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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Intelligent design's critics press fight

Class Guide Needs to be Adjusted ...
Many people are clamoring for the Ohio School Board to address intelligent design at its next meeting.

Differences among members of the State Board of Education over the teaching of evolution are escalating as the board prepares to meet for the first time since a court struck down a Pennsylvania plan that required an alternative approach.

Jones said Dover's decision to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

Critics of the Ohio curriculum hope the state board will take up the standards this week.

"I think the ruling is a wake-up call to our board that we are out of compliance, at least in that judge's opinion," said Robin C. Hovis, a board member from Millersburg.
Some Facts:
  • A scientific theory must be testable and based on observable evidence. A scientific theory makes predictions about occurrences in the natural world that can then be tested through scientific experimentation. ID makes no predictions and cannot be scrutinized using the scientific method. So although proponents of ID couch their views in scientific terms, their assertion that ID is a scientific theory is false.

  • Biological evolution is a scientific theory that explains how life on earth has changed over time. The belief that species have evolved existed before Darwin, and was first stimulated by finding fossils of animals that no longer exist. Evolution has undergone many important developments since Darwin's time, most notably the incorporation of genetics.

  • ID is not a scientific theory and therefore cannot be put forward as an alternative to the scientific theory of evolution.

  • The ID movement is led by a small group of activists based at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (formerly Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) in Seattle, WA. There are very few credentialed scientists among the group's leadership, and those who are scientists typically studied in fields unrelated to biology. Their approach to religion is very different from the leading scientists in the United States who are religious. Most legitimate scientists who are people of faith accept the overwhelming evidence supporting the scientific theory of evolution and see no conflict between the two.

  • Although ID proponents publicly declare that they are neutral on many questions related to their religious motivations, the Wedge document reveals in clear terms that their assertions are at best deceptive. The document specifically outlines plans to reverse prevailing scientific practices and methods, and makes clear that the motivations of ID's main supporters are religious, not scientific. It is indeed curious that they would choose deception to advance their religious beliefs.

  • There are not "two sides" to the science. Evolution is a scientific theory that seeks to explain how life on earth has changed over time, while ID is simply an ideology that attacks science and asks that its ideas be accepted as if they are true. Evolution and ID address different topics, employ different methods and certainly should be judged by entirely different standards.
Ohio can do better than this. What a waste of taxpayer dollars, that we even need to revisit this debate. Wasn't this supposed to be settled like 30 years ago? This can't help raise US students science scores, where our high schoolers rank at the bottom of the 21 industrialized nations.

Also see: WritesLikeSheTalks, she is keeping a close eye on this story. And check out: Flying Spaghetti Monster

It is indeed uncredible that ID has managed once again to raise its ugly head.

Personally I feel this "debate" was closed some 50 or so years ago. Darwin was indeed right to hesitate with publication... I've just been called an Evolution Apologist for defending evolutionary biology as a valid scientific theory...

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