Here’s Why Intelligent Design Should Not be Taught in Public School
10. Intelligent Design Should Not Be Taught In Schools
Have you heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? He is the titular head of the great spoof religion, Pastafarianism. The Monster first came to the attention of the public in 2005 as the creation of Bobby Henderson. The purpose of the Monster was to satirize the decision made by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of the Intelligent Design doctrine as an approved alternative to the theory of evolution in public schools.
In a letter that Henderson wrote to the Board, he specifically criticized the tenets of Intelligent Design, by explaining that whenever science attempts to carbon date an object, an invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster appears and magically falsifies the evidence. This Flying Spaghetti Monster, who is composed of a giant lump of pasta with two meatballs for eyes, is the real Creator of the Universe.
While Henderson’s argument may seem like mere comedy at first glance, the point that Henderson is making is that there is as much legitimate scientific evidence to suppose the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster as there is to support the doctrine of Intelligent Design. If both theories are thereby reducible to comedy and wishful thinking, the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster remains the more honest of the two, since it has no hidden political, social, and economic implications.
9. The Creationist Story Is In Conflict With The Facts
The Bible was written 2,000 to 3,000 years ago by individuals who had no inkling of the correct placement of the sun, moon, and stars and should thus not be looked to for scientific advice. However, at the same time, it must also be acknowledged (so Miller and his fellows claim) that no idea put forward by Darwin or any other scientist to this day expressly disproves the possibility of a Deity being in charge of the Universe and all creation.
Therefore, a stalemate is in place that no theologian or scientist is equipped to break, since both are equipped only with the meager tools of reasoning and deduction that form their inheritance as a member of the human species. The logistics of the argument must come down to the ability to show plausible proof of the propositions advanced by both sides.
And this, of course, is where the Creationist argument weakens considerably. There are so many instances where the Biblical story of Creation comes into conflict with the basic tenets of scientific knowledge that only a pedantic numbers cruncher would wish to chronicle them all. A quick search on any major book seller’s site will reveal more than a few volumes dedicated to the particulars of such a subject.
The argument that Miller and his fellows ultimately advance is that whether God exists or doesn’t is not a scientific question. By extension, this must also apply to the question of whether a benevolent Deity was responsible for the creation of the Universe. Since His hand cannot be reliably be detected in His supposed work, the question of whether He exists or doesn’t must remain an article of faith.
8. An Emotion Based Argument does not Count as Fact
One thing that the argument that Miller and his opponents in the Darwinian camp are sure to find common ground on is the proposition that an emotion based argument does not, because it cannot, count as fact. In essence, the argument for Intelligent Design may be buttressed upon any number of scientifically verifiable theories, but the central argument – that mankind, the Earth, and the entire extended universe – are the work of a single benevolent Creator are ultimately not capable of demonstrable proof.
Because this argument is not capable of objective, dispassionate proof, it must remain an emotional wish rather than a scientifically viable theory. At the end of the day, wishing to believe in a personal, all loving, all knowing Creator has as much scientific weight as the wish to believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.
It will naturally be objected by proponents of Intelligent Design that the stakes are, to put it mildly, a bit higher in this case than any involving Father Christmas or a rabbit who brings eggs to children at Easter. However, since even the most disputable scientific theory can not be seriously considered without a battery of identifiable phenomena to buttress it, the same rigid scrutiny must apply to any Creationist argument.
And this is where the Intelligent Design argument comes up short. Proposition after proposition made by this camp has been exploded by the scientific community, to the point where ardent Catholics such as Miller are forced to abandon it entirely and fall back solely on Biblical revelation.
7. Teaching Intelligent Design Arguments in Schools could Undermine the Separation of Church and State
Another strong argument against the teaching of Intelligent Design theories in public schools is that this measure could easily lead to an incremental break down in the barrier of separation that exists between Church and State.
The fact of the matter is that the present Constitution of the United States was framed by men who were extremely keen on creating and maintaining an enforced distinction between, and separation of, the spheres of church and state. The history of the preceding 1,700 years was known well enough by the framers of the Constitution to convince them that such a measure was not only politically expedient, but in the ultimate best interests of religious leaders as well.
Ever since the days of the triumph of Christianity over the Roman Empire, with its attendant recognition of official status therein, the issue of church and state has been a reality on the political stage. Even at the very beginning, there was no lack of church authorities who argued that taking the mantle of an official religion from Constantine would be a dangerously compromising move.
The direct involvement of the Church within the machinery of the State led to such harrowing incidents as the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc., and led to the necessary corrective move later baptized with the name of the Protestant Reformation. These, as well as many facts that could be brought to bear here, are some of the most pressing reasons why the separation of church and state is necessary.
6. The Back and Forth between the two Parties is Tying Up the Judicial Process
One of the chief arguments against the Intelligent Design argument may well be the oft demonstrated propensity of its major proponents to challenge the Darwinian position through the medium of the American judicial system.
Ever since 1981, when the then current Governor of Arkansas signed the first “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act” measure into law, there has been an unending series of legal debates over this issue, some of which have made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The issue is a pernicious one, and has tied up many hours’ worth of time, effort, and financial expenditure.
When one considers that the teaching of the evolutionary theory is taught as just this – a scientific theory, one does have to ask the question, “What is contained within this theory that makes religious leaders (and self appointed spokespersons) so leery of it?” Further, the question is raised concerning just exactly what these people feel they have to lose from it being taught as a theory in public schools.
The fact that millions of dollars have been spent on fruitless intrigues should be enough to make the average American citizen weary of such unedifying spectacles. Further, the fact that, after so many long decades of debate and back door intrigues, the Religious Right has not come one inch closer to proving the existence of their tutelary Deity ought to speak volumes to the American public concerning the reality of this great and benevolent Creator.
5.The Ongoing Debate between the Two Sides is Unnecessarily Divisive
A recent survey conducted by educational activist Zack Kopplin shows that more and more private parochial schools that are set up under the state “Voucher” system are being employed to teach the principles of Intelligent Design as fact to young school children.
In the fall of 2012, a Louisiana judged ruled that public funding for private parochial schools, including those using the state voucher system, was unconstitutional. The ruling is still being appealed as this articles goes to press. However, the stage has been set for a further widening of the divisions between religious and secular minded citizens in the United States. This division, if allowed to grow too long and too far to be healed, could potentially be the source of extreme tension and even violence in the future.
In much the same way that differences over competing economic systems fueled the Civil War between the American states in the 1860’s, a future unbridgeable divide between religious believers and uncompromising atheists could be the source of another major divisive confrontation.
While it is not necessarily to believe that such differences could lead straight to a second Civil War, it is noteworthy to point out that certain isolated individuals on both sides of the debate are already using such terms as “The enemy” and “Their side” to represent each other. Such descriptions admit of no compromise, and cannot lead to any positive developments in the future. It is thus for the best that the divisions between the two camps not be allowed to develop further.
4. The Main Intelligent Design Textbook is Shrouded in Murky Origins
Of Pandas And People was first published in 1989. This work, which was credited to Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon, has since become the major Intelligent Design textbook intended for children to read in schools.
The work was published by a firm that called itself the “Haughton Publishing Company”. As it turns out, this fictitious firm was not involved in any way, shape, or form with the noted textbook publisher, Houghton Mifflin. In fact, the “Haughton Publishing Company” was an alias taken out by a publisher named Horticultural Publishers, Inc., based out of Mesquite, Texas.
Exactly why such a deception was necessary remains unanswered. It may be surmised that the “Horticultural Publishing Company” would not be received as a genuine vendor of science textbooks, since the ground covered inOf Pandas And People was so far removed from its usual provenance. However, in this case, the company could simply have marketed the book as a “Science Class” or “Biology Class” exclusive, with no complaints being due from teachers or parents.
The fact that the origins of the very celebrated textbook that underpins the educational curriculum of the Intelligent Design movement is shrouded in such murky origins should raise a red flag of warning, in and of itself. Add to this the words of one of its chief supporters in the Intelligent Design community, Jon Buell: “If you would like to be a part of this ‘quiet army’, please let us know right away.” Such statements are very curious indeed.
3.There is no “Other” Universe for Advocates of Intelligent Design to Compare the Present One Against
The arguments presented against the spurious doctrine of Intelligent Design in this article have purposely avoided using too much scientific jargon, so as not to confuse or disorient the casual reader. In keeping with the general spirit of this article, allow us to present this next argument against the pseudoscience of Creationism by any other name.
The argument can be stated, simply and briefly, as follows: Those who insist that the present Universe shows all the unmistakable signs of being designed by an intelligent and all purposeful Being are treading on false and slippery ground, as there is no other currently existing Universe for them to compare notes against.
The simple truth is this: Science depends on objective comparisons and contrasts. Every scientific experiment needs a “control group” to measure the efficacy of a theory against. And, in the case of the universe, this “control group” is lacking. No one can venture outside of the presently existing universe to truly be able to compare the evidence for a Creator shown by one universe as opposed to another. For obvious reasons, this experiment is simply not possible.
And so, in the end, the many proponents of the Intelligent Design theory are left attempting to pawn off suppositions based on mere theory and imaginative extrapolation as legitimate science. Viewed in this light, the arrogance and wrongheadedness of such an attempt may well shock and anger the reader. The opponents of evolution have nothing but religious “revelation” to fall back upon – not science.
2. The Intelligent Design Debate is Christian in Origin – And Exclusive of other Religious Possibilities
One thing that the person who attempts to follow these debates as they rage on into the 21st century should take notice of is the fact that opposition to the Darwinian theory of evolution continues to originate almost exclusively from the camp of Christian fundamentalists.
While opposition to Darwin’s theories has been present ever since the days in which they were first made known to the public, the present crush of Intelligent Design frenzy has its roots in the days of the 1925 Scopes monkey trial.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that no major opposition to the Darwinian theory of evolution has ever been raised by proponents of other major religious traditions. For example, there is no official record of protest concerning the theory of evolution from sources related to the Hindu, Buddhist, or Jain faiths. Leaders of the Jewish faith have not emerged as major opponents of evolution, nor have leaders of the Ba’hai faith.
It may well be objected that Muslim fundamentalists have their own series of objections to the theories of Darwin. It may also be remembered that the Muslim faith does not predominate in the United States, and is not in a position to actively oppose the will of the majority of all scientists in this country.
Therefore, if the Christian Religious Right wishes to oppose the theory of evolution on the grounds that it offends against their conception of a Creator, they ought to do so in honest, straightforward terms, rather than sneaking theories such as Intelligent Design through the back door of the American educational system.
1. Nothing and No One can Conclusively Prove that God Exists
Mankind has spent countless millenia, countless hours, and countless drops of blood in the futile attempt to prove that a God (or family of gods) exists. To date, no one has been able to conclusively proof this proposition. From the days of the Greek pantheon to the endless bickering over issues of simony, Papal legitimacy, and the Trinity, the attempt has been made to prove the existence of an underlying, justifying Creator.
From the raw revelation of John of Patmos to the measured arguments of Anselm and Aquinas, many philosophers and theologians have put forth their theories. St. Paul and Augustine, Martin Luther and Joseph Smith: These men, and many more besides, have added their names to the honor role of “Deific Justification”. Yet, not one of these arguments has ever won the unanimous and uncritical devotion of even a majority of their fellow religion, much less the common run of mankind.
Indeed, theories and justifications have multiplied and piled up on each other like so many cards in a fragile sculpture. Each, in turn, has been cast aside by the new theory of a late comer to the debate. When it comes down to the crunch, the facts are these: No one has ever successfully summoned God (or the gods) from the heavens, and no one has ever shown conclusive proof that a Creator exists.
Creationism Vs. Evolution: The Debate Goes Ever Onward
The “theory” of Intelligent Design is a malignant, childish, and superstitious falsehood, designed to keep people in ignorance concerning the true facts, for the benefit of a few political and economic oligarchs who pull the strings of commerce and culture from behind closed and well guarded doors.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the machinations of the Religious Right in this country are not subject to such common sense considerations. Deeply held beliefs, accompanied by a deeply polarized political climate, are sure to keep this debate on the front burner for years to come.