Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
August 16 05
Recently, there has been much debate about the theory of "intelligent design," which says that life, including human life, was created by an intelligent designer rather than by chance through a series of "accidents" in the protein world. The state of Kansas has been in the spotlight as it introduces the teaching of the theory of intelligent design, alongside the theory of evolution, in the public schools. President Bush said last week that he supports such a curriculum, giving a boost to many "conservative" teachers and school boards.
The problem, of course, is that most science teachers are strong advocates for Darwin's theory of evolution. These scientists say that intelligent design, or ID, cannot be tested; therefore, it is not subject to the scientific method and cannot be taught as science. Never mind that the theory of evolution cannot be tested, either.
I don't remember much from my science classes. I do remember making a model of a cell in high school biology class. I got a six-inch diameter styrofoam ball, cut it in half, and made a hinge for it. I opened it up and carved out troughs along the inside surfaces where I inserted colored Play-Dough: an orange nucleus and worm-like strings of blue ribosomes. Yeah, that was ninth-grade biology in 1979: Not very high-tech (we didn't have computers), but it worked. To this day, though, I cannot recall ever having been taught the theory of evolution. I don't think it ruined my life or made me less of a student.
I went on to college and then graduate school. I still wasn't saved and still didn't know much about the "origins of life," but I remember having a discussion with one of my favorite professors. He was a nice guy and he seemed very intelligent, so I was stunned to learn that he was passionate about the theory of evolution. I couldn't understand why such a learned man would cling to a theory that had yet to be proven over a span of 150 years. In my training in the Research Psychology program, I learned that if you fail to prove your hypotheses over a period of time, you explain why your hypotheses were not borne out in the research, you move on, you develop new hypotheses.
For some reason, though, these very smart people, who would argue that such and such a theory should be dismissed due to lack of evidence after some years of research, continue to promote the theory of evolution. There has to be a reason why they are so passionate about evolution. I asked my professor if he believed man evolved, essentially, from chimpanzees. He replied that that is the only logical explanation. So, I asked him, then, if we evolved from monkeys, how come we still have monkeys? As far as I knew, new ones were being born every day and they looked the same as the ones for which we have evidence from thousands of years ago. They don't seem to have evolved. And they certainly aren't turning into humans today. My professor just chuckled and said he had to go to a class.
High school science teachers argue that intelligent design stems from religion and, therefore, should not be taught in public schools. According to Webster's Dictionary, religion deals with, primarily, those things that are beyond the visible world. In that sense, evolution would not be a religious concern, for it seeks after those things that are visible, namely, the manifest changes in species over time. However, evolution has yet to be proven precisely because those changes have not taken place in a natural, logical manner. There are "missing links," and there are gaps in the fossil records. There is abundant evidence that new species appeared completely intact without any prior development. In the absence of scientific proof of evolution, there must be a reason why people continue to believe in the theory of evolution.
If we continue to look at Webster's, we will see that the second definition of religion is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." Certainly, one could say that ID is based on religion according to this definition. Intelligent design assumes that some being designed life as we know it and because we believe this, we live our lives accordingly. If we assume there is a "creator," then we make decisions based on who we believe this creator to be. Those who believe in a specific creator generally agree on a set of beliefs and practices. That meets the definition of a religion.
If we apply this definition of religion to ID, as the evolutionists do, we may conclude that the teaching of ID in the public schools promotes religion. However, if we apply the definition of religion to evolution, we may conclude the same thing. The theory of evolution has adherents who subscribe to the notion that there is no creator being. These evolutionists live their lives accordingly. Their beliefs about the origins of life greatly affect how they live their lives. In fact, they are passionate about science and evolution. They generally agree on a set of beliefs and practices based on their faith in evolution. And I do mean faith. It takes a great deal of faith to believe in something that has yet to be proven after 150 years of rigorous research.
The evolutionists will argue that ID is based on religion, but I would argue that evolution is also based on religion, the religious belief that there is no creator God. Many evolutionists are evolutionists precisely because it gives them an answer to life other than a creator God. They will defend evolution despite the lack of evidence. They live with great faith. They are bound together in their beliefs all around the world and, most closely, in the science community. They have conferences and seminars where they espouse their doctrine and refine their beliefs. Their god is science.
Should evolution be taught in public schools? No, because it has continued to be proven false. Should ID be taught in public schools? Perhaps it could be debated in cosmology classes where there is great evidence for an intelligent design of the universe. Perhaps it could be debated in biology classes due to the mathematical impossibility for anything but the intelligent design of the cell.
But I would argue, first and foremost, that intelligent design should be taught in the home and in the Church. You'll need a Bible and some basic science books. You'll want to study math, particularly probabilities and statistics. Go ahead and teach biology. You can learn a lot without getting into evolution. Make a styrofoam cell and call it good.