by Denyse O'Leary
For some time now, I have been wanting to put a number of the recent polls on intelligent design vs. Darwinian evolution and/or creationism on line, as they may help people who write on the intelligent design controversy. I have organized them, as well as I am able, in chronological order. I have not attempted any meta-analysis because it likely isn't possible and in any event I don't have the skills. But I do intersperse a comment or two below where it seems warranted. Polls ask different questions of different respondent groups about different issues. But you can often get a pretty good idea of public opinion all the same.
2004 11 27 Poll: Creationism Trumps Evolution, according to a CBS News poll.
We are told that support for evolution is more heavily concentrated among those with more education and among those who attend religious services rarely or not at all.
Americans do not believe that humans evolved, and the vast majority says that even if they evolved, God guided the process. Just 13 percent say that God was not involved. But most would not substitute the teaching of creationism for the teaching of evolution in public schools.
There are also differences between voters who supported Kerry and those who supported Bush: 47 percent of John KerryÃ¯Â¿Â½s voters think God created humans as they are now, compared with 67 percent of Bush voters.
VIEWS ON EVOLUTION/CREATIONISM
God created humans in present form
All Americans 55%
Kerry voters 47%
Bush voters 67%
Humans evolved, God guided the process
All Americans 27%
Kerry voters 28%
Bush voters 22%
Humans evolved, God did not guide process
All Americans 13%
Kerry voters 21%
Bush voters 6%
Overall, about two-thirds of Americans want creationism taught along with evolution. Only 37 percent want evolutionism replaced outright.
More than half of Kerry voters want creationism taught alongside evolution. Bush voters are much more willing to want creationism to replace evolution altogether in a curriculum (just under half favor that), and 71 percent want it at least included.
We are also told that "Support for evolution is more heavily concentrated among those with more education and among those who attend religious services rarely or not at all." Well, um, yes, because Darwinism is the creation story of atheism. Some of the rest of the American public may happen to believe at least a bit of it but they don't need it in anything like the same way.
Incidentally, on 2005 06 17, the University of California at Berkeley asked its undergrad students the same questions with strikingly different results. fifty-six percent believed that God played no part on the process, which tells you what you need to know about the culture war in North America.
2005 03 09 Eighty-one percent of American teens believe that God was involved in evolution, according to a CBS News poll, commented on here by Baptist Press.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--America's public schools may be teaching evolution, but a significant number of teenagers aren't buying it, and an overwhelming majority of them believe that God one way or another was involved in the creation of humanity, according to a new Gallup poll.
The poll of 1,028 teenagers ages 13-17 found that 38 percent don't believe in evolution, believing instead that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." Another 43 percent believe that humans "developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided" the process. All total, 81 percent believe that God was somehow involved.
Only 18 percent believe that evolution took place without God playing a role.
Somebody knock me over with a feather please! In a country where most people believe in God, we might expect the young people to believe that God has something to do with evolution.
2005 05 23 An HCD Research study of physician views shows significant support for intelligent design from Christian but not Jewish doctors. While the pollsters say that the doctors "share similar education, income and social status," they don't tell me what I most want to know, which is, how attached are the respondents to their own traditions. What proportion, for example, of doctors who claim to be Protestants, Catholics, or Jews, are functionally atheists who never attend religious services? Are there differences between the groups in this key area? That could make a major difference, bigger than the difference in religion or denomination.
The responses were analyzed based on the religious affiliation. Among the findings:
- When asked whether they agree more with intelligent design or evolution, an overwhelming majority of Jewish doctors (88%) and more than half of Catholic doctors (60%) said they agree more with evolution, while slightly more than half of Protestants (54%) agree more with intelligent design.
- A majority of Catholic doctors (67%) agree with the statement that God initiated and guided an evolutionary process that has led to current human beings, while 11% believe that "God created humans exactly as they appear now." By contrast, less than half of Protestant doctors (46%) believe that God initiated and guided an evolutionary process, while 35% believe that God created humans as they appear now. The majority of Jewish doctors (65%) agree more with the statement that "humans evolved naturally with no supernatural involvement."
- The majority of all doctors (78%) accept evolution rather than reject it and, of those, Jews are most positive (94%), Catholics are next (86%) followed by Protestants (59%).
- Half of the doctors (50%) believe that schools should be allowed (but not required) to teach intelligent design.
- More than half of Catholic doctors (62%) feel that schools should be allowed (not required) to teach intelligent design, conversely, more than half of Jewish doctors (59%) believe that schools should be prohibited from teaching intelligent design.
- When asked whether intelligent design has legitimacy as science, an overwhelming majority of Jewish doctors (83%) and half of Catholic doctors (51%) believe that intelligent design is simply "a religiously inspired pseudo-science rather than a legitimate scientific speculation," while more than half of Protestant doctors (63%) believe that intelligent design is a "legitimate scientific speculation."
There is now an organization of doctors who doubt Darwin.
If a person is due no more respect than a chicken or lump of clay, he is as easily disposed of should someone more powerful (such as the doctor or a government agent) decide he has outlived his usefulness. That anti-human attitude isn't science fiction. It's the stated position of some contemporary bioethicists.
Fortunately, mounting evidence in the medical sciences points in a different directionÃ¯Â¿Â½toward the conclusion that you and I were designed for a purpose.
2005 07 01 John C. Sutherland of South Carolina undertakes an informal study of evangelical biology profs and announces in Science Magazine that the evangelical Christian public may be mostly anti-evolutionary, but that may not betrue of evangelical Christian biologists.
Curious as to how these biologists deal with evolution and creation, I wrote to "the Professor of Biology," at the 104 schools of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities listed in the CCCU's Web site. Biologists from six schools refused to participate. Sixty-seven schools responded. Twenty-five percent of the respondents affirmed their belief in a young Earth and a 6-day creation period. Twenty-seven percent hold the theistic evolution position, which accepts the common descent of all living things and believes that God acts through natural laws. The remainder were either reluctant to take a specific stance or were what are called old Earth progressive creationists--Earth is billions of years old, but God acted creatively to bridge the gaps, i.e., between amphibians and reptiles and between reptiles and birds. Five of this group merely sent printed statements of their school's position affirming its belief in a Creator God, but that there are multiple ways in which he might have done it.
A correspondent tells me,
My pre-med sister and brother-in-laws' experience at a conservative Christian university in the mid-80s was that virtually all of the biology professors were Darwinists, or at least theistic evolutionists who hadn't thought through the details of their position enough to even distinguish between a Darwinian position versus an old-earth, guided-evolution position.
Now we have a poll where only 1/4th of the biologists will sign onto something like a Neo-Darwinian position. Even if another fourth are also Darwinists but were too scared to say, we have something like half of biology professors at evangelical universities who reject neo-Darwinism. And we're told there is no scientific controversy about the idea of undirected evolution.
But of course we are told that.
2005 07 06
Nearly Two-thirds of U.S. Adults Believe Human Beings Were Created by God, according to a Harris Poll. Not too surprising, when you consider the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence, where Americans are informed that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under the circumstances, it is safer to believe that the creator is God than to believe that the creator is George Washington, Sir Francis Crick or the Easter Bunny. Interestingly,
Other key findings include:
A majority of U.S. adults (54%) do not think human beings developed from earlier species, up from 46 percent in 1994.
Forty-nine percent of adults believe plants and animals have evolved from some other species while 45 percent do not believe that.
Adults are evenly divided about whether or not apes and man have a common ancestry (46 percent believe we do and 47 percent believe we do not).
Again divided, 46 percent of adults agree that "DarwinÃ¯Â¿Â½s theory of evolution is proven by fossil discoveries," while 48 percent disagree.
Part of the problem is definitional. See, with respect to common ancestry, many intelligent people look at the evidence and see clearly the obvious point: We humans are so different in our practical effect on the planet from, say chimpanzees - including our ability to destroy the planet - that we just don't have the time for science organizations bellyaching that no one believes the theory that humans are just like chimpanzees. People who didn't believe it before are unlikely to start believing it now. Whatever the real story is, it includes some pretty major breaks between humans and whatever came before us.
2005 08 30
The Pew Research Center found that there was considerable support for teaching both sides of the origins story.
Overall, about half the public (48%) says that humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 42% say that living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Fully 70% of white evangelical Protestants say that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time; fewer than half as many white mainline Protestants (32%) and white Catholics (31%) agree.
Despite these fundamental differences, most Americans (64%) say they are open to the idea of teaching creationism along with evolution in the public schools, and a substantial minority (38%) favors replacing evolution with creationism in public school curricula. While much of this support comes from religious conservatives, these ideas - particularly the idea of teaching both perspectives - have a broader appeal. Even many who are politically liberal and who believe in evolution favor expanding the scope of public school education to include teaching creationism. But an analysis of the poll also reveals that there are considerable inconsistencies between people's beliefs and what they want taught in the schools, suggesting some confusion about the meaning of terms such as "creationism" and "evolution."
(Note: This was part of a broader study that asked 2000 adults about a variety of topics. Asking about a variety of topics closely spaced can bias poll results; nonetheless, it's not far off other polls, so the opinions it solicited seem to be stable over time.)
2005 10 10 USA Today: "A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll sheds light on where Americans stand (53% of respondents say the Bible had it right)." This article revisits all the stereotypes. Interestingly, about two-fifths of the respondents had thought a lot about the subject and considered it important.
To the question, "Human beings have evolved, but God had no part in the process", the responses were:
65 and older: 11%
which means that the Darwinists are not even reaching the agnostics very effectively.
(Source: USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup telephone survey of 1,005 on Sept. 8-11, 2005. Margin of error +/- 3 percentage points.)
2006 02 03 From Zogby, Overwhelming support in Ohio for teaching both sides, a poll commissioned by the Discovery Institute of likely Ohio voters,
Which of the following two statements come closest to your own opinion?
A) Biology teachers should teach only DarwinÃ¯Â¿Â½s theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.
Biology teachers should teach DarwinÃ¯Â¿Â½s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.
C) Neither/Not Sure
In 2006 in Ohio:
A = 19%
B = 68.8%
C = 12%
In 2002 in Ohio:
A = 19%
B = 65%
C = 16%
Of course, put that way, most people will say they want to hear both sides, but will they insist on it?
2006 01 26 Britain Only the BBC could have been surprised to discover that "Just under half of Britons accept the [Darwinian] theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll" and that 40 percent of the 2000 surveyed want other theories taught as well. But then we also learn that
The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI for the BBC's Horizon series.
Its latest programme, A War on Science, looks into the attempt to introduce ID into science classes in the US.
See, the trouble with legacy mainstream media is that, in general, they actually do not want to know why most people don't put their faith in Darwinism. The BBC crowd might have been (but wasn't, of course) tipped off by an incident I wrote about in By Design or by Chance? , in which Spectator journalist Mary Wakefield discovered, to her surprise, (October 25 2003) that none of her flatmates took Darwinism seriously. Somehow, I don't think that a flood of government-financed propaganda is going to provide the answer.
No claim is made that these are the only polls available; they are just the recent ones I hve found links for. But I have no particular reason to doubt they are representative. Of the making of many polls there is no end.
What I think: Darwinian evolution is a theory of history, in this case the history of biological life. It is no different in principle from theories about why the World War I was not (as people hoped) the war to end all wars, but rather a hugely destructive nihilistic conflict that led in short order to World War II, which was even worse. One theory may make more sense than another, of course, when we are trying to interpret a given stretch of history. But all such theories depend on underlying philosophies.
The main problem with Darwinism is that, to make sense of the theory, you must accept an underlying philosophy, which most Americans and Brits simply do not accept. Perhaps most humans generally do not accept it. In that case, it is a very good question whether citizens should pay taxes in order to support its imposition on school systems.
February 2006 Metanexus, a religion and science foundation with a Web site, surveyed its users and other interested parties on "Evolution and Intelligent Design" and found that
Of the 367 people respondents, who responded to our February  survey on Evolution and Intelligent Design. Of those respondents:
49.6% said they do not believe that ID has a place in American public education
27.5% said they do believe that ID has a place in American public education
And 20.9% responded that ID may have a place in American public education, or they were unsure.
March 7, 2006 A Zogby poll commissioned by the Discovery Institute found that "Americans Overwhelmingly Support Teaching Scientific Challenges to Darwinian Evolution."Actually, 69 percent of Americans support polled supported "public school teachers presenting both the evidence for Darwinian evolution, as well as the evidence against it."
(Note: This is a very different question from asking whether ID should be taught in schools or whether Darwinism should not be.)
According to a Discovery spokesman,
Among the biggest supporters are 18-29 year-olds (88%), 73% of Republicans, and 74% of independent voters. Others who strongly support this approach include African-Americans (69%), 35-54 year-olds (70%) and 60% of Democrats.
June 6, 2006 Angus Reid poll shows little change from polls two years ago.
(Angus Reid Global Scan) Ã¯Â¿Â½ Adults in the United States are divided over the origin of life, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 46 per cent of respondents think God created human beings in their present form, and 36 per cent say man developed from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. A further 13 per cent think God played no part in the evolution of human beings.
North American polls in 2007 show several key trends:
1. Both evolution and creation are widely accepted, and the distribution of numbers is roughly stable over the years. No dramatic proof or disproof of Darwin's theory that would change many minds has occurred. That said, it is quite likely that many people believe contradictory things.
2. Americans are (or think they are) well aware of the arguments on either side, and generally do not want the issues politicized.
3. Canadian responses differ markedly from American ones in several ways, principally because the issues have not been politicized in Canada. The reasons why they have not are worth noting.
Newsweek Poll, March 31, 2007
In Newsweek's breathless prose:
Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.
Now, as I noted in By Design or by Chance?, and elsewhere, most human history about which we have any significant information is compressed into the last 10,000 years or so. Support for the view that "God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years"should not necessarily be equated with support for young earth creationism (the universe/the earth is only 10,000 years old) - though it usually is. While comparing the responses to this question year by year is convenient for pollsters, it artificially inflates the apparent numbers of young earth creationists. Here are the numbers.
Actually, one of the problems with surveys of this type is that people are extremely confused on the subject of origins. Many of them actually believe mutually exclusive things. We have been doing creation worldview assessments at LU for several years and have published several studies on it. One of the surprising findings is the fact that there are a number of students who would agree with all of the following statements:
Adam and Eve were real people
God made Adam directly from the "dust of the earth"
All living things share the same common ancestors
God made all living things in six 24 hour days
The dinosaurs died millions of years before man existed
Noah's Flood was global in extent and effect
The geologic column shows evidence of millions of years of history
The universe began with the "big bang" about 14 billion years ago
and so on.
People often don't realize that some of their beliefs are contradictory. A common belief is that evolution of all living things happened but God made Adam and Eve separately. This is because of the way worldview development occurs. It is not in the linear manner that worldview definitions and list would lead us to believe. It is through a hodge-podge interactive hypertext manner with a smorgasbord of different beliefs. Sometimes I ask people who say they believe that God made everything in 6 24-hr days if dinosaurs and people lived at the same time. They have to think about it because they reflexively say no, dinosaurs died millions of years before man, but this contradicts what they just said.
Steve Deckard and I developed an instrument to measure a young earth creationist view. It asks a number of questions and quantifies the strength and consistency of the young earth view. We give this as a pretest and post-test in our creation course at Liberty University.
If there really were 45% of Americans that believed God specially created man roughly 10,000 years ago and all that this implies, evolution would not be so dominant in our society. The problem is that they believe both.
That sounds familiar to me. Most people live in hypertext. Mind you, it's not clear which side the confusion helps more.
While we're here, asking questions about creation-evolution at the same time as asking a whack of questions on political topics encourages "culture wars" stereotypes. But for budget reasons, it probably can't be helped.
Gallup Poll USA, 2007 06 07
In the responses to
this recent poll of 1007 Americans, 44% said evolution is false and 31% said creationism is false. Eighty-two percent claimed to be familiar with evolution (and 17% not familiar), and 86% claimed to be familiar with creationism (and 13% not familiar). Over half of registered voters said that a presidential candidate's views would make no difference, and 70% did not consider the issue relevant.
These figures are quite interesting because they indicate, on the one hand, a high level of public interest (based on the small numbers who claim to be unfamiliar with the terms) and a broad consensus that it is not a political issue.
(Note: I would be interested to know Gallup's rationale for "evolution" vs. "creationism", as opposed to "evolution" vs. "creation". The two terms are obviously not balanced. If the intention is to advantage evolution and disadvantage creation, I wonder how that affected the poll results?)
Canadians pretty evenly split on human origins in 2007
Decima polled Canadians, reporting July 3, 2007:
Here are the Canadian responses to the 2007 question by percentage, along with the US figures to a similar series of questions in brackets:
- Less than one in three Canadians (29%) believe that God had no part in the
creation or development of human beings. (US: 13%)
- Fewer still (26%) believe Ã¢â‚¬Å“that God created human beings pretty much in their
present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or soÃ¢â‚¬Â. (US: 46%)
- A plurality, but still only 34%, say that Ã¢â‚¬Å“human beings have developed over millions
of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this processÃ¢â‚¬Â. (US: 36%)
Not only are Canadians pretty evenly split, but the ones most likely to credit God are middle-of-the-road voters. This is not good news for anyone who wishes to politicize the controversy in Canada.
One factor that differentiates Canada from the United States, as I have pointed out elsewhere, is this: While Canada is a more secular country, it also allows tax-supported religious schools under certain conditions. As a result, the number of people who feel compelled to be in a fight over what students are taught is, inevitably, lower.
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain (Harper 2007).
The False Duality Argument Debunked
Â© 2006 by Kevin Wirth
Word count: 7500
You may freely circulate this report as long as you do not charge a fee and keep all text intact.
DOVER DISCLAIMER LAUNDRY LIST
"In summary, the disclaimer singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a scientific resource, and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead seek out religious instruction elsewhere. Furthermore, as Drs Alters and Miller testified, introducing ID necessarily invites religion into the science classroom and it sets up what will be perceived by students a â€œGod-friendlyâ€ science, the one that explicitly mentions an intelligent designer, and that the â€œother science,â€ evolution, takes no position on religion (14:144-45 Alters). Dr. Miller testified that a false duality is produced: It â€œtells studentsâ€¦quite explicitly, choose God on the side of intelligent design or choose atheism on the side of scienceâ€. (2:54-55(Miller). Introducing such a religious conflict into the classroom is â€œvery dangerousâ€ because it forces students to â€œchoose between God and science,â€ not a choice that schools should be forcing on them.â€
This statement is what I call the Dover Disclaimer Laundry List, and it comes directly from the Kitzmiller Opinion.
The courts that have ruled on such matters accuse IDers and creationists of establishing what they call a â€˜false dualityâ€™, in short, the idea that the debate about the origin and development of life is â€œeither-orâ€, e.g., in simple terms, there are only two explanations for biological complexity - either life evolved or it was created. Both the McLean and now the Kitzmiller courts have accused the defendants in this matter (the Dover School Board) of making this up or lying about it (the McLean court referred to this issue as a â€œcontrived dualismâ€). In any event, this idea really isnâ€™t original with IDers, and besides, plenty of people agree with this concept anyway â€“ whether they believe in a creator or not (and I document this extensively in the better portion of this essay). SO the bottom line here is: I say this notion isnâ€™t contrived at all, as the McLean and Kitzmiller courts maintain.
At this point I want to call attention to and comment on just one remark by Dr. Ken Miller from the â€˜Laundry Listâ€™ above.
Dr. Miller testified that a false duality is produced: It â€œtells studentsâ€¦quite explicitly, choose God on the side of intelligent design or choose atheism on the side of scienceâ€. (2:54-55(Miller)).
Yet this is precisely what some scientists actually seek to do: denigrate or eradicate the influence of â€˜religiousâ€™ views wherever they are found, not just in the science classroom. The view clearly promoted by many Darwinists is
â€œif you are a person of faith, you canâ€™t do science, in fact, you arenâ€™t even capable or qualified to do scientific work. If you donâ€™t believe in Darwinism, we canâ€™t give you a degree in science or publish any paper you have written in one of our scientific journals. You canâ€™t be both a person of faith and a good scientist.â€œ
Such sentiments are almost ubiquitous in academia and in the scientific community. They may not be the personal views of Dr. Miller, but they are the views that many scientists and students encounter all the time.
Why then. is there such a hue and cry for the protection of students against the alleged improper or harmful influence of ID, when there seems to be absolutely zero consideration for the hostile influence of Darwinists and their blatant acts of antagonism and discrimination against anyone who fails to believe as they do? False duality? I donâ€™t think so. Only a blind or ignorant person would make such a claim.
James Watson â€“ a very educated man by nearly everyoneâ€™s assessment - also makes no bones about his hostility towards matters of faith, and posits his dislike in the context of either revelation or science:
James Watson (co-discoverer of the DNA code) stopped by California Institute of Technologyâ€¦ and had an informal chat onstage with David Baltimore (Nobel laureate in DNA research, current Caltech president). The discussion, held before a packed auditorium, was just reported in Caltechâ€™s latest issue of its magazine Engineering and Science (LXVI:2, pp. 19-25). Jane Dietrichâ€™s report is entitled, â€œA Conversation with Jim Watson.â€ In their unrehearsed remarks, they touched on many subjects: the history of Watson and Crickâ€™s discovery, computational biology, the minimum genome for life, the ethics of genetic screening, pseudogenes, cloning, aging, the brain, ethics, politics, science policy, religion, and what it means to be human. For example:
â€¦Watsonâ€™s response was that he finds it troubling that our society is indifferent to continued genetic disease. â€œThere is a conflict between truth by revelation and truth by observation and experiment. I think the big fight eventually in our country is not going to be between Republicans and Democrats, but between those who think secularly and those who think in a fundamentalist way.â€
Incidentally, Crick and Watson were reported as using the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their discovery of the structure of DNA (in 2003) as an opportunity â€œto mount an attack on religionâ€.
Many would argue that the religious beliefs of these and other scientists are not germane because science and religion are two different â€œmagisteriaâ€. Oh really? Then why doesnâ€™t that argument hold up when the IDer mentions it? Ah, thatâ€™s because the concept of ID, we are told, is inherently religious. But actually, thatâ€™s a contrived and false argument also. So where does that leave us?
No doubt it is possible to separate Darwinism in the classroom from the anti-religious zealotry in which it often arises. In the same way, presumably, intelligent design theory or objections to Darwinism can also be taught without the religious views in which they often arise.
Dr. Ken Millerâ€™s Flawed Notion of a â€˜Falseâ€™ Duality
In its opinion, the Kitzmiller court rests heavily on the testimony of Dr. Ken Miller in reaching itâ€™s conclusion about the notion of a â€œfalse dualityâ€. For that reason, itâ€™s important to take a close look at what Dr. Miller had to say. My contention is, contrary to Dr. Millerâ€™s sworn testimony in Kitzmiller, that such a duality not only exists, but is widely accepted and understood among many people in the general population of the USA, and is also particularly known and accepted by many people in the scientific, philosophic, and academic communities. I further maintain that Dr. Miller twists the facts in his testimony, thus rendering his arguments impotent.
Here is some of his sworn testimony:
(to read the rest of this article, please click here)
The GEE-ology of Biology Education in America
Â© 2006 by Kevin Wirth
Word count: 4325
Itâ€™s come to this: Extortion is now the acceptable tactic for determining what our kids get taught. Think Iâ€™m exaggerating?
Then consider this: In recent years, Intelligent Design (ID) has come into the forefront of the culture war in American education as an alternative explanation for how life came to be on our planet. In the battle over how to best present the origins issue in American public schools, there seems to be a â€˜missing linkâ€™ in the way the state understands how this is supposed to work. I call this missing link the â€œGeeâ€ factor, because thereâ€™s just a lot stuff that seems pretty obvious to parents, but doesnâ€™t seem to be connecting in the neurons of our brilliant court judges. The whole concept of thuggery on the part of those who oppose the notion of ID seems to conveniently escape their notice.
The way education should work is, we hire the state to use their expertise and come up with standards, and they advise and facilitate the education process for our kids with the best available curriculum they can muster. Meanwhile, the state must answer to the people (esp. taxpaying parents) for what it produces. And, if the state, in its infinite wisdom, determines that some topics should be presented in a manner that a significant number of parents object to â€“ regardless of what the state thinks about it - then the state needs to figure out an effective way to deal with it for all concerned instead of telling one group of parents their views cannot be accommodated simply because they are out of sync with the majority.
Itâ€™s come to the point where our educators are afraid of permitting a presentation of an intelligent agent at work in the natural world because they have been bullied and threatened with an ACLU-instant, budget-breaking lawsuit, and so they feel that the best policy is to duck and run.
I donâ€™t call that just crass intimidation â€“ but felony extortion in my view. Itâ€™s like telling your local school district â€œYou donâ€™t teach ID and we wonâ€™t sue you to the point where you canâ€™t afford to buy textbooks for the next 10 yearsâ€. Thugs do that. Not people who respect the individual right of people to make up their own minds.
I mean, come on â€“ our education curriculum includes perspectives from a HUGE variety of minority perspectives. Yet somehow â€“ the perspective that life on this planet might be the result of some (undefined) intelligent agent is just too far afield to be included because, we are conveniently told, itâ€™s a â€œreligiousâ€ view. Even if it has no specific object of veneration or worship, we are told that to include ID in our science curriculums would be â€˜unconstitutionalâ€™.
BA-loney! Donâ€™t you believe it. Not for one second. Thatâ€™s what the ideological opponents of ID would like us all to think â€“ but it simply isnâ€™t accurate.
First of all, itâ€™s not unconstitutional if it doesnâ€™t advocate a religious belief system (which ID doesnâ€™t). Opponents of ID make this wild-eyed and erroneous claim of â€œitâ€™s religious!â€ because they think itâ€™s the only way they can keep ID out of our schools. If ID ever becomes acknowledged as good science, then itâ€™s all over (and they know it).
If solid empirical evidence for Darwinâ€™s claim is so lacking, thoughtful students can hardly fail to pose to themselves the question, what makes the theory of evolution so successful an idea? In answer to this perplexing question, one might assert that the phenomenon of acceptance â€¦ is propelled to some degree by a deep-seated urge to formulate a non-religious model to explain the appearance of all living things through natural laws. With the establishment of a natural law model such as Darwinism, it is invariably true that only ideas or theories based on natural principles will be accepted. (emphasis added)
Secondly, the ID perspective actually advocates for better science, not religion. Itâ€™s a sad fact that the ideological opponents of ID have mis-characterized the issue as a â€˜religiousâ€™ one when the architects of ID do not promote ANY religious doctrine in their approach. Even sadder, however, is the seeming inability of the ID camp to overcome this handicap with an effective and compelling message. They currently suffer from being mistaken as â€˜creationism in a tuxedoâ€™.
Meanwhile, isnâ€™t it interesting that while our education system is becoming more and more I.D. averse, it consistently cranks out a science curriculum that includes the following message: â€œAlthough the universe LOOKS like it was designed, no intelligent agent was needed for the assimilation of life because life evolved by purely chance processesâ€. It seems if you mention the possibility of an intelligent agent at work itâ€™s somehow impermissible and unconstitutional, yet, if we teach our kids that no such intelligence is necessary, thatâ€™s OK. So, mentioning an intelligent agent is actually just fine, as long as itâ€™s the opinion that such an agent isnâ€™t necessary.
Excuse me? Does anyone detect the insanity in this approach?
Many educators and science professionals are absolutely gob-smacked that the number of Americans who believe that a Creator was responsible for life on Earth hasnâ€™t changed at all, technically speaking, in recent decades. How is that possible, after all that hard work to make sure our kids get â€˜properly educatedâ€™ in the biological sciences?
See, in a Democracy we all understand the need for our kids to get educated in the basics â€“ like reading, writing, and how to use a calculator. And we all understand the difficulties the state has in trying to be all things to all people. But having said that, the state does not have the right to infringe on the values parents seek to impart to their kids â€“ that job belongs to parents. And to suggest, as many opponents to ID do, that evolution does not impart any value judgments, is a bald farce.
(to read the rest of this report, please download the full pdf version here)
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at