The Theory of Evolution has flaws. It is not perfect and no real scientist will claim that it is. Despite this, it has been a very useful scientific tool for analyzing and observing what is going on in our world. Also, thousands of scientists all over the world are working feverishly to either find the missing links of evidence or to find new evidence that modifies the theory. It is a staple of the secular scientific world and, like all good science, is subject to change, updating and clarification.
Nonetheless, Intelligent Design (ID) supporters, many of them former creationists, want to make it clear that the Theory of Evolution isn't perfect and that there are alternatives to it. They want to force disclaimers in the classroom, place stickers on textbooks and make it clear to students that Darwin's theory is not beyond reproach.
While I have no problem with encouraging students to question scientific theories. I am disturbed that supporters of ID are only interested in questioning the Theory of Evolution. After all, quantum physics is a theory, relativity is a theory and most of what we now call modern science is theory.
But the reason we don't see communities rallying against the theory of relativity is that the conversion of energy into matter isn't mentioned anywhere in a religious text that I've read. No one's view of God or their faith in respect to the matter is affected by Albert Einstein's theory. So, despite the flaws and problems with that theory, science teachers can continue talking about it as if it were scientific fact, with no stickers or disclaimers required.
Clearly, this attack on the Theory of Evolution has less to do with good science and more to do with protecting God and putting him back, even if only in a small way, into our science classrooms. If ID supporters were interested in creating good scientists, they would attach their warnings and disclaimers to all theories, not just the one that they view as attacking their religious beliefs.
Thus, even if the ID theory has scientific merit, which is questionable considering the dubious scientific process most of their scientists have used, it is clearly being introduced for the wrong reasons. Furthermore, where the Theory of Evolution had to fight for decades to be accepted, with many good scientists collecting evidence to support it, ID wants to be accepted and integrated into the classroom today, with very little evidence to support it and few mainstream scientists putting stock in it.
Worse still, most of the evidence supporters of ID bring to the table is little more than holes in the existing theories. They offer no proof as to why these holes are explained by the existence of an outside intelligence and only say that they must be. But even as they assume that no other logical explanations are available, other scientists have been offering them while others have worked to test their theories.
This "no other explanation" theory seems to claim that Evolution is a done deal and that the theory is never going to be tweaked, improved or modified. However, all scientific theory is prone to that and nothing is set in stone to a true practitioner of science. After all, nearly every great scientific discovery has been either by accident or someone simply questioning the status quo and proving it wrong.
In the end, the Theory of Evolution is a testament to the very concept thereof. It is evolving rapidly and improving itself to defend against threats. It's an homage to how the scientific method is supposed to work and, though it is imperfect, so is all life and all ideas on the planet.
If supporters of ID want to help science, they should encourage questioning of all theories, not just the ones that fly against their personal and political agenda, and back up their theory with hard facts, not just conjecture and hole-punching.
Finally, they need to be aware that their theory, if it becomes accepted, will be tested and questioned much like how they have tested and questioned evolution. They need to be ready for that inevitability both personally and scientifically.
However, given the personal nature of this war to date, I doubt that they will be. After all, it's hard to be unbiased when you feel that your faith is being challenged. That rage is understandable, but it has no place in the scientific process or the science classroom.
I had no clue this had been happening until well, I read this piece. Very nice, informed update, Raven, thank you!
I don't see why both can't be taught. After all, the school isn't resopnsible for forming the religious beliefs of a student. The school is there toput forth ALL the relevent data, and evolution (or adaptation if it makes you feel better) does exist, even if it doesn't include man evolving from monkeys. And after all, there are flaws in the creationist beliefs, too. We can plainly see that there were dinosaurs, and can establish that the remains are millions of years old, yet the Bible, the Koran, no religious text that I know of says anything about them (If I'm wrong, I apologize. Please don't write anything scathing about my ignorance, I did include the phrase "that I know of").
I agree with you.
I agree that anyone who teaches intelligent design is not aware of the flaws of the intelligent design (ID) theory; and even if they are, they still have the misconception that ID is the best theory (and that Darwin's theory negates morality), and that therefore the ID theory should be the theory taught in schools.
I also agree with you that the theory of evolution has flaws (and therefore is prone to modification and/or replacement), and that anyone who wants to question it should have the right to do so. I also think that scientists will eventually modify the Darwin theory, or maybe even replace it with something better.
As a biochemistry student, I have read overwhelming evidence for the theory of evolution. But what you said in this piece has opened my eyes in that I am now ready to see what kinds of flaws that people may discover about the evolutionary theory, and the kinds of modifications that may be made to that theory.
The reason ID should not be taught in a science class is because it does not have any scientific merit, and therefore no educational vlaue. Ideas have to earn their spot in the limelight, and ID has failed to stand up to even the slightest scientific scrutiny.
ID would be at home as a creation myth in a religious studies course, or perhaps somewhere in a clever sociology course.
Very interesting peice, I agreed to the fact that both evo and ID have holes and flaws and evo has actually stood up to the science commuinity. But what I have found is that there will never be a classroom that does not have a person who questions the theory to thier belives and religion. I feel a better solution is not sticker and proclomations but a simple talk to students says that evolution is a thoery it can be changed and it does not mean it is the only explination, you may hold your own veiws. this method was used by my biology teacher and there has never been a problem or agrument for the 6 years she taught.
i don't really have special views on the issue at hand, i dont honestly care how we got here the point of hte matter is in my concern is not getting off of the earth which is why all relegions try to become one with divinity, notice i said divinity not god, or allah, or buddah, because all are one in my book, and we are really trying to become one with divinity, so anyone who reads this, if you go around telling people that your relegion is right, and that theres is wrong, your are truly idiodic for one, we all just strive to become one with divinity even if we don't try. and that is the strive for human improfection. this is what i believe. DO NOT GET OFFENDED by this this was only to put out my views on the topic. that is all, for any further discussion feel free to contact me on myspace, or my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org