Intelligent Design in schools

On a forum, someone referenced this article. Alas, my search fu was weak, and I kept finding the same article posted in many different places. I found rebuttals and derision, but never did find the original quote.

Now, aside from the fact that we don't have the original question, the article is written with a leading tone. Consider, for a second, the following two questions:

Mr President, do you think that schools should teach Intelligent Design?


Mr President, do you think that schools should teach about Intelligent Design?

Both can lead to his answer, that "“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . .You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”

Some have decried this as an issue of separation of church and state. There are several problems with this, first among them that Intelligent Design (hereafter ID) does not require a religious point of reference. After all, since you are positing the existence of a guiding hand in the evolutionary process, a hand for which there is no evidence or proof, there is no difference whether the hand be God, Thor, Allah or superintelligent shades of blue. Second, children need to learn the history and philosophies of various subjects - just as a class on astronomy should go through the "earth-centered universe" concept, so too should students learning about evolution learn about Lamark and ID.

Unfortunately, too many critics equate ID with Creation Science (hereafter CS). But, there is a considerable difference between the two. Aside from the obvious one (that ID often features, but does not require, a divine entity), most ID proponents accept the idea of evolution, considering it to be the mechanism through which all of nature was created. The Catholic Church is a good example of this - the official Catholic line is that evolution occurs, but that God is the guiding force behind it. See, acceptance of good scientific theory, yet maintaining theologic beliefs.

I will readily concede that ID is not science. By definition, it (like any other philosophy) cannot be proven or disproven. Does this mean that it ought not be mentioned in a science class?

I have no problems with the mention of ID in a sidebar or blue box or lecture. Mention the philisophical belief, inform the students that it is beyond the purview of the course, and continue onwards. But some people are so caught up in the debate that they have come to believe that the merest mention of ID is equal to teaching it.

In a blog (on the Huffingtonpost), someone failed irony. In civics, students should learn about fascism, monarchy, etc. And, in a good science class, you should mention the early notions of astronomy, chemistry, or physics. The red-shift of stars, the motion of the planets, the nature of the sun - these are fairly well understood. The origin of life is less so, and mentioning a philosophy which is not in contradiction with accepted scientific theory does not warrant this kind of vitriol.

PS - I really enjoyed this article.


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