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SCI/TECH: Darwinism vs Intelligent Design - US Scientists Battle, Education Row Developing

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posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:01 AM
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The debate has become unpleasant over the past few months within the scientific community and is now spreading into the educational community as a Dover Area School District becomes the first district in the US to require teachers to teach "intelligent design" in the classroom. Scientists have been denied access to scientific facilities based purely on their standing on the issue, and families have become involved in lawsuits against the Dover School Districts decision.
 



news.yahoo.com
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US science community is embroiled in a caustic fight over the theory that a higher intelligence and not Darwinist evolution is largely responsible for life on Earth.

Pro-evolutionists brand the new idea an unscientific melange of politics and religion. But supporters argue that evolutionary theory cannot answer some large questions on how certain life forms developed.

In one incident, biologist Richard Sternberg filed a legal complaint against Washington's Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for branding him a religious fundamentalist and denying him access to facilities, due to his editorial role in the 2003 publication of a scientific paper by intelligent design advocate Stephen Meyer.

However, creationists in several states have cited intelligent design in trying to introduce their teachings into public schoolrooms. In November, school officials in Dover, Pennsylvania ordered teachers to include intelligent design in ninth-grade biology courses.
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New legal wrinkle develops in ‘intelligent design’ dispute
HARRISBURG — Three families who agree with a school district’s decision to require students to learn about ‘‘intelligent design’’ in biology class asked a judge Monday to allow them to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the district.

The district has been sued by eight other families who object to a policy requiring a statement on intelligent design to be read to ninth-grade students at the beginning of evolution lessons in biology class. The policy is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


With the majority of scientists standing firmly in the Darwin camp, public opinion seems to be more equally divided on the issue. "A Gallup poll of American adults in November 2004 found that only 35 percent said that in their opinion the theory of evolution is well-supported (another 35 percent said it was not well-supported and 29 percent said they didn't know)."
Source

Despite the caustic nature of what was once heated debate, and is now turning into disputes, scientists all agree on one thing: It is impossible to categorically prove either theory. "Amid growing animosity, both sides agree that proving intelligent design in traditional scientific terms is next to impossible. "Can science show you whether God exists? No," said Wells."

In light of this, and considering that science is ultimately about exploring the unknown, it would seem to make sense to teach all theories on the matter and let our youth, the next generation of scientists, explore and decide for themselves. Most of us can admit that we don't know everything, yet the black and white, oil and water analogy of science and religion continues to obstinately hold true. The CIA, with it's investigations into the paranormal, would appear to have more of an exploratory mindset than our scientists. Ironic to say the least.

I am not advocating for either theory to be taught as the truth. After all, that is why they are called theories. I am merely proposing that both, and indeed other possibilities should be presented to our youth so that they can further explore the boundaries of science and "meta-science" without the limit of bias.

Einstein once said, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." And I dare say Copernicus and Galileo would be turning in their graves if they knew that science had become the very one-eyed monster that it fought against for so long.

Related News Links:
www.rednova.com
news.newkerala.com
www.sungazette.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Evolution: the conspiracy of creationism's favorite son, Hovind.
Evolution Is Dead.
What they won't say about Evolution.

[edit on 2005/3/7 by wecomeinpeace]




posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:18 AM
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Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
Despite the caustic nature of what was once heated debate, and is now turning into disputes, scientists all agree on one thing: It is impossible to categorically prove either theory.


This isn't an accurate statement. Biologists tend to pretty much feel that the process of evolution has been proven to be valid, over-and-over again. The problem is that the general public has no appetite to read scientific papers, or the sources of publication, and prefer the bite-sized distortions perpetuated by the "creation" camp. You need look no further than Kent Hovind for a perfect example of a "Christian" making a career out of lying to church congregations.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:32 AM
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I don't believe the premise that PROVING EVOLUTION disproves INTELLIGENT DESIGN!!! Why does everyone treat this as a given? Evolution seems to be a sort of "design". An "intelligent designer" could have created the exact things that scientists use to disprove the existance of such. Why couldn't evolution be the perfect design? Adaptation to environment. Any thoughts?

-PUT THE FIRE OUT!!!



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:41 AM
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tho darwinism doesnt explain everything 100% it is a scientific theory that was put forth by a scientist useing scientific processes which are open to change as new data comes in.

however intelligent design is not a scientific theory didnt use a scientic processes and didnt come from a scientist, so it should not be in a science classroom.

how would church people feel if we made them teach darwinism at their sunday school?



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:42 AM
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I agree, TheWrAiTH. I see no problem with the two NOT being mutually exclusive. The problem arises when people stubbornly stand by doctrine no matter what, specifically the 6000-year Earth theory, . Ask them where Cain's wife came from and watch them squirm.

Skeptic, correct me if I'm wrong (I mean it sincerely, I'm no expert on the matter) but I thought that natural selection has been pretty much proven to be valid, whereas evolution, particularly in regards to humans, has not. They still haven't found the missing link.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:54 AM
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...scientists all agree on one thing: It is impossible to categorically prove either theory. "Amid growing animosity, both sides agree that proving intelligent design in traditional scientific terms is next to impossible. "Can science show you whether God exists? No," said Wells."


It's only impossible NOW! That doesn't mean that scientitsts won't be able to prove God exists at some point in the future. Unless, of course, there is no God. Then it will be impossible to prove he doesn't exist simply because you can't prove a negative (something that doesn't exist doesn't leave evidence behind for science to study).

The problem with teaching the next gen about God in schools (besides the obvious constitutional ramifications) is that once something that can't be understood (such as how life begins) now and that its simply an act of God stifles any motivation to attemp to learn what may be the true story, (ie: "if God did it I will never truly understand it").

The expression "intelligent design" is just a fancy way of saying God. Let's keep the thoery of God where it belongs: in church and at home. Let schools teach eolutionary theory.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
They still haven't found the missing link.


The "missing link" is a myth. There's enough genetic record to connect the dots.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 07:58 AM
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So then freedm for sm, if you think God should be kept out of schools, Do you disagree with teaching compartive relgion as a way of fostering religous tolerance as well?



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 08:02 AM
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Not Alpha & Omega.


Originally posted by TheWrAiTH
I don't believe the premise that PROVING EVOLUTION disproves INTELLIGENT DESIGN!!!


It doesn't. They aren't even part of the same debate.

All theories are not equal.

All scientific theories are equal. And all metaphysical theories are equal.

But they aren't in competition. They aren't directly comparable. And one doesn't persecute the other (except in the mind of a martyr).

Metaphysicians are trying to force their way into science classes, when they should be proposing seperate philosophy classes. Philosophy classes where, I might add, all metaphysical theories are taught on equal footing for the benefit of learning perspective and critical thinking skills. That means teaching everything from Plato to Zen Bhuddism to Christianity to Existentialism.

Politically motivated Christians pushing "intelligent design" in Science classes are trying to cheat. They don't want to compete with other philosophical theories in the proper setting. They want elevation by the state to "science." Well, science debates science in science class. Not metaphysics. That's an absurd abuse of a secular system and children's minds. But if some progressive communitites want to adopt college prep level philosophy classes for metaphysics, more power to them.

People really need to use a little critical thinking of their own here, and drop the emotion in this debate. In fact, drop the debate.

Science can't prove or disprove metaphysics and vice versa. This is a false dichotomy, being pushed for ulterior motive.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 08:20 AM
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Originally posted by RANT

Metaphysicians are trying to force their way into science classes, when they should be proposing seperate philosophy classes. Philosophy classes where, I might add, all metaphysical theories are taught on equal footing for the benefit of learning perspective and critical thinking skills. That means teaching everything from Plato to Zen Bhuddism to Christianity to Existentialism.




I TOTALLY support this idea. We need this.



Also IMO - The so-called "debate" about human evolution distracts from the real evolutionary crises we are facing, here and now:

1. Microbes are evolving rapidly to create new strains against which we have NO immunity - some inside of 9 minutes - most of the mutations are spurred by chemical and other contaminations in our world;

2. People are suffering more and more mutations caused by environmental contaminations - some are visible, like two heads or fused digits, others are invisible and cause diseases that might take years to manifest;

3. Animals are mutating too, also caused by contaminations of our planet.


We are in BIG trouble but no one talks about the problem: mutation and evolution. Instead, they focus on 'theory' and creationism.

The crises are denied by denying the evolutionary process.

Looks like a communications strategy to me.



.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by mwm1331
So then freedm for sm, if you think God should be kept out of schools, Do you disagree with teaching compartive relgion as a way of fostering religous tolerance as well?


Fair question mwm. Tolerance is a moral instruction whether it be tolerance of other's religion, beliefs, race/color, differences and disabilities etc. The tenets of tolerance and other moral teachings can be taught without getting into the specifics of religion. Besides, the topic of "comparative religion" is too complex a topic to be taught in primary education, including high school, especially when the "basics" are so lacking.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by RANT
Metaphysicians are trying to force their way into science classes, when they should be proposing seperate philosophy classes. Philosophy classes where, I might add, all metaphysical theories are taught on equal footing for the benefit of learning perspective and critical thinking skills. That means teaching everything from Plato to Zen Bhuddism to Christianity to Existentialism.


An excellent proposal. I went to a private Protestant high school (we're talking a while back now). Lots of rah-rah school spirit, religion class, sermons and other BS like that. However, to give them credit, we were still taught evolution in biology. One thing they didn't have was philiosophy class. Had to wait 'til uni to get that. Do they teach philosophy in high-schools these days?


Originally posted by soficrow
We are in BIG trouble but no one talks about the problem: mutation and evolution. Instead, they focus on 'theory' and creationism.

The crises are denied by denying the evolutionary process.

Good point, but I don't think that it's being denied. Evolution, and the reality of mutation caused by outside influence is widely accepted as science fact. The problem lies in no one willing or able to take action for change, since so much of the mutation-causing contaminants are tied up with "big money". The financial bottom line is the only motivation for change in this area. At first glance, it my seem that public reaction has some power to institute change, but when it comes down to it, it is only when public reaction threatens financial gain that it then, indirectly, holds any power.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 10:11 AM
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wecomeinpeace
In light of this, and considering that science is ultimately about exploring the unknown, it would seem to make sense to teach all theorie

I respectfully and strongly disagree. There is not enough 'there' to warrant teaching so-called intelligent design, which really is nothing more than a scientifically dressed up form of paleyianism, a 'natural theology' that predates darwin and was almost immediately rejected after darwin's ideas were published.

Intelligent Design, IDiocy, is not a scientific theory. It can not be taught in science classes. I wouldn't be too opposed to it being taught in a philosophy class, but anything more than a passing mentioned would be giving far too much credit to a primitive and poorly worked out line of thought.

After all, that is why they are called theories

Thats the problem tho. Evolution is a theory. Gravity is a theory. That diseases are caused by germs is a theory. IDiocy is not a theory.

And I dare say Copernicus and Galileo would be turning in their graves if they knew that science had become the very one-eyed monster that it fought against for so long.
Preposterous. Galileo was well wrecked by bookish biblical literalists and fundamentalists who put religion over science, much like IDers do now. They'd be rolling in their graves at your comments.

but I thought that natural selection has been pretty much proven to be valid, whereas evolution, particularly in regards to humans, has not.

No, this is generalyl incorrect. Evolution is a 'factual' phenomenon, its observed to happen, as its merely a change in species over time. Natural Selection is part of darwin's theory. Its the mechanism that causes evolution and leads to adaptation. As such, it is theoretical, and can never, under any circumstances, be proven. THere is widespread scientific consensus that man evolved thru natural selection from more 'primitive apes'.

They still haven't found the missing link.

I've never understood why people say this. There are lots of intermediate forms between man and ape, and they generally appear in the fossil record in a manner showing something of a progression from ape to man. The 'missing link' has been found. Many 'missing links' infact have been found.

Do they teach philosophy in high-schools these days?

its a rarity. Many high schools can barely educate their students in the basics. Heck, even science itself is under parochial attack, so how can schools branch out into other areas of knowledge? They've got to do enough just to keep afloat.

 


Freedom_for_sum
That doesn't mean that scientitsts won't be able to prove God exists at some point in the future.

Immpossible is immposible. One simply can not demonstrate, scientifically, that an omniscient and omnipotent entity exists. Better technology is never going to 'trap god'.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 10:24 AM
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responding to the story, not the posts.

why not just have both evolution and "intelligent design" or even include creation (by way of more than one religious offering) and call them all theories, since, of course, they are, and settle on the fact that we do not know. we do not know. that just scares people to death doens't it?



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by fledgling666
and call them all theories, since, of course, they are,

Creationism, whether its called intelligent design or not, is not a scientific theory. Creationism should no more be taught in science classes than the hopi indian creation myth, or 'advanced vedic technology'. Put science in science classes, not religious propaganda.

that just scares people to death doens't it?

the people pushing creationism are the ones scared, they're scared of being descended from brute apes.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 10:58 AM
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Freedom_for_sum
That doesn't mean that scientitsts won't be able to prove God exists at some point in the future.


"Immpossible is immposible. One simply can not demonstrate, scientifically, that an omniscient and omnipotent entity exists. Better technology is never going to 'trap god'."


I respectfully disagree. If we could tell peope from 1000 years ago that in the 20th century we would be flying through the air, traveling through space, be able to communicate with someone on the other side of the world (no the Earth is NOT flat! ) their response would likely be "impossible is impossible" "that would be only the work of God" etc, etc. If an omniscient/omnipotent presence does exist then really it's a matter of time (perhaps not my or my kids or their kids lifestimes) before science will be able to reveal that fact.

[edit on 7-3-2005 by Freedom_for_sum]



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 11:04 AM
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I think that ID has a place in the teaching of evolution. In fact to properly address the teaching of the theory of evolution it is necessary to evaluate its weaknesses as well as its strengths. Let me quantify what I see as ID’s place in the teaching about evolution.

Evolution as a theory of the origin of species has strong evidence showing the process of minute change within a species. It also has very good suggestive evidence to show that there is a similarity between existing species. Further there is some genetic similarities between related species that could be used to support the natural selection random mutation argument. These strong points however are tempered by evolutions weakness in that the probability studies that have been done suggest it is mathematically impossible for the structures of even simple organisms to happen by random chance. Further, the precision and complexity of genetic code that must be added to make a bacteria into a fish is mathematically impossible to reproduce using random mutations. The more we discover about the complexity of the cell the more we realize the minute and complex systems that are part of its operation. These complexity of these systems suggests design rather than natural process.

To the extent that the above statements represent the weakness of the theory of the evolution of species it should be taught as a part of any honest evaluation of it. There is no threat to teaching the weakness or unexplained portion of a theory. In fact it engenders a far better understanding of the theory and spurs research to fill the gap. It is possible that the complexity conundrum will be solved and a mechanism by which cellular and genetic machinery could be initiated and augmented by natural process will be discovered and defined.

In order to understand what you know you must understand the extent of what you do not know. Remember it is the prospect of discovering the unknown that spurs exploration hence it is better to leave a question unanswered rather than insist on an answer that is unproven.

In summery, ID is best taught as an adjunct to evolution. To teach it as its own subject could easily become an endorsement of a religion, (though it would not have to be) but to teach its evidences as a rebuttal to the theory of Evolution is scientific honesty and would help to spur the development of updated models of both evolution and its competing hypothesis.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by Freedom_for_sum
If we could tell peope from 1000 years ago that in the 20th century we would be flying through the air, traveling through space, be able to communicate with someone on the other side of the world (no the Earth is NOT flat! ) their response would likely be "impossible is impossible"

But their statement of immposibility would merely be based on personal incredulity, not on a rational study of the facts. The setup of science itself prevents, for ever, any answers to metaphysical questions such as this. The supernatural is a matter of faith, not rational thinking.



johannmon
In fact to properly address the teaching of the theory of evolution it is necessary to evaluate its weaknesses as well as its strengths

ID tho, doesn't do this.

These strong points however are tempered by evolutions weakness in that the probability studies that have been done suggest it is mathematically impossible for the structures of even simple organisms to happen by random chance

Those 'studies', however, are what is flawed. 'Evolutuion' does not say that these things came about thru random chance, and this is important. Evolution via natural selection talks about small changes accumulating over time. Its 'undirected' in that it doesn't require god or a human to say, 'here is a problem, let me design a function', but evolution is not random. These studies that calculate the probability of all the atoms needed for, say, a haemoglobin molecule to 'spontaneously' jump in a single step from a truly random asortment into the haemoglobin molecule, are fataly flawed, because they are entirely unrealistic. Any study, realistically, that merely shows something is 'immprobable, based on what we know', is, at the very least, a very weak structure to support the massive weight of the entire 'intelligent design' theo-science structure.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow

1. Microbes are evolving rapidly to create new strains against which we have NO immunity - some inside of 9 minutes - most of the mutations are spurred by chemical and other contaminations in our world;


Not correct. The fastest replicating bacteria known is Vibrio natriegens, which does, in fact, divide under 10 minutes under ideal conditions (which it never actually encounters outside of the lab). It is, so far as I am aware not a human pathogen. And most bacteria divide much more slowly than this, especially under natural oligotrophic conditions. And a single cell division is not time to fix mutation. That mutation will appear first in only 1 of say a million of the population. The next division there will be 2 of the million with the mutation. Fixation of the mutation depends on population size, the fitness advantage of the mutation and, of course, demographic stochasticity (the new mutant can get killed as soon as it arises for instance). Bacterial mutation is fast, but not that fast. Moreover, most mutations are not caused by environmental mutagens. First you have the intrinsic mutation rate, that is mutations due to copying errors. Then you will get mutations either at contigency loci or due to the emergence of mutator phenotypes during stressful conditions (say heat shock or novel environments). Then you get some fractions of "mutations" from horizontal gene transfer. This is the origin of most antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity. Viruses and plasmids, as well as bacterial sex all serve to move large chunks of DNA, entire suites of genes (pathogenicity islands, metabolic cassetes, etc.) into new genomes. This is evolution, but not really mutation per se. Again though, the rates of switching of contigency loci (such as pilli loci in E. coli which literally flip over so that transcription reads in an alternate direction, either causing a stop and no pilli, or read through with pili production), the rate of mutator phenotypes, and the rates of horizontal gene transfer are all low--you're still at best talking about 1 in 100,000 usually. Then, yes, you get some potential mutagenesis from the environment. UV, desiccation, some xenobiotics, antibiotics and the like will all induce DNA repair pathways, which sometimes are error-prone and will induce mutation. But as a significant percent of microbial evolution it is comparatively trivial at the moment. Generally bacteria are pretty well adapted where they're at and try to stay there--hence they will repair damage rather than mutate if given the option. And they'll also take foreign DNA (other battle-tested genes) rather than try to jump off their comfy fitness peak via mutation is given the opportunity. That is to say that their genomes are adapted to generally minimize the mutagenic effects of the environment.



2. People are suffering more and more mutations caused by environmental contaminations - some are visible, like two heads or fused digits, others are invisible and cause diseases that might take years to manifest;


Not really. I haven't seen any data to indicate human developmental abnormalities are on the rise. Secondly, a lot of these "mutations" are rather developmental abnormalities. That is, the DNA is fine, it is simply that certain environmental compounds can act as pseudo-hormones and affect developmental regulatory pathways. There's no mutations at the genetic level--its more like a virus in the software is causing the problem. As far as disease that act during senescence, this is not necessarily because of mutations per se, but rather because of genes that were never subject to selection because their fitness cost is not exposed until well after reproductive age (or at the tail end of reproduction).



3. Animals are mutating too, also caused by contaminations of our planet.


See the above. Animals aren't mutating. A lot of the problems with frogs for instance (in which there is, in fact, an increase in developmental abnormalities) is due to chemicals interferring with development, not necessarily causing mutations in the germ line.



We are in BIG trouble but no one talks about the problem: mutation and evolution. Instead, they focus on 'theory' and creationism.


Evolutionary biologists pretty much talk about mutation and evolution everyday. What they don't talk about is some pending mutation crises wherein humans and all other organisms are being mutated by environmental mutagens at an increasing rate. I haven't seen a peep about it in the scientific literature.



The crises are denied by denying the evolutionary process.

Looks like a communications strategy to me.


While I agree with your sentiment, getting a better grasp on how evolution works would enable better communication.



posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow

The crises are denied by denying the evolutionary process.

Looks like a communications strategy to me.


.


THAT is the point, my fine feathered friend

it is a communications strategy... to make the public less intellegent...
to once again use religion like the kings of europe... to saddle the masses.

the pope has now even denied the "6000-4000yr myth" (he said adam appeared around 270,000yrs ago)

all this false belief does is prove the hard liner christians are all fools believing in a fairy tale, instead of intellegent people who accept that a few wording errors or translations of time might make the bible a bit less than perfectly accurate...



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