Skip to comments.Theory of Evolution -- Not Intelligent Design -- Is Most Like Creationism
Posted on 09/29/2005 1:41:16 PM PDT by dukeman
Dover, Pennsylvania finds itself in the national spotlight as the putative successor to Dayton, Tennessee, the rural community where the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial played out on the national stage.
This small, blue-collar community in rural Pennsylvania finds itself in the crosshairs of an ongoing and heated national debate about the propriety, even constitutionality, of public schools offering an alternative to and critical examination of the theory of evolution.
Last year, the Dover School Board voted to adopt a policy that makes students aware that evolution is a theory and not fact. The policy also states: "Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view."
Representing 11 parents who object to the policy, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have sued the school district claiming the policy violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. The trial began on Monday.
Armed with a 1987 Supreme Court decision declaring that teaching creationism in public schools is a violation of the Establishment Clause, the ACLU will argue that intelligent design is creationism repackaged. But is it really?
Creationism is an a priori argument drawn from a particular interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. In the context of a public classroom, that means the God of the Bible is the starting point and assumed ground of life's origin and the origin of the cosmos. Drawing from a literal reading of Genesis, creationists postulate a "young earth" and six 24-hour days of creation. All empirical data are subject to and analyzed within this interpretive grid.
Intelligent design, however, is an a posteriori argument; it is the inference drawn from examination of complex structures in living organisms and the universe. Instead of attributing the design evident in these structures to God, or undirected processes and natural selection, the intelligent design theorist merely posits an intelligent cause behind life and the cosmos. The inference is not held as the only possible explanation, merely, for now, the most plausible.
As a matter of science, intelligent design theory is much more disciplined and modest in its claims than either the theory of evolution or creationism. Intelligent design theory merely infers, but does not attempt to identify, a designer from evidence that even evolutionists agree has the appearance of being designed. Unlike creationism and the theory of evolution, intelligent design theory does not make dogmatic religious or philosophic claims about the origin of life because such claims are beyond the competence of science to make.
Creationism and the theory of evolution, unlike intelligent design theory, are insular in their approach to science. Creationists reason downward from an article of religious faith and conduct their science within that paradigm; the creationist's article of faith does not admit of any alternative. Evolutionists, too, reason downward from an article of faith and conduct their science with the same dogmatic zeal and selectiveness of their creationist counterparts -- there is simply no room at the inn for dissidents or competing theories.
Like creationism, then, the theory of evolution is an a priori argument drawn from the evolutionist's article of faith which holds that the origin of life and the cosmos can only be explained by undirected natural processes. This is a metaphysical claim, not scientific fact.
Still, it is not in dispute that one may infer an evolutionary process from the data, but that is not what the evolutionist does; he does not infer it, he begins with it, asserts it as an article of faith, and then he proceeds to squeeze all data through the colander of his metaphysic.
The evolutionist stomps his feet screaming that the theory of evolution is as well established as the theory of gravity. But that simply is not true. And that is why critical examination of the theory of evolution should be permitted in public schools. By all accounts there are many holes in Darwin's theory. That does not make his theory wrong, but it does counsel that the extravagant and absolutist claims made on behalf of the theory should be rejected.
Good science requires an open mind.
There is more than a little irony, then, in the evolutionist's attempt to paint intelligent design theory with the creationist brush when it is the evolutionists who have the most in common with the creationists.
Both creationists and evolutionists have as their starting point a belief in the infallibility of their creeds (though I think the creationists have the better part of the argument here). To be sure, their creeds are antithetical to each another, but it is the reception of their respective creeds among the faithful as infallible and exclusive explanatory tools that binds them together, removing them from the realm of science and placing them squarely in the middle of religion and philosophy.
Creationism requires a student to first affirm the creed that God created the heavens and the earth, and the theory of evolution requires that a student affirm the creed that there is no God. Both are exclusive claims, neither is scientific, neither can be empirically verified.
Intelligent design theory, on the other hand, does not require that any creed about the origin of life and the cosmos be affirmed, it merely points to the evidence and suggests that the best explanation (though not the only explanation) for the design found in nature and the cosmos is a designer, whoever or whatever that may be.
It is hard to imagine that Dover's students would not benefit from being told that there are gaps in Darwin's theory and that intelligent design theory offers a competing explanation for the origin of life and the cosmos. Failure to provide such an explanatory note implicitly gives state approbation to evolution's creed that there is no God.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of this current struggle will be. It has been reported that the trial is going to last six weeks. I hope not. It cannot possibly take six weeks to make the point that inferring a designer from things that appear to be designed is not a religious exercise or an endorsement of religion.
If the judge permits a trial of that length on the narrow question before him, he will likely be looking to make a final judgment about the origin of life and the cosmos. This would be heady stuff -- even for a federal judge.
"The evolutionist stomps his feet screaming that the theory of evolution is as well established as the theory of gravity. But that simply is not true."
What does truth have to do with the theory of evolution?
God created democrats too.....can we really call that intelligent? :)
Darwinism needs to be subject to the same hard scrutiny as any scientific theory....its not the end of the world to state that there are flaws in the theory, but it seems it is the end of the world to say this for many, if not most, Darwinists.
Lighten up evo devos...!
I have no problem saying evolution is just a theory....as long as they also state that nobody has come with a *better* theory that fits the observered facts.
Another author who doesn't know science.
"Evolutionists" are constantly trying to falsify their theories. They do not for a moment think their theories are infallible. That's one of the differences between evolution and CS; the latter do think their beliefs are infallible and are trying to do science without learning how.
When you already know all the answers, scientific method isn't very important then, it it?
No point reading past this. Anybody that thinks that ID is scientifically disciplined is a moron. ID has no science to it at all. It is superstition, not science.
HypnoToad (1000+ posts) Thu Sep-29-05 02:08 PM
If everybody cut back on electricity^, would that curtail global warming?
^ meaning stopping usage of tvs, computers, everything NON-ESSENTIAL?
Let's face it: How essential to our lives is "business"?
Why not reclaim our agricultural roots but maintain the transport element as it is necessary to plant and harvest the crops necessary to sustain us all?
Would EVERYBODY be willing to ditch their ipods in favor of more localized communities with real, live, entertainment?
Or if we shut everything off, would it be too late to stop the global warming problem?
I see lots of news articles whining about global warming. Just as they do all sorts of other problems that have been created by mankind rather than God. Yet none of them even bothers to think of a solution.
Y'all can flame me all you want now. But the choice is simple: A radical change now that might just spare us all... or change nothing and we ALL die once we waste energy resources beyond a certain point, baking our planet in the process just as we would a pizza or gerbil pie. Even the mega-wealthy and they are the ones who'd ultimately decide what happens.
Okay, two things:
1. Like, far out!
2. What's a gerbil pie? Please try to maintain some level or decorum in your replies....
If a student asks, "What's 2 plus 2?" the teacher can give a factual, definitive answer; the answer is known and provable.
If a student asks, "Where did the Universe come from?" the teacher should say, "We don't know. Ask your parents what their beliefs are. My beliefs don't matter to you. The school board's beliefs don't matter to you. The Supreme Court's beliefs don't matter to you. Because nobody can say for sure and all answers are based on faith of one kind or another."
I'd like the "Ask your parents" reply mandated in other matters as well; such as the proper installation of a condom.
its not the end of the world to state that there are flaws in the theory,
It isn't. Evolutionary theory isn't monolithic, and it isn't unchanged since Darwin.
but it seems it is the end of the world to say this for many, if not most, Darwinists.
Pure nonsense. Scientists ask that you bring evidence to support an alternate theory, which will then be evaluated, reviewed and debated. Creationists and ID adherents are unable to bring that.
As a matter of science, intelligent design theory is much more disciplined and modest in its claims than either the theory of evolution or creationism. Intelligent design theory merely infers, but does not attempt to identify, a designer from evidence that even evolutionists agree has the appearance of being designed.
So disciplined and modest, in fact, that the ID proponent restricts himself entirely to shrugging his shoulders and saying "sure looks like somebody or something may have designed this little thingy." Now there's a scientific undertaking today's teenagers will just love.
And I notice that the author of this article didn't even try to identify any specific evidence of design or any criteria by which the existence of design may be established or ruled out. I wonder why?
Naw, ID isn't religious.
Heard this on Glenn Beck:
"Look through a telescope at Mars.
If you see an office building on it, evolution would say it just happened by chance. Intelligent Design says, no, someone built it."
Evolutionist fear what would happen if their theory is challenged, truly investigated without bias, or questioned IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. They then attack the scientist who does question it (or the guy who posts something against it), question his credentials, call him pathetic, or try to convince a court or school board that he's insane.
Why is it such a huge threat to say that there are possibly other options than we went from goo, to zoo, to YOU?
Today's evolutionary scientist are willing to question anything EXCEPT evolution. The real question should be WHY?
"Look through a telescope at Mars. If you see an office building on it, evolution would say it just happened by chance. Intelligent Design says, no, someone built it."
So you and Glenn Beck have some kind of inside knowledge about self-reproducing, organic, extraterrestrial office buildings? Tell me more.
Ahhhh, the essence of Moonbatism....scaaaary!
Do you wear a tyvek suit and self contained breathing apparatus when you visit DU? I would.
1-- You don't really understand the difference between theoretical-math based quantum mechanics and observation based quantum mechanics. The former (math-based) says a whole bunch of crazy stuff, like we can violate the first law under certain conditions. The latter (science, observation based) says the first law is good to go.
2-- Under infinite time and with infinite combinations life could evolve from non-life. Under early earth conditions (best of our knowledge) and given the mechanisms of evolution and the time involved, there is good reason to believe an intelligence is responsible for many historical occurrences: origin of life, establishment of eukaryotes, evolution of the human brain from the chimp brain (time constraints and mechanisms are huge on this one).
Inevitability only applies to systems with infinities, not practical, real systems.
Good Hunting... from Varmint Al
Yeah, but what's a gerbil pie?