There is an ongoing debate in the United States regarding intelligent design (ID) and evolutionary theory.
What are their views, why are they so critical of the other camp’s beliefs, what do the courts believe or follow when deciding a case that includes evolutionism or intelligent design? What bearing does the verdict in cases dealing with either belief system mean? That is what I will examining in this paper. People who believe in intelligent design believe that living things have been put on earth by an intelligent being or a supreme being, not necessarily God. They believe that natural selection is an undirected process.The followers of intelligent design say that their disagreement with the evolutionists is a scientific disagreement. Their disagreement stems from the evolutionists’ foundation of the design of living systems, the followers of ID believe that idea is an illusion (Intelligent Design Network, 2007). Evolutionists believe otherwise.
Evolutionism has many sub-categories, but most fall under microevolution or macroevolution. Microevolution is small genetic or functional changes in a population and macroevolution is when a species evolves into a higher taxa.Freemon and Herron, 2004, Futuyama 1998, Ridley 1993 qtd. in Talk Origins Macroevolution (The Scientific Case for Common Descent). To put it in layman’s terms, evolution is when a living being undergoes permanent change to cope with its surroundings.
Macroevolution is the most well-known subset of evolution. Macroevolution is so well supported by the scientific community, that common descent “...
general descriptive theory that concerns the genetic origins of living organisms”, is usually called “fact of evolution” The Talk Origins Archive “The Scientific Case for Common Descent. ” In 1925, Tennessee passed a law preventing evolution from being taught in schools.John T. Scopes ignored that law, taught Darwinism, and subsequently went to court behind it.
The defense, Clarence Darrow, argued that Scopes’s academic freedom was being suppressed and the state was showing its bias towards religion. Therefore, Tennessee was violating the separation of church and state. The defense also stated that some of what Scopes taught was in certain interpretations of the Bible. Scopes ended up being convicted because his defense did not use any of the technical defenses (because Darrow did not want an acquittal from a technicality, but from a constitutional standpoint).Eventually, Scopes was released by the state supreme court on a technicality.
Since Scopes was released on a technicality, it does not mean that the courts did not agree with his point of view. Technicality means that a trial’s proceedings was unfair, not the verdict. The law that convicted him was not overturned until 1967(The Columbia Encyclopedia pg. 42713). Which means that Tennessee sided with the church in the battle between separation of church and state until the law was repealed.
In a flip of the Scopes trial, District Judge John Jones ruled against teaching intelligent design in schools because it would violate the Constitutional separation of church and state. The court said that Intelligent design is not science and can not unhinge itself from creationism. The case was filed by the Dover Area School District, which was aiming to become the first school in the nation to require high school science teachers to teach intelligent design as an alternative to the theory of evolution Gallagher and Hirschkorn “Judge rules against intelligent design in science class.”It means that even though the intelligent design followers do not see themselves as creationists, from a legal standpoint the creationists and intelligent design followers are intertwined. Thus, making it hard for intelligent design to be included in the textbooks without including creationism and breaking down the separation of church and state barrier. Another battle between separation of church and state occurred when Jeff Selman learned that the new science books in Cobb county Georgia were going to have stickers in them that challenged evolutionary theory.
He believed that it was an unconstitutional infringement by organized religion on Georgia’s educational system. A federal judge agreed with Selman and ordered the stickers to be removed (Harper 2005). That means that the supporters of intelligent design and creationism still have not shown enough evidence to support a more scientific base as opposed to a religious (i. e.
non proven) viewpoint. When there is a separation of church and state, the only idea that can be expressed in textbooks must be in an educational standpoint in the context of the subject.Most problems evolutionists have with the intelligent design argument is that it is too varied. They believe that since there are so many variations, it makes it difficult to check the facts on any given data; which does not matter because they believe that the followers of intelligent design will make up new claims anyway. Evolutionists believe that (I am grouping them together because evolutionists group intelligent design and creationism together.
) Most of creationism is folklore The Talk Origins Archive “An Index to Creationist Claims.”The Statement of Objectives regarding Origin Science clearly shows how intelligent design followers feel about evolutionists and when the government rules in their favor. In Article I of their statement, “Unfortunately, many Institutions of Science and government employ unyielding preconceptions that favor certain explanations of origins over others and thereby take sides in this most important controversy. ” They believe that only teaching one opinion stunts good science and restricts freedom (Intelligent Design Network, 2007).It is clear that they believe evolutionists have a monopoly on the market.
I think evolutionists’ critiques of intelligent design can be unfair. Evolutionists group intelligent design and creationism together; that may be why they feel like intelligent design’s followers are always changing their argument. It definitely seems as though the evolutionists’ ideas towards intelligent design are quite inaccurate because they lump creationism with intelligent design.On the other hand, I do not think intelligent design is fair or accurate in regards to evolutionism either.
In my mind, evolutionism is supported by science; evolutionists only want scientific theories included and to them intelligent design’s theories are not proven. I do not believe intelligent design is a viable alternative to evolutionism. There is no scientific proof with intelligent design. Even though evolutionism is still considered a theory, I believe it has more of a foundation to prove its basis, whereas intelligent design does not.
Science books should be reserved for scientific theories, but there should be a small notation at the bottom of the page to inform students about intelligent design and why it is not included in the book’s format. Intelligent design should not be in a textbook, but it is too prominent for science departments to ignore when talking about evolution. There will be a student who brings up intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a viable alternative to teaching evolutionary theory.
Scientifically, those are two different ideas with a barely discernable common thread running through them.One is based on a higher supremely intelligent being, the other is grounded in science with more proof than an idea. Since intelligent design and evolutionism are from two separate fields, I believe it is possible to believe in both theories without feeling conflicted. I do believe schools should be able to critique evolutionary theory.
Education springs forth from intense discussion. People should always be given a chance to bounce ideas off of theories or even proven facts, especially in the scientific field. Stephen Hawking is celebrated throughout scientific academia for a theory.Since intelligent design and evolutionary theory are on the forefront of the scientific battles, I believe schools should teach them together.
Intelligent design has no place in school, but it will get in the curriculum one way or another. Since intelligent design is not going anywhere, as long as the teacher remains objective and informs the students the basis behind both of the theories, then it is alright. The students will decide what they believe anyway. Education should be a free flow of knowledge, not prevention.
If humanity had that theory, then there would be no Internet. Intelligent design and evolutionism can coexist together.People need to realize that intelligent design’s followers only want scientific recognition. Whereas, evolutionism is more grounded in science. Even though intelligent design tries to challenge the judicial system, in modern times they have yet to win an actual trial.
For now, there is still a definitive line between separation of church and state. Neither camp is going to back down and intelligent design is not going to disappear. The first step that the followers of intelligent design should do is separate themselves from the psyche of people who think that ID is the same as creationism.