12/21/2005

Intelligent. But, by Design?

A couple of people had an interesting conversation today. It went something like so:

A: If a theory is presented as a theory, what is the harm in teaching it? The "theory" of evolution is taught. How is teaching Christian kids the theory of evolution ok but teaching the theory of intelligent design to non christian kids not ok?

B: The theory of evolution is based on science. Einstein's theory of relativity was based on science, even though it took 51 years for it to be fully proven.
Intelligent design is not based on science, it's based on the supernatural, which is not science, but religion. Astrology is based on the supernatural, not science.
I'll defend Christian kids' right to learn about Intelligent design in church 100%, but not in the public school biology classroom.

A: I went and read up on that case. They weren't simply asking to teach it in addition to Darwin, they wanted it to be a replacement for. It also appeared to be against a vast majority of the parents in that district.

Certainly don't think that is a good idea. That said, if the school district and the parents wanted both taught as "theories" and not as scientific law, they should be allowed to do so. Nothing wrong with Darwin believes x and uses y to support his theory, some Christians believe a and use b to support their theory, Hindus believe e and use f to support their theory. And so on...

Just gives kids an awareness of these types of things...Presentation would, of course, be the key which could be an opportunity for abuse just like anything else.

B: Think I understand your point quite well. Here is the problem as I see it:

Conflict between science and religion began well before Charles Darwin published Origin of the Species.

Evolution is not considered to be inconsistent with the religious beliefs of most Christians or Jews. Most mainline Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church, and many other religious faiths accept the teaching of evolution. The Pope even accepts the view of evolution! Religious theorists since St. Augustine espoused the separation of Church and State, which is written into our Constitution.

Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory, which if it were, would allow it to be taught in the public schools alongside Evolution theory, which is based on science. Intelligent design, in my view, is basically somebody doing a global "Search and replace" on the word Creationism with the phrase "Intelligent Design". If ID were permitted to be taught in the public schools, contrary to our Federal Law, this is what would happen:

People like me would come in and say, "School Board? I am writing you after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. We can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I'm writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I'm sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science."

You get the picture? We open up the public school system to this kind of motive, and it all goes to "Hell in a legal handbasket" pretty quickly.


It is so easy to be misled or even "preached" into the inane belief that what you are doing is "right", rather than independently thinking carefully about it first. Maybe Judge Jones did us all a favor with his 139 page decision and assertion that several Board members had repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs. There's nothing wrong with teaching the Intelligent Design Theory, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Creationism theory to your kids, if that's what you believe. Just do it in Church or Synagogue where it belongs.

Teach your kids to understand that religion and science are complementary, but different, and both of them are important in order to develop a good perspective and an adult mind as you grow up. Just understand why they are different and should not be mixed. A lot of blood was spilled in Europe over conflicts between science and religion before our forefathers came here and decided, among other good things, to put a stop to it.

Oh, and, by the way: Judge Jones was appointed to the bench by George Bush.