Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

It seems pretty clear that those who favor teaching Intelligent Design in public schools don't understand what science is. Science deals with the natural world and natural processes. Science works by sifting through evidence, proposing theories, and gathering more evidence to either support or reject the original hypothesis. Intelligent Design offers no verifiable proof and is unwilling to alter its position based on new evidence.

By definition, any Creator would have to have worked through supernatural activities. Science will never prove whether God exists or not and science cannot confirm Intelligent Design. The two areas are mutually exclusive. Science may eventually fill in all of the gaps in evolutionary theory, but it still doesn't mean Intelligent Design is incorrect. Or science may never get a rock solid handle on evolution, but that doesn't mean Intelligent Design is correct.

There is no science in Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design simply assumes that because science cannot currently answer all of the questions, that the universe is beyond our ability to understand because a "god" created it. It assumes that we mere mortals are incapable of putting together the pieces and solving this puzzle. What if we had gone along with this in the past and decided to give up on certain aspects of science? We would still think that the universe orbits the flat earth and that flies spontaneously appear in roadkill. We would have ignored progress in all fields of science and medicine because the problems appeared to intractable at the time.

Intelligent Design supporters simply say that if we can't give an answer NOW, then they must be right. That's like me asking a five year old to explain how a microwave works and when they can't tell me, I insist that my explanation (i.e., invisible radioactive hamsters on a treadmill) MUST be the right one. I have no proof (after all they're invisible), but they can't give me a provable answer NOW. It's not that they won't eventually be capable of understanding microwave radiation, rotational modes in water molecules, and other aspects of the process, its just that they currently don't have the necessary tools (education in this case) to discover the truth.

I don't believe in Intelligent Design, but I'm willing to accept that it could be correct; it's just not science and doesn't belong in a science classroom. I do believe in some form of evolution, but it could ultimately prove to be totally unlike the process that we currently accept. If another theory proves to be more in line with reality I will accept it. Are those who support Intelligent Design willing to be as open minded? So far, the evidence seems slim.

Let's leave science in the science classroom and religion (veiled as science) in the religion and philosophy classrooms.

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