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Intelligent Design in the Science Classroom

Intelligent design has become a fairly “hot topic” in recent years thanks in large part to a great deal of sensationalist media that has presented arguments both for and against the teaching of intelligent design. Unfortunately, most media coverage has not been orchestrated to get to the heart and root of the matter as much as it has been to promote political ideologies. The BBC, for example, has presented a number of arguments against the teaching of intelligent design because the BBC is an openly secular-socialist in its agenda.

The Fox News Channel has long been an advocate of teaching intelligent design, but Fox has also significantly pandered to Christian conservative over the years. While both the BBC and Fox clearly have agendas, they are allowed to report on the issue with no oversight. Hence, a legitimate argument as to the merits of whether or not intelligent design should be taught in schools is absent from their programming.

In reality, intelligent design is clearly not something that should be taught as science because it is clearly not science, but a backdoor attempt to present religious teachings without actually using the word religion; instead, a very loose interpretation of science is presented. This hardly reaches levels of credibility that would be necessary in order to achieve the level of acceptable, provable science. As Richard Attenburough stated, “It is so fundamentally against every scientific principle imagines, to put it in the same bracket is to seriously confuse thinking.

” With Darwinism, there was a hypothesis that all life on earth derived from the same simple organism. This angers many people who see Darwin’s work as an absolute affront to the Genesis creation tale. (If there could be doubt as to the tale of creation, this yielded fear of the doubt that there is a Creator) With Darwinism and evolution, the Intelligent Design in the Science Classroom Page 2 emphasis that exists is that nature and natural selection of evolution and anything of supernatural origins is discarded.

This is met with disapproval from those who prescribe to a creation ideology as it would seem to be a rebuke of religion. In reality, it is not so much a rebuke of religion as much as it is a One of the more difficult aspects that is present when criticizing intelligent design is the fact that since intelligent design is so closely associated with religion that any criticism of intelligent design is immediately warded off as a bigoted, prejudicial or anti-religious attitude.

This makes for the very contentious issue of how to critically examine intelligent design as well as how to explain that criticism of intelligent design is not prejudice. When looking at the issue of intelligent design, one need to note that the bulk of the people who promote intelligent design are Evangelical Christians and the pressure placed on school boards to offer intelligent design courses are school boards with high percentages of Evangelical Christians in the voting district.

This clearly shows that there is a certain bias present “designed” to weave in creation story into the school system. Again, once it is noted that supporters of intelligent design are primarily members of the Evangelical Christian movement, there will be lobs of accusations of prejudice and bigotry. Of course, this is not the case. The real case is whether or not intelligent design is a valid scientific principle. It is clearly not and when exposed for what it is, claims of bias will be thrown out as a straw man argument of attempting to deflect the true nature of the intelligent design argument.

Intelligent Design in the Science Classroom Page 3 First and foremost, intelligent design refers to the creation story. That is to say, God created the universe. This is about as transparent of an argument that one could find as there is NO ONE PERSON who approves of intelligent design that has ever offered the possibility of a creator of the universe who is NOT the Judeo-Christian God! Not a one! Intelligent design is also based on the incredibly flawed ideology of “either or analysis.

” In other words, the existence of humanity is either derived from evolution or it is derived from intelligent design. And, since evolution has been “disproved” then intelligent design MUST be true. This is an absurdum as “either/or” logic simply does not equate to science. Perhaps the universe has been created by evolution. Perhaps it has not. Perhaps the universe was created by intelligent design. Perhaps it has not. And, of course, there is the possibility that the universe was created by something OTHER than evolution or intelligent design.

This is something that proponents of intelligent design refuse to acknowledge: the fact that creation outside of religious origins is possible. This alone destroys all credibility of those who seek to promote the concept of intelligent design because it essentially presents the proponents as believers of a particular ideology as opposed to empiricists looking to find an actual truth. In other words, intelligent design is belief promoting itself as science in an attempt to circumvent the laws of separation of church and state in the public school system.

Because a discussion about intelligent design can not be separated from a discussion of religion, it is important to look at some of the motivating factors behind Intelligent Design in the Science Classroom Page 4 religion and how such significant motivating factors relating to the very theory of intelligent design. We have two organized primary purposes of religion: (1) The creation of stories and myths that address the deepest questions we can ask ourselves: Where did we come from? Why are we here?

What does our ultimate future hold? And (2) The production of moral systems to provide social cohesion for the most social of all social primates. (Shermer) While there is nothing inherently wrong with this two-fold purpose, it is a far cry from the purposes of science which involve testing methods, theories and principles in order to see if they are accurate. When it comes to matters of faith, “accuracy” is a needless and abstract component. If one’s religion is guided by faith and belief, there is no need to prove anything to anyone.

However, for science to be credible there needs to be a means in which to provide proof. Intelligent design has the bulk of its basis in faith and political ideology as opposed to scientific reasoning. Because of this, it would have a very difficult time standing up to the criteria needed to be present within a science class. This does not necessarily mean that intelligent design has no place in the classroom. Intelligent design could exist rather finely in a social studies, comparative religion, or even sociology classroom.

But, when the issue becomes one as to whether or not intelligent design belongs in a science classroom, then intelligent design falters because, again, the issue becomes empirical facts vs. faith and ideology, two aspects that truly do not fit well into the mix of a science class.

Bibliography

Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: Norton, 2006. Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene. New York: Oxford USA, 2006. Patterson, Bill. The War on Science. BBC Horizons Broadcast: 2006. Schermer, Michael. How We Believe. New York: WH Freeman and Company, 2000.

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