We're at it Again
Yet again, a high level Federal court of this nation is hearing arguments in a case involving an issue that, (I'm not sure the English language has a tense appropriate for what I want to say here) was/should have been settled long ago - evolution versus creation in our schools. The question this time is should we teach creation/creationism/intelligent design as an alternative "theory" to evolution in public school science classes?
Each and every day I become a little more ashamed to admit I am a citizen of this country. How is it possible that this question is given the respectibility to be addressed by one of the high courts in this country? This makes me sick. Several years ago, the Dover Area School District board of education (Dover is a district in my own state of Pennsylvania) voted to require that high school biology teachers acknowledge that the "theory of intelligent design" is a legitimate alternative theory to evolution. They claim that this was in the interest of present a fair and balanced view of the subject and to promote "free inquiry" in education. The proponents of the cause continue to say that as a "theory" evolution is unproved science and so it is reasonable to consider alternative "theories" of how life came about. Of course that argument is seriously flawed and based on an incorrect understanding of the word "theory" in this context. The "theory of evolution" is a highly tested result of science and voluminous evidence exists to support it. It is established science right up there with Einstein's "theory of relativity" or the "big bang theory." Both of those models for understanding natural phenomena are well established and are the commonly accepted theories for the phenomena they describe.
The real problem with the "theory of intelligent design" is that it isn't scientific in nature at all. It can't be empirically tested. And the simple fact of the matter is, THAT is why we teach high school students science - to teach them scientific method. The systematic methodology scientist use to pursue their work and further human understanding of our world and universe. There is no room in a science class for consideration of "theories" which cannot be subjected to the scientific method. Exposure to such theories under the guise of legitimate science undermines the entire of science itselt. I'm not saying students shouldn't be exposed to the idea - but they should be exposed to the idea for what it is - a religious point of view. Bring it up in a humanities class - it definitely shouldn't be happening in science class.
And of course I don't need to say all of the above, because the truth is, the "intelligent design" camp doesn't really believe that they are presenting a valid scientific theory. These are people who don't believe science is even valid. These are people who condemn the scientific method as being secular and the label it "rationalism" as if, rational, scientific thought was evil and bad. It is absolutely their intention and goal to undermine the teaching of science in this country. "Intelligent design" is their way of getting the wedge into the door. Given the chance, they would love to see the Bible as the only textbook in schools. And slowly but surely, step by step, these people gain more and more power and influence in our nation. In local politics, at the state level and at the Federal level, they are winning more and more elections, school board seats, seats on town and county councils, in state legislature, even Congress and...oh my goodness, the Presidency!
Why doesn't this scare the shit out of more people?