explain their use is metaphoric. Nor can those metaphors be removed from the theoretical lexicon without impoverishing the language of science. So long as design metaphors remain essential to scientific explanation, those theories will fail to convince religious conservatives and force science to compete for public attention with creationism and theoretical chimeras such as intelligent design.
|Keywords:||Metaphor, Metaphoric Thinking, Scientific Theory, Education, Public Policy, Design, Intention, Teleology|
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