Monday, August 15, 2005

Intelligent design is not science

Intelligent design has been all over the news lately, due to President Bush's comments that it should be taught alongside evolution in schools. Obviously, these statements have provoked the ire of the scientific community. Intelligent design does not directly oppose evolution, but theorizes that the complexity of life and nature are evidence of a guiding hand or unseen force and not the result of the process of natural selection, originally proposed by Charles Darwin. Is this possible? Yes. Is it science? Not at all. A philosophy or a religious belief, but perhaps, but not biology. There is no experimental or analytical evidence to support it. Evolution, on the other hand, is widely accepted by the scientific community, and is an essential component of a proper scientific education. Would any university be taken seriously if it taught Creationism and Intelligent Design in biology classes? Of course not. This article points out that evolution is taught matter-of-factly at religious institutions, like Notre Dame and Brigham Young. The earth is round, it rotates around the sun, and evolution is real. None of these facts mean that God doesn't exist. However, theories based upon faith, philosophies, and religious beliefs do not belong in the science classroom.

10 comments:

Brou said...

The real issue here is not whether it is accepted science, but whether it is an introduction of religion into public schools, and more broadly, whether teaching this in the public schools constitutes an "establishment of religion" by the govt. The opposition to this on the basis that it's not "real science" is silly, because it looks like the opponents are afraid of the real debate. Just let the school districts teach it, and make sure they don't adopt Christianity, and everything will be ok legally, and eventually, the real scientific view will come out.

eileen said...

You're right about the place of religion in schools being the primary issue, but I just stuck with the scientific analysis because that's what I know best. In my opinion, teaching I.D. would be like teaching an alternative theory of gravity, in which an unseen guiding hand pulls objects to the ground.

Brou said...

I thought we were pushed to the ground by mediochloriants.

Adam said...

Definitely with Eileen on this one...

So, we are going to empower school districts to pepper the curriculum with what "feels right" even if it is not supported by evidence? Should we allow a district to offer holocaust revisionism as a possible alternative to traditional teaching?

As a history teacher, I encourage my students to separate what is simply accepted from what is actually supported by evidence. However, intelligent design is based on emotion and belief and nothing else. Here is a case of religion/emotion being shrouded with fuzzy science. There is no evidence here and no teacher should be asked to present this religious flim-flam.

eileen said...

Whoa, looks like I'm not the only one who thought of the gravity analogy. The Onion did me one better, calling it "Intelligent Falling".

http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?issue=4133&n=2

eileen said...

oops, sorry about the busted link. just click on The Onion in the links column on the left if you want to see the aforementioned article.

Anonymous said...

So... are you trying to tell me we're descended from monkeys and apes??? I mean, come on now, monkeys?! Have you ever actually seen a monkey? Oh, what wacky ideas you "scientists" come up with!!!

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