Monday, March 07, 2011

The Great Debate: "Should ‘Intelligent Design’ be taught in public schools?"

Today is the third of a series of cross-blog debates with conservative blogger Mike Waters; who enjoys the challenge of a gentlemanly discussion. Go and read Mike's opinion over on his blog; and be sure to comment on what you read! Today's topic is of interest because of the controversial story that perhaps life on Earth didn't even develop on this planet at all!

In the mean time, here's my two cents:

Should ‘Intelligent Design’ be taught in public schools?

Let’s get something straight. There is no such thing as ‘Intelligent Design.’

So-called Intelligent Design is essentially Creationism – the belief that the planet Earth, and all life upon it, was created as described in the old testament of the Bible.

The only difference between the two is that teaching Creation Theory in school was made illegal in 1987 (in Edwards v. Aguillard and other court rulings) because it fundamentally violated the principle of Separation of Church and State.

Following that ruling, unscrupulous fundamentalists repackaged Creationism in a shiny new pseudo-scientific format and have, ever since, been trying to get it taught in schools.

Nevertheless, it remains every bit as unconstitutional as the curriculum that sparked Edwards v. Aguillard back in 1987.

But for the sake of argument, let’s dig a little bit deeper into why Intelligent Design/Creation Theory should be kept out of public schools:
  • It’s unconstitutional: Intelligent Design/Creation Theory stem from a Judeo-Christian interpretation of creation. Therefore, teaching it in schools paid for by the taxpayer, and established by the government, is ‘establishment of religion.’ Namely, it’s establishment of Judeo-Christian monotheism that violates the 1st Amendment rights of anybody who is not Judeo-Christian. Buddhists, Hindis, Native Americans and atheists all believe that life came about differently; so if you force their kids to study one particular religious viewpoint (in accordance with the first chapter of the Old Testament) you’re “prohibiting the free exercise” of other religious or non-religious viewpoints.
  • It’s unscientific: Intelligent Design/Creation Theory is not based on any form of evidence whatsoever. You can argue the ‘theory’ that life was created by a single ‘Intelligent Designer’ but that’s no more provable or unprovable than arguing it was created by many ‘Intelligent Designers’ – or just happened randomly, or was the work of hyperintelligent mice, or a Giant Spaghetti Monster. If your theory is founded on the understanding that you can never able to prove or disprove it, it ceases to become a theory and becomes theology instead. That’s absolutely fine with me - it’s all very well to believe in a higher power – but if theology gets taught in school, it should be confined to the Religious Studies classroom, not the Science Lab.
Another argument against teaching Intelligent Design/Creation Theory in school is that I just don’t see the point. The beauty of what we get taught about evolution is that it is fundamentally compatible not just with decades of scientific research, but also with just about every religion on Earth.
Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.

—National Academy of Sciences

We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. Vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the 'project' of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary -- rather than mutually exclusive -- realities.

Pope Benedict XVI

Just because we teach that one species evolved over millennia into another, that doesn’t discount the belief that some mysterious ‘Intelligent Designer’ wrote the blueprint or lit the touch paper.

Nor does it prove that they didn’t. Whether or not there is a God is unprovable, so that's why the question doesn't get asked when studying evolution - not because evolution and atheism somehow co-exist.

Finally, proponents of Intelligent Design/Creation Theory have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution. They incorrectly believe that the concept of evolution – that one animal species evolves into another - hasn’t been proven, and is somehow up for debate. That simply isn’t true.

Evolution is a ‘theory’ only in the same way gravity remains a ‘theory.’ Or, to be more specific, we know THAT evolution happens, just as we know if you throw something in the air, gravity will bring it crashing back down to Earth. The ‘theoretical’ part is WHY that happens – ‘survival of the fittest’ being the current understanding.

To argue against the process of evolution – that protobionts evolved into bacteria and eukaryotes and eventually more complex life forms – is like arguing that the world is flat. It’s wrong, plain and simple – and if we teach our kids something so mind-numbingly, inconceivably false, even as a ‘theory’, we’re guilty of child abuse on a massive scale.


paul mitchell said...

Let's get something straight, there is NO SUCH THING as "separation of church and state."

Roland Hulme said...

1st Amendment, Paul! Black and white!

paul mitchell said...

Text of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The word "church" and the word "state" are not there. Weird.

Roland, libs found those words in a letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, it is NOT in the Constitution. God haters have to hate God no matter what. The funny thing is that Congress shall make NO LAW prohibiting the free exercise of religion. THAT is what the First Amendment Constitution states, plainly and explicitly. Liberals do not understand plain language.

Sorry, facts do not support your argument.

Roland Hulme said...

Paul, the facts and countless SCOTUS rulings support Jefferson's interpretation. Besides, he was there when Madison wrote it, so presumably has a better idea than we do.

"no law respecting an establishment of religion" means that congress can't make any law which gives footing to one religion over any other religion, or non-religion. Therefore, if you make a law that says you can teach creationism in school - which is judeo-Christian theology - you're making an 'establishment' of monotheistic Judeo-Christian religion over and above every other religion. Unconstitutional.

The whole idea that seperation of Church and State doesn't exist is a lie perpetuated by some permanently frustrated evangelicals who get mad that they can't get schools teaching their blinkered, narrow theological agenda.

Would you be okay with state-funded schools teaching sharia law? Didn't think so.

Taxpayer's money? No religion. End of. If you want your kids to learn religious stuff, send 'em to private school.

paul mitchell said...

There is another half of the statement, too. Quit ignoring that.

And evolution is such a fantasy that defies mathematics, we should not teach that lunacy.

If you want your kids to learn ANYTHING, send them private school.

Roland Hulme said...

But Paul! How do you explain the beautifully logical collection of chronologically consistent fossils that chart, step-by-step, the evolution of life on Earth?

As I said, that evolution happened is NOT in question. The 'theory' is why. Like gravity remains a theory still. You believe in gravity, right?

paul mitchell said...

Roland, there is no progression of the fossil record. Evolutionists posit their theorized progression and change it every two years when another fossil is found that directly contradicts their most recent theory. Then, when you find the bones that are three million years older than expected, state that man walked upright WAY before we thought, further eroding the math needed to prove the theory.

Gravity at least has observable effects, unlike evolution. Of course, the universe could be expanding at the very same rate and that would explain the appearance of gravity, as well. But, gravity and evolution are so far dissimilar as to boggle the mind.

Evolution is on the same "scientific" plane as "global warming." Get your comparisons straight.

Roland Hulme said...

Paul, we can SEE evolution happen in a test tube, with bacteria - or in the streets, with insects developing resistance. Every time we discover a new fossil it EXPANDS our understanding, and doesn't contradict it.

paul mitchell said...

Roland, evolution is one species becoming another species. Not a bacteria becoming an "evolved" form of the same bacteria. That is simply silly.

Remember, man "evolved" from a lower life form? That is kinda what the theory of evolution IS. You can ignore what the theory states, but I don't.

Roland Hulme said...

Evolution is a change - as you said, the bacteria evolves into the same form of bacteria with different attributes. But how many changes does it need to go through until it's so different from the bacteria that went before that it's a 'new' bacteria? Not that many.

paul mitchell said...

Boy, it would sure be cool if there was any evidence of that happening. You know, of a bacteria becoming anything other than a bacteria. Then, there might be a shred of scientific proof that evolution had occurred in the past. That would be startling and unprecedented, too! But, even with this mythical proof of evolution happening, there STILL would be no evidence of an absence of God. Weird.

They really need to quit teaching that evolution hokum in public schools that further erodes students' abilities to learn and understand mathematics. Teaching "science" that completely contradicts all laws of mathematics hinders the students' abilities to learn either subject.

How long does it take "Progressive scientists" to throw out theories that have been proven wrong indefinitely until they decide to move on to another theory, Roland? Even after the world was proven to be round, "Progressives" still deny that FACT.

Roland Hulme said...

"But, even with this mythical proof of evolution happening, there STILL would be no evidence of an absence of God."


Evolution and religious can exist side by side, and in hand, so I don't see why the religious feel like they're under attack them evolution gets taught in school.

paul mitchell said...

I am not speaking of the teaching of evolution as contradicting my Catholicism, I am speaking of evolution contradicting mathematics, Roland.

The evolutionist side is only there to dispute God. That is what is so confusing to me.

As a Catholic or religious person in general, I am MORE interested in the origin and development of man, not less. Evolutionists are simply trying to disprove God, not study science.

Coffee Bean said...

People confuse adaptation with evolution. Because species adapt and change according to their environment they think that proves evolution. But, as Paul pointed out... it has never been proven that a species has evolved into another species.

That other dude hasn't posted on this yet.

Roland Hulme said...

"it has never been proven that a species has evolved into another species."

Yes, CB! Yes, it has!

All of this HAS been proven, through fossil records. Creationists seem to think that as fish magically turns into a horse, or something like that, but it isn't how evolution works.

There is a roadmap of fossils that show the evolution of life on Earth - is has gaps in it, but those gaps are being filled every single day.

Roland Hulme said...

Here is something slightly more comprehensive.

I think the one flaw with trying to discuss evolution is that people who don't entirely understand the nuances of the process (like myself) get stuck into arguments about it and mistakes that I make somehow invalidate the theory, when they aren't reflections of the science of evolution at all, just my own (personal) ignorance.

paul mitchell said...

Roland, here is evolution in a nutshell from your second article.

Nothing can be living because everything must have a living parent. You see everything must evolve from a living thing according to your article.

To point out the contradictions of that to normal people science, you cannot create or destroy matter.

So, the evolutionist's argument is, "Living creatures have always existed, they are God."

The fossil record is a huge point where mathematics disproves the evolutionist's theories. If there were creatures that were evolving and becoming extinct all the time, there would be TRILLIONS (or whatever comes after trillions) of fossils that we could point to that have become extinct over the course of history. Instead, we have found relatively few in sheer species numbers that have become extinct.

The only way to prove evolution with the current way that pseudo-scientists are working, through the reverse engineering method, is to remove all humans, buildings, and the like from the Earth and start digging. Implausible.

The other way to prove evolution is to actually force it to happen. That could be simply achieved by taking the 118 elements and creating a living creature.

You see, neither is a plausible experiment. So, the theory of evolution can never be classified as science, it can never rise above pseudo-science. Coupled with the fact that evolutionists point to EVERYTHING proving evolution. Therein lies the reason that they are just like global warming cultists. When something cannot be disproven, it is NOT science.

Please stop with evolutionist debate method number two of telling people that they just do not understand it or accepting that you do not. That is condescending and below your standards, dude.

Roland Hulme said...

Paul - my comment about not understanding evolution was directed at me, not you guys. I don't want to say "evolution is this" and have you both blow it out of the water and then have an actual scientist come along as say: "Well, no wonder you didn't win that argument, you don't understand evolution at all. It's not remotely near what you said it was."

So I'm not being condescending to you - I'm trying to stop my big mouth invalidating my argument!

Anyway. Extinct species - got 'em right here for you.

And I've got your 'creating life in a lab' right here, too.

As for: "So, the evolutionist's argument is, "Living creatures have always existed, they are God.""

I TOTALLY believe that.

Christians believe God made the universe, but he has always existed and always will.

Life is a form of energy. Physics 101 says energy cannot be destroyed or created; only change form. So energy has has always existed and always will - since before the big bag.

Ergo, energy is God; or God is the Christian's way of trying to explain physics to a bunch of desert-dwellers in robes and sandals.

This is the thing about science and evolution - they support, not contradict, existing theology.

paul mitchell said...

"Or accepting that you do not."

Did you skip that part of my statement?

Roland, evolution is even easier to understand than global warming.

Evolution is one animal (or plant) turning into a whole 'nother animal (or plant) over time.

I have not the time to really read those articles, but mass extinction really has nothing to do with what I am talking about. I am talking about the math of developing creatures that did not make the evolution cut would far, far, far outweigh the number of one that did. Trillions of times more.

Natural selection is kinda based on that.

jack giletto said...

What are you looking at that says evolution is fact

jack giletto said...

what are looking at that says evolution is true?

jack giletto said...

yo paul mitchell. plz give me examples of animals changing over time into a new species.