Should Intelligent Design be Taught Alongside Evolution
A trial is currently taking place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania concerning the question of whether a local school district can require students to be told about intelligent design (ID) as an alternative to Darwinian evolution (Holden 1796). This trial, known as Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, could result in the setting of a national precedence. The reason for this is that the losing side is likely to appeal every step of the way, ultimately arriving at the Supreme Court (Johnson 2). In order to formulate an informed opinion as to whether students should be required to be told about intelligent design, it is necessary to examine the history of the debate, take both viewpoints into account, and understand the stakes behind the decision.
The controversy surrounding evolution and how it should be taught in public schools first entered the public eye in 1925 when John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution to Tennessee schoolchildren. The "Monkey Trial" as John Scopes' case was nicknamed, was not really about John Scopes breaking the law, but rather about conflicting social and intellectual values (Linder). William Jennings Bryan claimed that "if evolution wins, Christianity goes" and on the other side, Clarence Darrow warned that banning evolution was "opening the doors for a reign of bigotry equal to anything in the Middle Ages" (Linder). While both of these statements are a bit over the top, they do capture the fears rampant on both sides of the debate. As history tells us, the court found John Scopes guilty of teaching evolution and fined him $100 (the fine was later overturned based on a technicality). The court also stated that while they forbade the teaching of evolution, they "did not require the teaching of any other doctrine, so that it did not benefit any doctrine over the others" (Linder). This case was a giant setback for advocates of evolutionary theory, one that would not be overcome for over forty years.
In 1968 the Supreme Court's decision on Epperson v. Arkansas, reversed its previous ruling and allowed the teaching of evolution in public schools. Their decision was based on an interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment that prohibits a state from "requiring that teaching and learning be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any particular religious sect or doctrine" (Wikipedia). This was a great step forward for evolution supporters, but evolution was still frowned upon by a majority of the public while creation science reigned supreme. Before we can come back to the present day debate there remains one more landmark decision in the history of the conflict between evolution and religion.
That decision was the case of Edwards v. Aguillard, which took place in 1987. The case was over a law requiring creation science to be taught every time that evolution was taught. The Supreme Court found this law to be unconstitutional, but it also stated that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction" (Wikipedia). The backlash of this decision was felt a mere two years later when creationists produced the text book Of Pandas and People. Of Pandas and People lays out an assault against evolutionary biology and is the primary text book of intelligent design supporters (Wikipedia). Although intelligent design proponents claim no religious affiliation, their primary textbook was written by individuals in favor of Christian creation theory and was written shortly after creationism lost a landmark trial. Thus the link between intelligent design and Christian creation theory is very strong and the statement that intelligent design is not linked to a particular religion becomes very suspicious.
With the turbulent background of the debate laid out,...
...Evolution, Creationism, Both, or Neither in Schools?
In “One Side Can Be Wrong,” Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne argue that teaching creationism along side evolution does not make sense, and that creationism has no business being in the science classes. Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne are evolutionary biologists at Oxford University and the University of Chicago. They published this essay in the Guardian in September 2005, seeking to appeal to middle-aged parents. They argue that creationism cannot provide any positive evidence to create a controversy and therefore should not be taught in schools to children and teenagers. On the other hand, there is a substantial amount of evidence for evolution where debate and conversation can arise. According to Dawkins and Coyne there are some who believe one theory must be right simply because of the many fallacies in the other. Dawkins and Coyne attempt to change this mindset. Dawkins and Coyne are ultimately effective in persuading their readers to rethink their conclusions about evolution and creationism by using tools such as rhetorical questions, tone, and juxtaposition. They challenge their readers to think about evolution rather than simply believing in creationism because evolution may have a few holes.
The first that will be analyzed is the use of rhetorical questions throughout the essay. One...
...The theory of evolution through natural selection describes how humans and other animals have evolved over a long period of time. Charles Darwin made a hypothesis based on the different pictures of the same animal that were found over the years. There was a slight change in its features, which brought him to the conclusion of how animals adapt over time. His theory began to gather more evidence when discovering fossilized “ape-like” bone structures, which gives great data to his theory that all animals evolve over time to adapt to their surroundings. There are many species that do not exist because they did not have the capability to move forward in order to survive.
With enough evidence to prove this theory is probable, there was an effort made to prove that man-kind, or human beings, also adapted to the new surroundings brought forth. That being said, due to our ability to be different than any other species, we have evolved just like any other life form trying to survive. To support this claim, the fossils he found were believed to be a part of what we have evolved from, also to be supported with monkeys. There is said to be a “middle man” in between his findings… but there isn’t enough evidence today to prove that humans have “evolved” because our DNA is so complex and doesn’t even come close to the DNA of a monkey. The conflict between IntelligentDesign is that these theorists believe there was a purpose to human life...
...education: Teaching Evolution, Creationism, and IntelligentDesign
As a high school student I attended Indian Hill in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sitting in my fourth period class on yet another boring day of high school I couldn’t help but notice my science teacher acting a little peculiar. My teacher was teaching the subject of evolution to a diverse class. It is like he became a different teacher. I remember that was the fastest day of class. All through high school I noticed my teachers would act uncomfortable when dealing with the subject of evolution. Most of my teachers would quickly hurry through the lecture with little class participation and discussion. Other times I’d notice my teachers becoming bias to certain viewpoints and swaying the class activities to their side. So I wondered, do teachers feel uncomfortable teaching a subject or subjects so strongly debated over. On the other hand my teachers would never give an alternative theory or belief to counter what evolution says. With all the different opinions around the spectrum, is it impossible to narrow down one specific theory or belief to teach? Evolution, creationism and intelligentdesignshould be taught in public schools only to inform and educate students with the knowledge from the theories debated upon.
...reason you should act on your human nature in a socially disapproving way, you will go to hell. But he is an all forgiving God. It is this belief in a higher being that has inspired many people from all corners of the world. Faith, the belief in something that cannot be seen. Faith is a very personal and powerful part if many peoples lives, including myself. While faith is enough to satisfy the curiosity of many, there are those who seek more proof and understanding in our world. For these people, "God willed it" is not satisfactory. Scientists attempt to explain our world through the scientific method, Darwin's theory of evolution and many years of research.
So this sets up for the debate of all debates, who are we and were did we come from? On one side we have IntelligentDesign, or I.D. which claims that something in nature are simply too complex to happen by chance. In their view there is a higher being (God) who us being it all. On the other side of the debate we have evolution, which consists of Darwin's theory of natural selection. To their credit scientists have a better case, but it's fair because they are so much smarter. This is a debate which really has three sides. The third being politics, but I won't get into that. There isn't much of a middle ground on this issue. You're learning on way or the other.
A 1999 Gallup poll showed that thirty-eight percent of people believed wholly in...
...ShouldIntelligentDesign be taughtalongsideEvolution in public schools?
For many years, there has been a debate on whether intelligentdesignshould be taughtalongsideevolution in public school systems. Fundamentalists and progressives constantly argue that intelligentdesignshould or should not be taught based on their personal bias. Intelligentdesign is not and should not be considered a form of science. It is merely a myth therefore it should not be taught is public school systems. This will also be unfair for the students and the teachers. The teachers will have more to teach and the students will have more to learn which increases the difficulty of standardized tests. Teaching intelligent will also violate the first amendment which separates church and state.
First of all, intelligentdesign is not science. It is not considered a science because intelligentdesign cannot be tested. It has been proved through fossils that things have evolved over time. Intelligentdesign is the belief that things magically appeared long ago, which cannot be tested or proved....
Evolutionalongside Creationism School
In the essay “Why Evolutionshould be taught in public school” by Laura Kahn. According to Kahn, we need to educate the next generation of scientists on understanding how microbes develop and change to give them the tools to develop treatment against antibiotic resistant bacteria emerging viruses, and other deadly microbes. As she learned from her time in medicine, she recognizes the necessity of learning evolution to develop treatments in this rapid microbial environment. Unfortunately, certain aspects of society insist that religious doctrine be taught instead of evolution. According to a 2005 Harris poll, a majority of U.S citizens believe in creationism. Another survey show that two-thirds of U.S citizen believe creationism should be taughtalongsideevolution. Mrs. Kahn believed if we fail to teach science in public schools we would become scientifically illiterate. Therefore, we need to remain vigilant that our children receive a good science education to further enhance human understanding, and a good science education includes learning about evolution.
In the nineteenth century, during the “Spontaneous generation” scientists and physicians were unprepared in developing strategies against infectious killing...
...community remains convinced about evolution—not only on the basis of the evidence he cited, but also based on evidence from sources he could not have dreamed of. But he would not be happy to learn that almost half of the American population do not accept evolution. Moreover, he would be downright dismayed to know that a group of creationists has devised a minimalist form of Creationism—dubbed "IntelligentDesign"—in the hope of evading the constitutional barrier to teaching creationism in public schools. I am suspicious about the design-type idea not only due to the fact that ID derives from creationism, but also because of the faulty way its proponents develop their arguments.
The argument of IntelligentDesign commences from a denial of evolutionism, which turns IntelligentDesign into a sophistry. This argument roots the correctness of its idea on the ground that Darwinism is inconceivable and lacks evidence to prove its correctness. However, a theory should not establish its argument from the denial of another theory. "The fundamental problem with intelligentdesign is that you can't use it to explain the natural world. It's essentially a negative argument. It says, 'Evolution doesn't work, therefore the designer did it. Evolution doesn't work, therefore we win by default'"...
...other regions of the country have had attempts to include IntelligentDesign into their science curricula? Where have ID proponents been successful in incorporating this viewpoint into public science classes?
The theory of intelligentdesign argues that some features of the universe are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Due to its controversial nature it is not widely taught throughout our country and has met with some problems for schools that have taught the idea. While private and religious-based schools have the freedom to teach open curricula, we learned in 2005 that public schools however cannot. In December 2005, a federal judge in Pennsylvania made a controversial ruling that it would be unconstitutional to teach the theory of intelligentdesign in public school science class (Kitzmiller v. Dover). Another school in Ohio began looking into adding IntelligentDesign into their curricula but ended up coming short when it became time to make the ruling. After a poll of local parents, students and teachers it was found that 59% favored including teaching both evolution and intelligentdesign to middle school and high school students, while only 8% wanted only evolution...