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Intellegent Design vs. Theory

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Religion in Schools – Intelligent Design vs. Theory Stephanie C. Hansen Western International University April, 2006

Intelligent Design should be taught in schools, not only viewed as a religious theory. The debate continues on what roles the school should take on controversies regarding Theory of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. Opponents insist that this is a “veiled way” of getting religion into the classroom, and that it should not be allowed. One of the main reasons to have Freedom of Speech is so “Truth” can emerge from vigorous debate on all sides of every important issue. Why then should we Americans ever want to suppress the free discussion of important issues in our public schools? (William McGinnis, 2006) Opponents would insist that Intelligent Design has no part in science. On the contrary, the more Intelligent Design is argued, the more scientific it proves to be. In the book Darwin’s Black Box (Behe) the author contends that “Darwin’s response is no longer adequate because of scientific advances that have occurred since Darwin’s death”. Thus, the Theory of Evolution deserves to be revisited. It wasn’t until after his (Darwin’s) death those life forms could be inspected on a molecular level. Therefore, it would also be “scientific” to re-evaluate the Intelligent Design concept on a scientific level since it has been determined “scientifically” that “even in their most basic forms, various organisms are so complex that they could not have resulted in evolution alone”.... (M Behe, 2005) “... a cell is an irreducibly complex organism that requires all of its components to function and therefore cannot be created piecemeal”... or by random which is what evolution would suggest. The concept of design may appeal to some evolutionary theists, particularly because some of the scientists affiliated with the design movement accept parts of the theory of evolution. The Theory of Evolution relies on natural processes to influence change among and within species. However, evolutionists disagree about the degree to which a divine being was or is involved in determining the laws of nature that dictate those natural processes, most feel one never existed. There is controversy over both views. However, there is no scientific proof against or for either the Theory of Evolution or Intelligent Design. It therefore reasons both theories should be rightfully and equally examined and that Intelligent Design should be included in the classroom, whether taught in Science, Social Studies or Philosophy.
For at least the last 30 years, Americans have been divided between belief in the theory of evolution and in the concept of creationism or as some call it intelligent design. A September 2005 Gallup Poll confirmed the division has remained roughly constant. The poll revealed 31 percent of Americans believe humans evolved from other life forms with divine assistance, 12 percent believe humans evolved from other life forms without divine assistance and 53 percent of Americans believe that humans were created directly “as is” by a diving being at some point within the past 10,000 years, See Chart 1. Therefore, it appears that the majority of Americans support the idea of Intelligent Design.

Chart 1A

[pic] Similar opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans don't believe that the Theory of Evolution is the best explanation for our own origins. A November 2004 Gallup poll, for example, found that only 13 percent of respondents said they believed that God had no part in the evolution or creation of human beings, and 38 percent said they thought humans evolved from less-advanced forms but that God guided the process. About 45 percent said they believed that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 or so years. (J. Eagle, 2005) these results echoed similar Gallup polls dating to 1982. (Downloaded on 5/19/06 www.nais.org) Again, this indicates the vast majority of Americans support the concept of Intelligent Design.
Chart 1B
[pic]
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and take a standardized test of which evolution is a part. Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The “Theory” is not a proven fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. Darwin’s Theory suggests that a theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that considers a broad range of observations. However, design is also an explanation of the origin of life, and therefore a theory itself. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. Why should the controversies regarding recent “scientific developments” regarding the possible flaws in the “Theory” not be brought into consideration? Intelligent Design debates those possible flaws and gives scientific rebuttal; therefore it has earned a place in the classroom as another theory. Rita Braver (CBS News Sunday Morning October 2005) examines the controversy over design. Braver interviewed John Haught, research professor of theology Georgetown University who stated “There’s a point in our quest for understanding, it seems to me, where the question of what the ultimate explanation of things is, is quite legitimate and needs to be asked. But science does not ask ultimate questions." (J. Haught, 2005) Many evolutionists argue that there has not been adequate scientific research regarding Intelligent Design. However, the Seattle based “Discovery Institute” produced a video stating, "There is, in fact, no entity in the known universe that stores and processes information more efficiently than the DNA molecule. Every DNA has 3 billion individual characteristics." (Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture) Stephen Meyer, who holds a doctorate in the history of science, and is director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture states “we’re seeing something that, in any other realm of experience, would trigger an awareness of design”. The article further suggested that we think the best inference is that things were actually designed. Meyer suggested that design is based entirely on observable scientific evidence, and that it’s not creationist theory. William McGinnis, of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture stated: “The underlying premise of design, is that recent advances in molecular biology have enabled scientists for the first time to peer into the inner workings of a single cell, revealing mechanisms so complex that they couldn’t possibly have evolved by chance and must have been deliberately designed, especially when it comes to DNA which is the building block of life”. There is scientific evidence for Intelligent Design as there is for the Theory of Evolution, both should be revealed so that the students can compare the research and come to their own conclusions. Not have the conclusion forced upon them. Therefore, Intelligent Design should be entertained as an option. This Poll (downloaded on May 19, 2006 from www.warwick.net) asked… “In your opinion: in what type of class, if at all, should intelligent design be taught in public schools? 65% stated that it should be in the school curriculum, and 35 percent disagreed. The first 40 votes were categorized as follows: 45 percent stated it should be taught in Science, 20 percent in Social Studies and 35 percent stated it shouldn’t be taught in a public school at all as shown in Chart 2 Chart 2
[pic]
This is not a fresh debate. Since the 1920’s Americans have debated whether the nation’s public schools should teach creationism, the Christian belief that God created all human beings. A public-opinion survey conducted in 1999 Found that more than two-thirds of Americans support the inclusion of creationism in a public school curriculum that includes evolution. By comparison, 40% of respondents say that creationism teachings should entirely replace evolution lessons in the classroom (Source: Gallup Organization) See Chart 3 on the next page.
.

|Chart 3 |

[pic] There are scientific advances that need to be addressed. There is sufficient evidence that Americans embrace the idea of Intelligent Design and want it incorporated, at some level, in our schools curriculum. There is scientific research which supports Intelligent Design. The only other opposing idea is that Intelligent Design is the same as Creationism and therefore religion in disguise. However, Evolution is atheism in disguise, just a different view of those beliefs. (Webster’s Dictionary: religion . a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices - ) The practice of worship, specific attitudes beliefs and practices is not what Intelligent Design is intended to instruct. Intelligent design is a theory on the origin of life. That theory is perceived by many different religions, and even those who are not “religious”. Intelligent Design should be included in our classroom curriculum. Teaching tolerance and respect for different ideas, religious or otherwise is often about embracing new ideas that are not familiar to a particular group’s belief or views. When we fail to allow for creative solutions or personal judgments we are robbing are youth of creativity and personal development. When we fail to address controversies, we are failing to educate our children in debate, moreover, denying their individuality. Our youth deserve all the facts, they deserve to come to their own conclusions and embrace their own ideas. Intelligent Design should be one of those options.

References

A Matter of Relevance, Dowling-Sendor, Benjamin, American School Board Journal; May 2006, Vol. 193 Issue 5, p46-47, 2p
Seeing Government Purpose Through the Objective Observer’s Eyes: The Evolution-Design Debates, Kristi L. Bowman, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Cambridge, Spring 2006. Vol. 29, Issue 2
Religion in Nonsectarian Schools – Jeremy Eagle, National Association of Independent Schools; Resources and Statistics (downloaded on 5/19/2006 www.nais.org)
Can’t Argue with That - Stanley Schmidt. Analog Science Fiction & Fact. New York: Jun 2006 Vol. 126, Iss. 6; pg. 4, 4 pgs
As Courts debate, kids deal with impact of design. New York Amsterdam News; 11/17/2005, Vol 96 Issue 47, p18, 1p, 1bw
Intelligent Design vs. Theory of Evolution; Let the truth emerge, William McGinnis Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture http://www.officialwire.com April 30, 2006.…...

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