The Dover trial

From: <>
Date: Mon Oct 03 2005 - 15:00:32 EDT

If, for a moment, we could take the debate out of the socially-charged
context of a court case, I really don't understand why there has to be a
controversy about teaching evolution and/or intelligent design. Doesn't
science education include at least a brief description of the scientific
method and acknowledgement that we don't have all the answers and that even
the answers we do have are never totally complete? Fundamentally, the ID
hypothesis is not an alternative to most of what we know about the age of
the earth and the common descent of life. Evidence for evolution (and the
historical development of geology and evolutionary understanding) should
comprise most of the treatment, but I think that it's okay to finish
discussions of evolution and origins by acknowledging where there are still
unanswered questions and incomplete hypothesis testing. For example, we
have not yet demonstrated or replicated the origin of life. Can't we allow
"teaching the controversy" at this point by teaching something like the

(1) Most current scientists find the evidence for evolution and the origin
of life by natural processes very convincing. These scientists continue to
research and test various scientific hypotheses formed under the assumption
that evolution has occurred. Some of these scientist find that this
acceptance of the theory of biological evolution conflicts with the
existence of a creator or God. However, most scientists that accept the
theory of evolution do not see any fundamental conflict between it and
belief in a creator-God. They simply believe that God created using the
process of evolution, just as they believe that God is still upholding the
universe and guiding human destiny using ordinary natural processes.


(2) There are some scientists who think that certain structures of life are
too complex to have originated by evolutionary natural processes. Most of
these scientists hypothesize and work from the assumption that some
designer-creator of the universe (e.g., God) had to have assembled these
complex structures as complete units. These scientists seek to identify
such complex structures and show by their experiments and reasoning that
they cannot possibly have evolved by merely natural processes. The
Intelligent Design hypothesis is unique in making God the subject of a
scientific experiment. It is also a hypothesis that most scientists regard
as impossible to support by experiment. To support the ID hypothesis (to
make it a theory), one has to prove that it is impossible for something to
happen naturally; there is no other way to prove the supernatural
explanation because science has no direct way to study supernatural
It will be interesting to see what sorts of experiments and data are
generated by evolutionary biologists and ID researchers in the coming
years. The religious issues raised by a discussion of the origin of life
and other areas of scientific inquiry are certainly exciting topics worthy
of discussion. However, except for testable hypotheses that deal with
physical evidence, such discussions go beyond what natural science can

Has the YEC group completely kidnapped the ID hypothesis in the Dover
trial? Does an acknowledgement of the ID hypothesis in school textbooks
have to include an acknowledgement of the YEC falsehood? How can the court
make a judgement for ID without opening up the door to YEC content? In
short, what variety of ID is being debated in this court case? Has Behe
come out and stated that ID is not an alternative theory to old earth and
evolutionary processes?

Received on Mon Oct 3 15:03:59 2005

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