Tuesday, December 14, 2004

An Open Letter to ID Proponents

Dear Intelligent Design Proponent:

I see that it looks like the Intelligent Design (ID) media machine is back in gear, this time with a bass-ackwards enough school system in Pennsylvania adopting your belief system into their science curriculum. I had read about this via a link from the NSTA a week or so ago.

Here's my question to your chiefs over at the ID headquarters. What does your agenda have to do with science education? Not a simple enough question even though you can count to 12 on your fingers? Let me explain.

Evolution is taught in the science classroom for a reason. It's not the reason that you want to think. It's not taught to provide an origin for species on the planet. It's not taught for people to believe in anything. It's not taught to get the students to critically think about science or their religion. It's not taught because scientists are anti-Christian. It's not taught because we teachers want to undermine your Biblical teachings.

Evolution is taught because it works.

What do I mean by it works? Do I mean that it tells us where we all came from and where we'll be going? Absolutely not. Do I mean that it successfully crushes the theological beliefs of our students? Single, double, and triple no.

Evolution works because it provides a model. A model for predicting changes in an organism over time just like the Theory of Gravity tries to explain why objects with mass seem to "pull" on each other. Why is it important to predict changes in an organism? Well, how about the fact that the pharmaceutical industry pretty much depends on it? Whether it's preempting the next outbreak of a mutating pathogen or modifying bacteria to produce artificial insulin, evolution works. How about the fact that it can help to bolster crop production by creating better pesticides to kill pests but not plants or by even creating new crops with more nutrition? How about the fact that most of the advances in developing a cure for AIDS and cancer have been based entirely on evolutionary principles? How about the simple fact that it makes learning biology easier? We want the kids to have good grades, right? What other reasons do you want, because there are a hell of a lot more.

I am sure that the Intelligent Design theory has its merits. I am not asking for a detailed explanation, I understand the basics. But like any theory it has its flaws.

In order to consider including ID in a science curriculum, my sole question to you is this: What has your Intelligent Design theory done for the science community lately?

Chris N.