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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Intelligent Evolution

A trial is underway to decide whether a concept called "Intelligent Design" should be introduced in high school science classes before curriculum on evolution is taught. As I see it, the trial should be over rather quickly as this all just seems to be a mix up. Intelligent Design should definitely be taught in high schools; however, it should be in religion class, not science class. I can’t believe this isn’t obvious to everyone.

First, let’s state the fact that Intelligent Design – like its root: Creationism – is a creation of someone’s imagination. A thought – even a brilliant one – does not a scientific theory make. Science is based on the scientific method in which one develops a hypothesis based on observations and then seeks evidence through experimentation to prove or disprove the hypothesis. A predictable and repeatable test to demonstrate a hypothesis can sometimes elevate the idea to a theory. Scientific laws have the utmost stringent requirements for demonstrable proof and positive reinforcement. Evolution is a theory – not a law. Creationism is neither.

Darwin wrote his theories of evolution after long observations on what could be considered as close to a closed biological system that is possible in a real world environment. His theories have consistently been reinforced by further scientific research in many fields. Sub-cellular biology has provided a deep knowledge of the inner workings of our most basic of building blocks that unite all species. And still, natural selection holds true.

Intelligent Design reasons a higher power of intelligence had to be involved in the creation of species because the sheer complexity of life itself is far too intricate to have evolved from lesser building blocks. This is a debate based on flawed logic. Intelligent Design is not a theory because you can’t disprove it. It can only be a theory if there is demonstrable proof in favor of its hypothesis.

I can tell you that an elephant is sitting here telling me what to type and as absurd as you think it is, you have to believe it unless you can prove me wrong. Therefore, elephants are not only superior beings able to communicate with a human, but they possess an elevated intellect and the ability to link thoughts and ideas to express an opinion and defend its validity. One can easily find an elephant and disprove this. Further elephant research would confirm that this outrageous claim is most likely false. With ongoing support, wild elephants could be evaluated to debunk this ruse. However, Intelligent Design proponents are quite a bit more lucky because the “intelligence” (which is simply the term used to obscure the pink elephant in the room: creationists have found a politically correct way to say “god”) is not to be found and therefore, unable to be questioned.

Of course, this works both ways. Intelligent Design can not be proven for the same reasons its proponents believe it can’t be unproven. There is nothing to test. There is no demonstrable evidence in favor of the hypothesis as there is none against it. Therefore, Intelligent Design is nothing more than an idea of how we got here. In a fact based study like science with rules and methods to develop sound ideas into theories and facts, there is no place for a proposal that ignores the rules and presents no evidence to forward a concept that already has a place in the church – not the science classroom.

~ Postscript ~

The time and complexity involved in the theories of evolution and natural selection may well be too broad to comprehend for the human mind. The observations of Darwin and those who followed in his footsteps have only occurred over less than 200 years. The scale of the entire evolutionary process that the theories describe occurred over billions of years. It is foolish to expect to see noticeable and dramatic changes in decades versus the possible mutations that can occur over millions of years – let alone billions.

Perhaps it is not for the human mind to understand or even comprehend how or why we are here. Perhaps our best purpose – and that of science – should be focused on understanding the afflictions that affect us and the inherent flaws in human nature that cause us to act in certain ways. While there is valuable insight to be gained from the knowledge of how we came about, debates between religious ideas that are simply though up and scientific theory that has been rigorously tested and supported have no place in the quest for fact-based knowledge.

Until we can apply proven science to cure death, we all will eventually learn the answer to Intelligent Design’s real question – is there or is there not a god.


Jen said...

Question: Whom does it hurt to believe in God. If you believe in God and die then you will go to heaven. If you do not believe in God and die supposedly you are destined for eternal damnation. What harm will it do anyone for that matter to believe in some sort of higher power? The answer is, no harm, except to those stubborn few who refuse to believe that anything can be greater than human beings themselves.

Vince said...

You miss the point entirely. Whether you do or don't believe in a god is a theological - or at best - a philosophical debate. The question of an existence of “anything […] greater than human beings themselves” is not to be asked or answered in a science class. The argument presented in the original post is that of scientific theories supported by repeatable, real-world observable evidence versus that of conjecture and imagination of closed minded zealots who demand their message be spread under the guise of science no matter the cost to the contrary disciplined research.


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