Intelligent design? Meh

The problem is not the fact that intelligent design technically is not science, it is that it is beginning a trend.

Being a former fundamentalist, I can sympathize with the intelligent designer thought process; but as a religious studies major, Iím finding it harder to do so. I actually read Michael Beheís book when I was very strict about my fundamentalist beliefs and grabbed onto every word he fed me. I felt that believing in God required there be a literal Genesis chapter one (and/or two) creation. In retrospect, I realize our amazing abilities to deny evidence when it contradicts our beliefs. I willfully remained ignorant of evolution out of fear of what it might disprove in the Bible. I even had talked with biology professors about evolution but immediately would discard their professional views because of my belief filters. This willful ignorance and denial of facts is a powerful force. I believed because I wanted to believe, not because the facts compelled me to.

Tom Ashby brought up that there are systems for which Darwinís theory of evolution does not work. It is general understanding that this theory has not been a fit for some time: it is not the same as it was in 1859 with ìThe Origin of Species,” but then again, no theory can be a perfect fit, and Darwinís has been enhanced and expanded since its initial publication. Biologists have modified Darwinís theory and come up with a best-fit solution considering the information we have. Darwinís theory is neither gospel nor scientific theory.

Humans have a long history of ascribing gods to things we do not understand. There are some things we cannot explain, but for us to ascribe a god to the sun, sea, hurricanes, corn and grain would seem ridiculous to us now. Should we ascribe God to a complex human system we cannot currently explain? Can we reasonably ignore so much evidence for evolution?

Kansas changed the definition of science to include intelligent design. The removal of the phrase ìnatural explanations” from the definition may seem small, but this change allows science to then include supernatural explanations. Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of the Sciences, says ìthe entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that the gaps be filled by natural explanations logically derived from confirmable evidence.” This view represents the vast majority of the scientific community.

Kansas even had the audacity to go further with its religious intent when making the above change. In another article, Bruce Alberts notes that they removed the requirement to learn the big bang theory, along with plate tectonics and evidence that the world is older than 10,000 years. This came only shortly after Kansasí decision to add intelligent design to the curriculum. Thankfully, the school board had enough sense to include those things after pressure from many organizations. The fact that intelligent design technically is not science is not the only problem: The problem is itís beginning a trend of religion dictating what is taught in schools.

My question: What are intelligent design proponents afraid of? Do they think if we keep delving into science, we are going to disprove God? If Kyle Potter is right that Behe has not allowed his work to be peer-reviewed, I would be very skeptical of taking anything he has to say as fact. If Behe (and the ìother scientists” I hear about but are never named) is withholding his work, he can be scared of nothing other than being discredited. Maybe he is, as University Morris campus biology professor PZ Meyers says, ìa fraud.” Meyers said after Beheís speech (which I attended as well) at Tate Hall on the Twin Cities campus, ìThis was a completely empty talk, a hollow shell with a few buzzwords and fallacious analogies.” It is funny how much misinformation you can communicate with analogies; religion is good at that.

Will Martin is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].