« If one is going argue the merit of proposed law | Main | 'Progressive' coward - redundant phrase? with UPDATE »

October 06, 2005

'Intelligent Design' is not religion, but it does not belong in science class

Rightwingsparkle points to this story about a lawsuit in PA concerning parents contending that "Intelligent Design" in a textbook is an establishment of religion in a government classroom. A fuller article on the parameters of the suit can be found here. The textbook, Of Pandas and People, at the center of the controversy, is not required reading but was suggested to students if they wanted to know more about ID. The lawsuit focuses on the requirement in these particular high school biology classes that they announce that ID is an alternative to Darwin and concludes this is teaching intelligent design effectively promotes the Bible's view of creation.

ID doesn't belong in science class. Period. It is not religion, but it is a philosophical view of the origin of life. HOWEVER, it should go without saying, an a-theistic explanation of the origin of life also doesn't belong in science class. The mechanics of evolution, dna, the fossil record, carbon dating, etc, are all science. Trying to explain who/what started everything -- ID or randomness -- is a matter of philosophy and both belong in a philosophy/comparative religion class.

Maybe rather than lawsuits it would be a better use of time and money to require the same hours devoted to philosophy courses as it does to science courses. Certainly it would give kids a greater appreciation of Western Civilization.

Oops. Western Civ. "Dead White Men." Would the ACLU fight that one, too?

Posted by Darleen at October 6, 2005 08:26 AM


How is evolution a-theistic? It doesn't explain where matter comes from, for one thing.

Posted by: Tillman at October 6, 2005 11:13 AM


As I just said above, the mechanics of evolution is proper science. ANY explanation on the ORIGIN of life/evolution...the WHY behind it all...either theistic or a-theistic, is NOT science.

If a teacher teaches that Evolution explains "everything" it is as philosophical as "Intelligent Design" explains "everything."

Posted by: Darleen at October 6, 2005 11:19 AM

A teacher should never say that evolution explains everything, anyway. So I agree there.

Your using "randomness" as a synonym for evolution shows that you know very little about the subject. It's more like "natural selection" than randomness.

Why do birds have a better lung design than we do? Why are there flightless birds like penguins? Catfish that walk on land? Air-breathing mammals like whales and dolphins that live in the water? These are all odd things that ID can’t easily explain, but evolution can.

Posted by: Tillman at October 6, 2005 11:28 AM

I apologize, Tillman, for I thought I was clear that I positioned "randomness" as opposite to "ID" as an explanation of how things started.

Either there was a "designer" or "it just kinda happened." After that, mutation/natural selection, the mechanics of evolution is scientifically observable.

Although...mutation is RANDOM, don't you think? A bad mutation is eventually weeded out, good mutations continue through natural selection.

Posted by: Darleen at October 6, 2005 11:38 AM

Well, positing God doesn't explain anything really. God (or ID creator) just happens to exist? It is easier for you to assume that? But that is less probable than what we see around us happening to exist.

But anyway, how can ID explain all these odd creatures around us? You know, in some ways their design isn't very intelligent, is it?

Posted by: Tillman at October 6, 2005 11:44 AM


Somehow, I think we are on the same page but might be having a problem on semantics.

Questions of God/goddesses/random happening/etc, are matters for a philosophy course, not a science class. That was the whole point of my post. As I understand it, ID recognizes evolution, but posits that evolution was designed by a designer.

Evolution is not contradictory to a belief in a Supreme Being/God/Creator. And evolution is not "proof" there IS NO God.

Now, I will argue on a philosophical plane that ethical monotheism is a great way to run a society.

Posted by: Darleen at October 6, 2005 12:28 PM

What the fuck does "government classroom" mean.... I hate even the conitation behind that phrase.... I think this country is in far more danger of Liberal politilization of our "public schools" than anything the religious groups might do. Personally I want the fucking liberals out of every level of learning period. Since they are viciously intolerant of anyone elses ideas or point of view, they should be banned from society until they learn how to act and accept our freedoms, instead of trying to use them to subvert the American way of life.

Posted by: Big Bang Hunter at October 8, 2005 02:11 PM

they should be banned from society

Oh, my. How would this work, big banger?

Darleen, this guy's one of yours. What a tool.

Posted by: Snick at October 9, 2005 05:20 AM