Friday, May 27, 2005

Ice and fairies

Thirty-three years ago when we first lived in the west of Ireland I was explaining to a neighbor, a country woman, how the glaciers had carved the bowl-shaped valley on the nearby mountain. Later, she asked me if we weren't frightened to stay at night on "the fairies' road" (ours was the only house up there on the hill).

I pooh-poohed the possibility of fairies.

She retorted: "'Tis easier to believe in fairies under the hill than ice on top."

And, of course, she was right.

Which has relevance to the current brouhaha over evolution vs. intelligent design. Intelligence design is the explanatory equivalent of "the fairies did it." If nothing else, it's easy.

Science takes work. Intelligent design takes no work at all. Which may help account for its popularity.