Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Intelligent Design Debate

This article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 26:

A Pennsylvania school district sought to add Bible-based creationism to its science curriculum when it imposed a new policy that required the reading of a statement about "intelligent design," according to lawyers representing the plaintiffs in a landmark case that opened in federal court yesterday.

"Board members in starkly religious terms changed the science curriculum to advance a specific religious viewpoint," said Eric Rothschild, a Philadelphia lawyer representing eight families in the Dover Area School District in York County.

Two civil-liberties groups representing the parents sued the school district last year in an effort to halt its policy requiring ninth-grade biology students to hear a statement about "intelligent design" as part of their lesson on evolution.

A school board attorney told the court that the curriculum change was "modest" and that the board's goal was to pursue a "legitimate educational purpose."


This whole debate is over a statement. A statement that simply states that the theory of evolution that is now being taught in schools is not the only theory out there, and that another theory that says the world was a result of "Intelligent design". That's all.

Read that one line again. The one about the civil liberties groups.

Oh yeah, They're all about free speech. As long as the speech doesn't disagree with their Atheistic, Communistic agenda.

So why the animosity against believers in Creation?

Because they (the atheists) know they are wrong and if they concede that point, they will have to admit, finally, that there is a God. Don't we all get upset when we find out we are wrong about something we have been passionate about?

Dr. Stephen J. Gould, recently deceased professor at Harvard University, said once that there have been more than a hundred major debates between evolutionists and creationists. Speaking to his fellow evolutionists, he said, "We should stop debating these people (Creationists)...because we have lost all hundred of those debates."

The reason that we can't get ID taught in schools is because whenever the evidence for creation is set down next to the evidence for evolution, the evolutionists always lose. Evolutionists know this and that is why they go to court.

Even given the opportunity to totally indoctrinate young minds to the theory of evolution as fact, the evolutionists have not been successful. Now, many of them are admitting that the evidence isn't there. But the idea that evolution is based on fact and ID is based on faith is exactly why they keep returning to court.

But is it true? Or is evolution based on faith?

Here is what some of evolution's greatest scholars say:

Professor Louis T. More, University of Cincinnati, said, "The more one studies the paleontological record, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone."

D.M.S. Watson who held the position of the Chair of Evolution at the University of London for more than twenty years, made the observation that the theory of evolution itself is universally accepted, "not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logical coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative-special creation-is clearly incredible."

Sir Arthur Keith(1866-1955), a British anatomist and anthropologist who wrote 20 books in defense of evolution, said, evolution is "unproved and unprovable" He said, "We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable."

Professor David Allbrook, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Western Australia, says that evolution is "a time-honored scientific tenet of faith."

Paul LeMoine, French evolutionist: "Evolution is a fairy tale for grownups."

Sir Julian Huxley, the grand nephew of Thomas Huxley, was in his day--probably the worlds most prestigious evolutionists was being interviewed on a National Public Television station. He was asked, "Why do you suppose that so many scientists accepted evolution so quickly?"

This is what he replied: "I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin Of the Species (Darwin's book)was because the idea of a God interfered with our sexual mores."

I return now to why civil rights organizations are so opposed to ID. Perhaps we can get some insight as to why from Thomas Huxley himself. For those of you who don't know, Thomas Huxley was Darwin's spokesman. It was he that engaged in debates on Darwin's behalf.

"It is clear," said Huxley, "that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of creation. Evolution, if consistently accepted, makes it impossible to believe in the Bible."

Note that schools are not asking that the Bible be taught in shools, only that a statement be read that evolution is not the only theory. And yet the opponents of ID want to suppress that statement. It has nothing to do with the Bible but they know if ID is taught it may cause some students to do research and find the Bible, and that is simply unacceptable to these atheists.

It would seem that their belief that there is no God is tenous at best, and they are perfectly aware of that fact.

That is why the ACLU and others are so anxious to remove it from school curriculum.

And still some people believe they are champions of free speech.

Resources: The Philadelphia Inquirer, via the Pew Forum

"The Resurgence of Creationism" by D. James Kennedy

23 comments:

jgaoehals14962 said...

Good article Mark.
Appreciate the follow up and the quotes.
God bless

Toad734 said...

The reason they loose these arguments is the same reason we loose arguments against Dolphins; they speak a different language and the creationists are unwilling to learn that language. It’s almost like Einstein trying to have a scientific debate with Rick James; why would he bother even trying?

You can't put creationism or faith in a science class because you can’t put it in a test tube or observe it. Plus, creationism isn't the only theory of creation. Does this mean we have to teach the Hindu, Aztec, Cherokee version of creation as well, along with the theory that Aliens interbred with apes? There is probably more evidence of those than there is for creationism. You want kids to have all sides considered right?

Creationists try to stage these debates all the time and of course real scientists don't participate because you can't argue against flawed logic. Creationist only try to poke holes in evolution, the only proof that the world was created in 6 days is the Bible and the Bible is not scientific evidence therefore it can't be used in their arguments.

Many people learned in elementary school that a theory falls in the middle of a hierarchy of certainty--above a mere hypothesis but below a law. Scientists do not use the terms that way, however. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses."
No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk about the theory of evolution--or the atomic theory or the theory of relativity, for that matter--they are not expressing reservations about its truth.

In addition to the theory of evolution, meaning the idea of descent with modification, one may also speak of evolution. The NAS defines a fact as "an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as 'true.'" The fossil record and abundant other evidence testify that organisms have evolved through time. Although no one observed those
transformations, the indirect evidence is clear, unambiguous and compelling.

All sciences frequently rely on indirect evidence. Physicists cannot see subatomic particles directly, for instance, so they verify their existence by watching for telltale tracks that the particles leave in cloud chambers. The absence of direct observation does not make physicists' conclusions less certain.
Pick up any issue of a peer-reviewed biological journal, and you will find articles that support and extend evolutionary studies or that embrace evolution as a fundamental concept.

Conversely, serious scientific publications disputing evolution are all but nonexistent. In the mid-1990s George W. Gilchrist of the University of Washington surveyed thousands of journals in the primary literature, seeking articles on intelligent design or creation science. Among those hundreds of thousands of scientific reports, he found none. In the past two years, surveys done independently by Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University and Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University have been similarly fruitless.

Creationists retort that a closed-minded scientific community rejects their evidence. Yet according to the editors of Nature, Science and other leading journals, few antievolution manuscripts are even submitted. Some antievolution authors have published papers in serious journals. Those papers, however, rarely attack evolution directly or advance creationist arguments; at best, they identify certain evolutionary problems as unsolved and difficult (which no one disputes). In short, creationists are not giving the scientific world good reason to take them seriously.

If you want your kid to learn about creationism send them to church. To me, what you are saying is that you want Astrology taught along side Astronomy, you want Alchemy taught along side Chemistry, Phrenology instead of Neurology. Does that make any sense.

Not with my tax dollars!

..."imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in. It fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well. It must have been made to have me in it!" --Douglas Adams

"To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like 'God was always there', and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say 'DNA was always there', or "Life was always there', and be done with it." --Richard Dawkins,

Liam said...

Oh, I so wish I had time to spend on this. Unfortunately I don't so let and Toad seems to have covered a lot of it anyway so I'll leave you guys to it.

Mark said...

Toad, You missed the whole crux of the debate. The ACLU wants to disallow a statement that says there are other theories on the origin of the universe. That's all.

No one is saying evolution or creation is wrong or right.

This is a free speech debate, not a freedom of religion denate.

Francis Lynn said...

Evolution in the classroom should include a caveat about Intelligent Design. Evolutionists, however, are too smug in their certainty in evolution that they leave no room for alternative ideas. What freaks the evolutionists out I think is that they equate ID with Bible-thumping Christianity. This view is a caricature of ID. ID can certinly include Christianity, but does not preclude or exclude any other idea of a Designer. ID advocates come in all beliefs & viewpoints. Even evolution fits in with some ID believers. They are all permutations of the core issue - a Designer.

There are serious, scholary papers on ID. (see for example - http://www.origins.org/menus/design.html)

As for peer-reviewed published papers, as Toad notes, the scientific community is notorious for peer-pressure when it comes to publishing something that may be contrary to the prevailing opinion. Many who would be inclined to publish are disinclined to do so - their reputations & their careers may suffer as a result. Surely Toad should know that the scientific community can be despotic indeed when it comes to unpopular ideas.

The history of scientific inquiry is replete with examples of the scorn, villification & mockery placed upon those who would disagree with prevailing view. Leading scientists heaped scorn in the 1800's on those scientists who claimed that stones (meteors) fell from the sky. They mock UFO advocates, but the day one ever landed, these know-it-all scientists would quickly push aside the advocates & claim UFO's as their own.

Einstein had a problem with his theory, so he invented what is called Einstein's Constant. Then the theory worked. Except that it was wrong & Einstein later called it the biggest blunder of his life. He fudged to make his theory work. So it is with evolutionists. They minimize the problems with evolution or ignore them because they want the theory to fit. They are too arrogant to think that maybe, just maybe, there is an alternative to evolution &, egads, that alternative might be Intelligent Design.

Toad734 said...

Free speech is not absolute; I can't yell fire, nor can I say I want to gun down students and teachers while at school. Civil liberties don't apply to school children in school. They cannot, take guns to school, they can't practice religion freely, they don't have a right to peruse happiness, they can't drink alcohol, they can't burn flags in protest and they don't have the freedom of speech unless they are called on to speak by a teacher and they don't have freedom of the press. Try printing an article about the principles sex life and see how far you get with that in a school news paper.

Freedom of speech allows you to write about creationism, teach your kids about creationism, and send them to any church who can then talk about creationism. It also allows you to send your kid to a private school which teaches creationism. Kids are not forced to go to public school. As you said about public prayer, let us do what we do, we are not forcing anyone to believe in evolution, they just have to suck it up and hear about it but they don't have to believe it if they don't want to. I didn't believe there were negative numbers when I was in elementary school but I had no choice but to learn about negative numbers and guess what, I am now convinced of the existence of negative numbers.

Whats next, wanting teachers to be allowed to endorse political candidates in schools?

Toad734 said...

RE: Francis

Funny I think the same thing about creationists.

h said...

Great post! Evolutionist snobs and the ACLU! Two of my hot buttons! Great skewering of both!

Michael said...

I have always believed that athiests are nothing more than liars in denial. Anyone with a half functional brain knows that God exists, and is the creator of the universe.

William said...

Toad, teachers do endorse political candidates in schools. Now, comparing the debate of ID and evolution to a debate between Einstien and Rick James is just illogical. There are, as francis lynn suggests, countless scientific debates between the two sides.

The issue is that ID should be included in the curriculum. You say that ID cannot be tested.Every scientist knows that science has so many limitations; therefore, scientific theories are constantly being revised. That would say to anyone utilizing the scientific method that there are many uncertainties. From those uncertainties, theories emerge. It happens that two of those theories are ID and evolution. That said, each of these theories should be allowed in the classroom. Both are clearly scientific.

It's safe to teach ID in the classroom. And ID doesn't have to be from any particular religious background. We should just acknowledge that a(some) Supreme Being(s) are responsible for our existence.

Mark said...

William. With all due respect, The issue is NOT that ID should be included in the curriculum. The issue is that a statement from the teacher at the beginning of the evolution lesson that ID is an alternative theory should be allowed. That's all they are asking. If a student persists in asking what ID theorizes, the teacher can always say that they should ask someone after school as that theory is not allowed in a public school setting.

Goat said...

Micro evolution is proven and is God's gift of adaption.Macro evolution, man from fish,still has its naysayers and rightly so. I am a former agnostic that is reborn and follows the Intelligent Design model. The biological/geometric code is to complex to be accidental.

Toad734 said...

Michael:

Funny, I think the same thing about creationists.


William:
Yes scientific theory is constantly being revised when there is evidence that is too conclusive to ignore. The Bible, written by who knows, is not evidence, nor has it been proven to be factual or scientific.

When your side finds evidence that a flood wiped out all life on earth and that we are all related to Noah, that the earth was created in 6 days, that carbon dating is flawed, when you can explain fossil evidence clearly showing the evolution of plants, animals and man, the Cambrian explosion, why humans DNA is only 1.2% divergent from chimps and can explain things like how Neanderthals and Homo erectus fit into the creation myth then we will consider your position.

Mark:

That is all they are asking for now. You know where it is going; your side uses this same logic to gun control. Sure they only want to ban machine guns today but tomorrow it'll be my hunting rifle.
And in introducing that theory will the teachers also be forced to explain the Annunaki and how people believe they (aliens) spliced their DNA with apes to create humans and the theories of creation from the ancient Greeks Aztecs etc. or do you just want them taught what you believe in?


Goat:

I will refer back to my quote:
..."imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in. It fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well. It must have been made to have me in it!" --Douglas Adams

William said...

Toad,

Why are you assuming that I am referring the Bible. I think that's the major problem with the exclusion of ID. People automatically assume that the Bible is what is being presented. I made no claims that are exclusively biblical. Yet, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Jains, Sikhs, etc. believe in ID. The only ones who do not are atheists and the Buddhists.

William said...

(excuse the grammatical errors above).

Mark said...

Toad. "That is all they are asking for now. You know where it is going; your side uses this same logic to gun control."

Your side uses the same logic to justify assisted suicide. And abortion. And dehydrating to death the brain damaged. It is part of the proverbial slippery slope towards the ultimate goal of euthanasia, and so on and so on.

Mark said...

Go on. Say Touche' now.

Toad734 said...

William:

You are under the impression that everyone who claims to be a Christian or any other religions you mentioned above believes every word of it hook line and sinker. There are many normal Christians who believe in God but also know that the Bible was written between 4000-2000 years a go by man, not God himself. They realize that many things that are in the Bible are impossible, didn't happen and are just stories, fables, lessons, dreams and hallucinations that teach you how to live, not how we came to be. These people also realize that evolution doesn't prove that there is no God and the evolution could be the work of God.

By the way, the Muslims and Jews practically have the same creation story as Christians so don’t try to go the diversity of religions included route. So with you wanting to present all sides are you willing to put forth the theory that aliens spawned humans as well? Or is some magical being from the sky creating humans too far fetched for you to believe?

Now you know how I feel.

Mark:

I really don't know what you are talking about.

William said...

Toad,

Once again, you've missed the point. We do not have to teach any particular route to creation - such as the biblical view that you continue to discuss. So if people want to believe that we spawned from aliens, then the ID curriculum would allow that.

We are not asking that theology be taught. But, we are demanding that theories be allowed - even as we are certain that evolution in the macro sense is merely just a theory itself.

Now, you referred to the Judeo-Christian view of creation. But, let's not disregard the largely autonomous views held by many traditional religions such as the Native Americans and other traditional cultures. The debate is not about Christiany, Judaism, nor is it about Islam. It's about ID which a vast majority of people around the world agree with. Why should it be excluded? And why should evolution be the primary when it's only a theory - a religion if you will.

By the way, Toad, I do appreciate this debate. So, I do not want you to interpret my point-of-view as a shot at you (which I am sure you are not thinking but I just wanted to be clear).

Fitch said...

William and Francis Lynn - The premise that ID is not a uniquely Christian ideal is a flat out lie. The only people who support it are Christians.

Michael - Do you mean to say that anyone with half a functioning brain knows that the Christian god is the one and true god, or that anyone with half a functioning brain knows that there is some sort of greater being, prime mover, superior lifeform, or whatever. I suspect you mean the former.Thanks for reminding me why I hate arrogant religions that claim to be correct.

Toad - I can't believe I'm saying this. You're correct.

Mark - I think toad pointed out the problem with teaching alternatives, where do you stop. Teach Christian ID and evolution? What about other beliefs? What makes your mythology superior to others? Let's stick to science in science class, and mythology in mythology class.

Mark said...

If you guys will go back and re- read my post or my subsequent comments you will see that I never advocated teaching ID (creationism) in public schools. The issue is whether the schools can tell their students, "There is another theory of the origins of the universe and it's called Intelligent design"

I say it is ok to do that. If the students want more info on that they can go to someone else outside of school and ask, and that would be ok.

Toad734 said...

Mark:

I didn't miss your point; I know what you are saying but the subject took its own course. I think anyone who would want to learn more about alternatives or ID would already know about them. I doubt the kid in the 5th grade who hears that there is an alternative to evolution would decide out of the blue that he may want to hear what the church has to say about it. The more likely scenario is that someone who believes in creation would be offended if that alternative wasn't mentioned. You aren't going to open any eyes by announcing that evolution, sub atomic particles, gravity or anything else are just theories.

The people who already believe in evolution are going to continue to believe that and most people (me excluded) who believed in creation will always believe in it, unless maybe if it's taught as science and the evidence is overwhelming, which for me it was.

Goat said...

The Bible's story of creation was written by man 5000+ years ago and their attempt to describe the beginning of the miracle around them without the science of today to explain it to them. It is that miracle that lead me to the Lord,the very complexity of life to me could not be explained by evolution alone.My godfather was a physicist and geologist so I have a deep background in those areas and my uncle worked for NASA.All I can really say is I believe!