Point/Counterpoint – Intelligent design, theory or theology?
Writer: Alexandra Wilcox
April 20, 2006
Filed under Uncategorized
What place does religion have in public schools? Should it be taught in separate classes or alongside non-religious material? Should it be taught at all?
Many argue that intelligent design should be taught along with evolution and natural selection, but many believe that intelligent design is just another religious attempt to preach creationism.
Natural Selection is Darwin’s theory of how evolution occurs. It states that an organism selectively adapts to its environment through traits and mutations to ensure survival.
Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection has more scientific founding than intelligent design. Natural selection aims to describe nature’s phenomena of diversity by seeking natural explanations for how and why things are. To do this, natural selection absolutely needs evidence for it to be considered valid.
One of the more recent pieces of evidence is the finding of a fossil very similar to a mammal. In the beginning of April, scientists announced the discovery of a fish fossil in that had fins resembling legs, a find that could help scientists prove that reptiles and eventually humans evolved from sea creatures.
This possible missing link reinforces Darwin’s theory, scientists say, that living things have evolved and adapted over time.
On the contrary, intelligent design lacks any substantial scientific evidence to suggest that a divine hand has been at work in creating the natural and human world. One cannot experiment and prove whether a supreme being created living things; whatever supreme being responsible left no evidence to prove it.
Intelligent design advocates claim that natural selection is nothing more than a theory. But at the same time, they fail to mention that intelligent design is hardly a theory, but rather a notion based on religious beliefs.
Intelligent design asserts that some superior being, whether it is God or something else, must be responsible for the complexity of living things, not natural selection and accidental mutations.
Although some intelligent design advocates have disassociated themselves from the theory’s founding in creationism, intelligent design is tainted by its openly religious proponents.
William Dembski, author of “Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science & Theology,” argues that, “any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient.”
In addition, the new attempt to place intelligent design alongside natural selection and evolution is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s just another shot in a long line of attempts by creationists to thwart the teaching of evolution.
The first attempt was in 1925, when the famous Scopes “monkey trial” convicted Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes of violating the state’s ban on the teaching of evolution.
In the late 1960s, some states required “creation science” to be taught along with evolution after the Supreme Court banned laws prohibiting the teaching of evolution.
In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that the teaching of creationism in public schools would violate the constitutional policy of separation of church and state.
Natural selection is scientifically based, so it deserves to be taught in science classrooms. On the other hand, intelligent design is a philosophy, not scientific theory. The only place for intelligent design in schools is in theology classes.