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Intelligent Design Does Not Belong In Science Class – PERIOD

with 6 comments

 

by Jack O’Spades

Regardless of whether you believe in intelligent design or creationism, neither belong in a science class. Simply put: these theories are not in any possible way scientific. To qualify as a scientific theory an argument must be able to be tested empirically. If you cannot use the scientific method to judge an argument, it cannot be considered science.

 

Intelligent Design rests on the idea of “specified complexity”, which is really just stating that something that has a specific purpose and complex must be made by something intelligent. This sort of incredibly generalized statement cannot be tested empirically, and is on the same level of absurdity as attempting to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of God. The theory of evolution on the other hand, can and has been tested empirically, and is therefore worthy of being considered in a class of science.

 

Intelligent design and creationism are theological theories, religious philosophy. As such they can, and should, be taught either in a class of theology or philosophy. To not do so would be to deny view points that color the beliefs of many individuals. Seeing as the point of teaching philosophy, as well as its more specific branches such as political theory (secular philosophy) and theology (religious philosophy), is to understand the motivations of sentient beings, to not teach these ideas in such classes would be to deny important motivations in western society.

 

However, the converse of attempting to color these theories as scientific is even more dangerous as it begins to separate the scientific method from science. One of the key reasons we refer to the dark ages as “dark”, is because empirical testing was simply non-existent. Emotional judgment and theology were used in its stead, creating a society based upon myth. Do we really want to emulate such a society?

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Written by jackofspades83

March 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I would say that evolution has never been tested empirically either. Empirically testing something doesn’t mean taking the data and formulating opinions as to how it came to be. Then, once you have your opinion you make all subsequent discoveries fit your model.

    I suggest another way of teaching the origins to the K through 12 students ….don’t!!!! There is plenty to cover in physical science, biology, chemistry, physics, etc without ever having to dip one toe into how it all got there in the first place.

    If students have a question about it…..refer them to a philosophy teacher, because frankly evolution is it’s own religion too.

    livequietly

    March 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm

  2. Evolution has been tested empirically, and the results of the theory have become common knowledge. To deny this is to deny the entire field of genetics, to deny DNA, to even go so far as to claim that there is no inherit traits of children to link them to their parents. The results of theory of evolution are the very ideas that make our medicines, protect our crops, and decide our cases in our courts of law.

    You have also made the classic error that keeps reemerging in this argument. That evolution is somehow a religious belief. Believing that gravity exists does not entail worshiping it, as is with evolution. Evolution can tell us the HOW, but philosophic or theological questions never dwell on such technical details. Instead philosophy asks the question of WHY, that science has always been unable to answer, and is exactly why nobody worships evolution (or any other scientific theory).

    Evolution can tell us how we became what we are today, it cannot answer why this process came to be. If a child has a question on that, that is when he/she should be referred to a philosopher or a priest.

    jackofspades83

    March 2, 2008 at 3:10 pm

  3. Ahhh. But I don’t doubt the validity of DNA, or the fact that “traits” can be passed on to children.

    However, they have yet to change the genes of a frog and make it a lizard.

    Or to modify corn DNA so that it grows apples.

    Evolution at it’s foundation is the change from one species to another.

    So why not study the science? Talk about what is known to be true. True. We can modify corn to make it more pest resistant. But to say that it is due to an understanding of evolution is not true. It is because of an understanding of genetics.

    livequietly

    March 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

  4. You have almost literally compared apples to oranges. Evolution is not the change of one species into a completely different species. Evolution is the gradual change of one species into a new, but related species. Apples and corn are two very different species of plant, and would require major alterations to their genetic structure for them to be in any way similar.

    Genetics is essentially the practical application of evolution, a ramped up process of natural selection. Instead of typical environmental factors such as mate selection and survival of offspring, genetics involves direct manipulation of genetic material. The result is very similar to what occurs naturally, but with a far greater degree of accuracy in regards to targeted traits.

    Believing that traits can be passed to children is essentially evolution. The child IS different from the parents, but only slightly. Protracted differences over generations create a drift away from the species of the original parents. In addition to genetics proving evolution, the fossil record shows that it has occurred naturally.

    Scientists don’t debate any of this. There is no evidence that contradicts this either. Had it not been for the assertion that man descends from monkeys, I doubt we would even be having this conversation.

    jackofspades83

    March 4, 2008 at 4:16 am

  5. With respect, I have not compared apples to oranges. You have. I leave this discussion with the following statements (although I’m interested if you will reply in a logical manner, or if you’re as zealous about evolution as I think you are.)

    You may not tell me that evolution is not the change of one species into another. It is by definition just that.

    Evolution as it pertains to biology

    3. Biology a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and RESULTING IN THE DEVOLPMENT OF NEW SPECIES.(emphasis added)

    http://www.bartleby.com/61/64/E0256400.html The American Heritage Dictionary

    You are arguing a very persuasive case about the teaching of adaptation. (as a chemical engineer and a christian I do think that this has a very valid place in our educational system.)

    Adaptation as it pertains to biology

    3. Biology An alteration or adjustment in structure or habits, often hereditary, by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its environment.

    http://www.bartleby.com/61/82/A0078200.html The American Heritage Dictionary

    The passing of traits is not evolution as you stated, it is adaptation.

    Scientists do debate. I am a scientist. The reason why you don’t hear the voices of creation scientists is because they have been ignored.

    There is an interesting movie being done on the subject.

    http://www.expelledthemovie.com

    It is about scientists being run out of their institutions because the don’t agree with the neo-darwinist point of view. Apparently you can’t be one if you believe God was involved in any part of creation. This is an unfortunate turn of events for the world. Some of the greatest scientific minds in the world have believed He was.

    Here’s one….

    “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man…In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.” [Letter to a child who asked if scientist pray, January 24, 1936; pg. 152 Calaprice]

    guess who said that?

    Einstein

    livequietly

    March 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

  6. Technically you compared apples to corn, but you are right I was incorrect in saying that radically mew species are NOT birthed from evolution. What I was trying to impart was that the change is very gradual, but that there is a clear hierarchal pattern formed. Different branches may have the same foundation, but their traits start to radically diverge as the branches grow.

    You consistently seem to miss my point however. The entire point of this article is that creationism and intelligent design are theological concepts. I am not saying that they are incorrect, because quite frankly I cannot pass judgment on them for simple lack of knowledge (I am an agnostic). What I am saying is that they cannot be judged empirically, they cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method (to the best of our knowledge), and therefore are not appropriate for a science class.

    Many scientists do believe in God, and there are plenty of those that believe that he played a role in the creation of the universe. Despite what you believe, evolution and belief in God are NOT mutually exclusive properties. Although, I think they give God(s) more credit than to believe that the same God(s) who devised complicated logic simply vomited out the universe. Read the last sentence in the quote you displayed from Einstein, I believe that is exactly what he was trying to impart to the reader.

    jackofspades83

    March 5, 2008 at 1:39 pm


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