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ID vs. Evolution, and the Real Issue

Posted by Chance on August 16, 2006

Should schools teach Intelligent Design or Evolution?

First some remarks on ID. Is ID science? I can see why some critics would say it is “religion disguised as science” or “creationism lite”. However, I believe one should consider the claims that it makes without automatically dismissing it. ID does seem different from other sciences in that it makes extrapolations based on patterns in nature. If ID lacks the solid science, fine. I don’t see issues with considering the ideas of what has not been proven. Who says God has to be the intelligent designer? Maybe some guy created a society in his test tube, which is us? The idea may seem a little ridiculous, but who is to say that some advanced society beyond our comprehension did not cook us up? I believe God created us, I am just demonstrating that “ID” does not equal “God did it.”

As far as evolution, from a science perspective, if the science and data are there to support the idea, great. I’m not a biologist, I’m more of a physical science type. But science should not become dogma. If there are holes in evolutionary theory, present them. If there are questions to be asked, ask them. The reason I say this is because even criticizing aspects of the theory of evolution must go through a legislature in many states. This should not be. Science should be about asking questions. For the Law of the Conservation of Energy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics, the textbook will say quite plainly, “this has never been proven. It is based on empirical data.”

But really, when it comes to schools, these issues are of secondary importance. The issues of primary importance are, “how do we decide what is taught to our children.” Who says that a state or district court has to decide for everyone? In my view, parents should be able to choose if they want to send their children to a school that teaches evolution, or ID. We would not be fighting endless cultural wars over how to educate our kids. Parents would be able to decide for themselves.

Such a claim brings criticisms. First of all, for those who believe ID is not science, they would criticize the notion that parents would prevent their children from learning “real science.” But to those I would say, how do you know that the government knows what real science is? The government may be viewed by some as an objective force that upholds reason that would not be influenced by religious matters, but I would disagree. Even if this was the case, what do your own children have to lose? Worry about raising your own kids, not others.

Perhaps the issue is trust for the parents vs. trust for the government. In some cases, I would put my trust in the government. For example, we allow parents some autonomy in raising their own children and choosing how to discipline them, but we don’t allow abuse. I support seat belt laws and car safety laws for children.. But I believe the parents should have authority on how their children are educated.

How do we know they would make the right choice? We don’t. But how do we know the government will make the right choice? I prefer decentralizing such decisions. Also, parents can learn from each other. Which method of teaching math is best? Does abstinence-only education work, or safe-sex education? Studies will be done, and parents can do what is shown to work best. Parents can send their children to a school that is an extension of their own values, rather than parents’ values battling it out in a one-size-fits-all school system.

On a totally unrelated note, does anyone besides me find it amusing that the word “blog” fails on the spell-check.

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5 Responses to “ID vs. Evolution, and the Real Issue”

  1. The Prophet said

    Lol… I never realized the word failed on the spell check.

    Concerning your post, the parents may not need to have the option between School #1 and School #2. How about 2 different classes teaching 2 separate theories? But when it comes down to it, I think we’re agreeing. I’m just minimizing it to a inter-school level, where you’re minimizing it to a broader school-to-school level.

    Good Post.

  2. Chance said

    Hmm, good point, I never really thought about that. At least concerning ID vs. evolution. I have thought that in political science classes it would be good to have a commentary section on major events. For instance, a conservative, democrat, socialist, and libertarian would all make their comments on the Great Depression and FDR.

  3. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    I have some training as a scientist and it seems to me that, at its best, ID is a philosophy of science and, as such, it should be taught, if at all, in a philosophy course.

    Science deals only with what philosophers call efficient causes or penultimate causes. ID is giving an ultimate cause answer and, as such, is a category mistake when taught as a science.

    Biological evolution, because it deals only with penultimate or effecient causes, can be held by people who are theists (theistic evolutionists) or who deny theism (a-theists), or who confess their ignorance of the matter (agnostics). About 40-45% of working scientists admit in polls to believing in God–but accept evolution as a given. Modern genetics is impossible if evolution is not true–thus, it is far less of a theory than in Darwin’s day.

    There is also a whole HUGE discussion about how scientific theories operate, etc. that is well beyond what we can get into here.

    The bottom line is, teaching ID in science class is not giving equal time to another scientific theory, but the equivalent of teaching alchemy in a chemistry class.

  4. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    Another point that working scientists often bring up: If intelligent design wants to be considered a legit. scientific theory, it needs to do experiments, write papers, and get published IN THE PEER REVIEWED MAINSTREAM SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. If it can gain traction there, it won’t need legislation to be taught in public school science classes, it will automatically show up in textbooks as a scientific theory–even if a minority viewpoint in the scientific community.

    The fact that ID doesn’t do this: Publishes only in-house or in religious publications, etc. and tries to get equal time via legislation shows the non-scientific nature of this research program. Finding alleged or even real problems with an existing scientific theory (dealing with efficient causes, remember) and then coming up with ultimate explanations (outside the scientific method), is not science.

    Chance’s comparisons in political science classes are different: They all actually have to do with political science or political economics. But what if someone tried to legislate the discussion of Shakespearean theatre in such a class? That’s the kind of category mistake made by ID.

    I have no problem with ID being taught as an option in a philosophy class. (In fact, I would love to see more philosophy classes in public schools–great places for discussing philosophy of religion, etc. without violating church/state separation.)

  5. Wasp Jerky said

    The other problem is, where does it stop? If you introduce ID into schools, how many other different perspectives do you introduce? How long until all this becomes a giant politically correct free for all?

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