THE PANDA BEAR
I want to add some insights and observations to the nonsensical discussion about intelligent design. Not only is intelligent design another version of creationism masquerading as a new idea, it is a dishonest attempt to accomplish what creationism has failed to do-impose a Christian fundamentalism in the public schools of our country. This anti-modernity response to the 21st century drives me nuts. Not only is this an attempt to morph right-wing Christianity further into the political landscape of pluralistic America, but this Luddite-like mentality turns its back upon the future.
The creationism/intelligent design brouhaha is one of the least important issues facing America today. Come on now, aren't there other more critical debates begging discussion? What about rebuilding the hurricane-racked Gulf region? It is also apparent that the pronouncement of "mission accomplished" in Iraq needs more work. In addition, there is a war of terrorism going on, which also needs addressing. If that hasn't filled our plates, we need to look at the trade-offs of freedom for security in the post 9/11 world. Nevertheless, the radical-right wants to revisit the Scopes' Monkey Trial again-for the millionth time.
How does one get through to those that think that they are defending God? Then one day I experienced a divine epiphany while multitasking (reading term papers and watching the 10 o'clock news). I heard in the background, a reporter talking about the panda cub at the zoo in Washington, DC. She waxed poetic about the baby panda, Tai Shan, and the mania accompanying his coming out party. Then it dawned upon me-the proof that would disprove intelligent design. Finally, I had the irrefutable proof that will finally end this debate. The proof is the panda bear. That's correct-the panda bear.
Last spring, I took a group of university students to China as a part of a class that I was teaching. We traveled about China experiencing firsthand that vast Asian nation. One of the stops was Chengdu in central China. A couple hours drive outside Chengdu is the Wolong Panda Reserve where Chinese authorities work at repopulating the diminishing numbers of pandas. The visit to Wolong was a highlight for all my students even though pandas weren't a part of the history and philosophy curriculum.
Visitors at the Wolong Panda Reserve can wander along paths that meander through the park and observe some of the pandas. You can also visit the panda neonatal facilities (where more care is given to pandas than is often given to Chinese children-especially infant girls). If the intelligent design group joisting Darwin, et al, had visited Wolong once, all notion of intelligent design would dissipate like the morning mist at Wolong. Spend a couple hours watching panda bears, and you will wonder how the panda has made it this far in evolution. There was no intelligent design when it comes to the creation of the cuddly panda. Indeed, the panda should be the poster child for the Darwinian position and the idea of the survival of the fittest. Without the labor and financial intensive efforts of thousands of people, the panda would have long since joined other evolutionary mistakes like the dodo bird. The following are a handful of obvious examples that disprove intelligent design and in particular that some wise entity worked on the panda project millions of years ago.
All in all, the cuddly panda dispels the notion of intelligent design. I left the Wolong Panda Reserve amazed that the panda even with human assistance has not long become extinct.