Intelligent Design

The issue of teaching intelligent design along with evolution in the classroom seems to be getting quite a bit of media attention recently (or at least on the letters page of the Australian for the last three days).

Personally, I don’t ever remember being taught evolution in high school science, but that’s obviously because I never did senior biology. Somewhat ironically, my exposure to the theory of evolution came in logic class (read: discrete mathematics + psychology + philosophy).

Scientists claim that ID is not science, and is nothing but a ploy to get God in the classroom. ID supporters say kids should be exposed to both theories and make their minds up for themselves. Some say that scientists also make a ‘leap of faith’ when they think they can understand the world around them.

I’m not a scientist, and I won’t comment on the science behind ID, but I do know a few things – The theory of evolution has been around for around a hundred and fifty years. It has undergone extensive research and scientific evaluation and review, with tens of thousands of books and journal articles being written on it. This is why it is being taught in classrooms.

ID on the other hand, has been around for less than fifteen years. The amount of research and analysis into ID in the form of books and journal articles pales in comparison with that of evolution (are there even any credible journal articles on ID?).

Whether or not we are able to understand the world through science is irrelevant. If ID supporters really want to get their theory being taught in schools – do the research. Have a real debate with scientists over the science behind ID instead of hiding behind that leap of faith/let the kids decide crap. Shut the hell up otherwise.

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5 Responses to Intelligent Design

  1. Wayland says:

    I suppose you could say that ID stemmed from the idea of God and all that, so looking at it this way the idea has been around for a lot longer than the theory of evolution.

    That’s not to say it has any more credit than before, however. If anything I would say it has less credit, for it has not seemingly improved one bit in all the millenia it’s been circulating the human psyche. It’s the same old stuff rehashed into a new-age theory and crammed down school children’s throats in another attempt to gag the scientific learning process.

  2. Mark says:

    ID is not a theory in the same sense as the theory of evolution, since it basically just makes claims about what we can’t prove, i.e. that the seemingly random is in fact guided by God, and then tries to back this up with some facile talk about probability.

    I was taught out-and-out creationism in school alongside evolution in year 5 – with no indication that they might be contradictory, or indeed that the two stories of genesis in the bible are in fact contradictory.

  3. Jeff says:

    I think neither evolution or ID can be proved scientifically. Both make theories about something that happened in the past that we simply cannot know for sure unless we had a time machine (historical science vs experimental science… we must not get the two mixed up)

    I think the key is to see which one makes more sense. 150 yrs isn’t very long if you think about how long ppl thought the world was flat and how much opposition to the idea of roundness from well respected scientists. Not saying that ID is a new idea, but just that time (ie 150 yrs) isn’t necessarily indication of solidness. Does it make more sense that the most complex systems ever known (human body for example) can arrive by mere chance (I know theres natural selection, but its effect is overrated), or that there is some intelligence involved?

    As for the contradictory stories of genesis, I didn’t see any contradiction in it…?

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

  4. Jimmy says:

    Whoo! Dissent!

    By saying that evolution has been around for 150 years, I’m not saying that the longer a theory has been around, the more ‘correct’ it is. That’s ridiculous of course.

    I’m saying that evolution is backed up by 150 years of credible scientific research, while ID’s 15 years has produced next to nothing.

    Whether evolution or ID can be ‘scientifically’ proven is not the issue here. ID has no place in the science classroom unless the proper scientific reasearch is conducted first.

  5. Mark says:

    Jeff’s criteria for scientific proof are so high that nothing is actually scientifically proovable. Of course, what constitutes scientific proof is a matter of greeat contention. Nevertheless, what makes evolution a scientific theory is that we can apply it to what we know, and what we see happening, and see if it matches up. ID’s claims that what we see is guided by intelligence are either unfalsifiable, or obviously false. On the one hand, they just don’t add any useful ingredient to our understanding. On the other, they are contradicted by the evidence.

    Let me explain, since proponents of ID think that theirs is the only way to explain things. In fact, the existence of an intelligent designer is roundly contradicted by the horrendous mess that things are, all the problems that we have, pain, suffering, et cetera. The animal kingdom is absolutely rife with these. Now, of course it is possible for an intelligent designer ot design a system with flaws. But ID proponents in fact claim that the system was designed by a perfect designer, God, which basically means that the “problem of evil” is logically countervalent on their claims.

    Against me, they claim that there needs to be an explanation of why there are complex creatures like man running around (“The Design Argument”). WRONG. Shit happens. It does not require explanation beyond that which, say, evolution gives, namely that there were some less complex things around and more complex things came out of them. Positing the existence of an all-powerful God in fact just makes the picture even more terrifyingly complex than it already is, and therefore contradicts the principle (Occam’s razor) for producing a good scientific explanation.

    Whew.

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