On Creationism and so-called "Intelligent Design"

I mentioned in yesterday's post that the Kansas board of education has had to redefine the word "science" in order to crowbar the so-called "Intelligent Design theory" into classrooms. I mentioned it simply in order to counterpoint the story of Pennsylvania voters booting out the school board which had recently okayed the teaching of this so-called "theory". However, I was commented.

I thought it would be wise to address the comment, by an individual named Sean, because so many of the anti-science lobby's arguments were represented there.

First, let me state this: ID is not a theory in any scientific definition of the word. If it were, the Kansas board of education wouldn't have had to redefine the terms in order to get it to fit. It's that simple. For those confused, Talk.Origins has a great piece on exactly what constitutes a "theory".

Also, it needs to be stressed that ID is only creationism with its hair combed and wearing a nice suit for its day in court. The distinction is purely a legal one.

But, to the comment:
It seems to me that, for once, students are able to hear BOTH sides of the argument so to be able to decide for themselves! This is certainly an improvement over our students continung to be fed only ONE of two major worldviews without exposure to any alternatives.
This is flawed on several levels. First is the equation of science with mythology. The two are not equals and only real, actual science should be taught in a science class.

The second is the notion that not teaching religion in school somehow precludes learning it. School is the wrong venue for religion. Preachers teach religion. Churches teach religion.
Parents teach religion. State-funded schools should not. Thus, any child will be able to hear "BOTH sides of the argument" because they get the science from school and the religion at home.

The third flaw is a popular fallacy - that either evolution is correct or creationism is correct. But that is rubbish. Even the Vatican accepts evolution as correct. The confusion comes when people believe that evolution somehow speaks to the ultimate origin of life on this planet. It does not. That area of science is called "
abiogenesis" - the study of how a planet without life became a planet with life. Abiogenesis and creationism are at odds, because the former attempts to find scientific hypotheses to explain the origin of life, whereas the latter relies upon the bible. The official position, as noted, of the Vatican is that God created life on Earth, but life does evolve.

Finally, we come to theocentricism. If that's not a word, it is now. The clearly stated belief is that there are only those two options. Science and creationism. The notion that both might be wrong is never entertained. That maybe the world was created by - say - Odin from the flesh of Ymir, or from the egg of the great bird Nyx, or out of Nu, or by Con Tiqui from the lake Collasuyu, or that life was created on the body of the great Goddess torn asunder by Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca in retribution for their transgression, or that life sprang from the thoughts of Tepeu and Gucumatz, or was formed by Gisoolg, are not to be considered, nor is the idea that the world might be some alien experiment, or maybe came into being in some way that nobody's ever thought of. Nope, they want it to be either science or their creation myth.
The issue is not whether intelligent design or evolution is correct.
Shouldn't it be? Shouldn't it be the only issue under consideration when it comes to teaching science as science in a science class?
If evolution is a theory, with both evidence for and against it, and intelligent design is a theory with both evidence for and against it, how can they not be given equal consideration in teaching?
The second part of that statement is a false assumption. See above for the definition of "theory".

And there is no scientific evidence whatsoever in favour of creationism. None.
The bias that exists today is that evolution is taught as fact, without any mention of an alternative solution. What would be sad for our education system, in my opinion, would be to continue teaching only ONE of two major theories, and to continue to present that theory as sientific fact when it remains debatable. At least 2/3 of the population of the world believes in intelligent design anyway. NOT exposing our students to that theory would put them at a serious disadvantage.
Again, note "two major theories", with the references to "more than two" and "not a theory" points made above. Also note the reiteration of the idea that if kids aren't taught religion at school, they won't be taught it at all. Are there no churches?

Evolution is taught as fact because, quite simply, it is fact.

Still, if you want to believe that weakening science in favour of mythology somehow constitutes good educational principle, you're welcome to do so. I just thought that the basic principle of religious freedom which Americans are supposed to cherish would prevent you from imposing that belief upon others.

Keep science in school and religion in church. If you don't want your kids exposed to science, send them to a christian school. If you don't want them exposed to religion, don't send them to church. See? That works out best for everyone. Each person is entitled to raise their kids as enlightened or as ignorant as they wish.

And an atheist's tax dollars shouldn't be used to teach children religion.

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