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Friday, September 29, 2023


Design’ anything but intelligent

The controversy surrounding "intelligent design" occasionally pops up in the education system. Since 1999, there has been at least one challenge to evolution each year. Although "intelligent design" advocates want "equal time" for their idea, it is nothing more than an attempt to gain political influence over schools and to insert religion where it does not belong – in a science classroom.

Although "intelligent design" is associated with literal stories in the Bible and those who believe the world is 6,000 years old, it is actually founded on the idea that life is too complex to have evolved without a guiding hand. The "science" backing up "intelligent design" is the latest in developments from molecular biology and mathematics disproving natural selection.

The Discovery Institute, led by non-scientists, is the leading think-tank backing up the idea, and promotes programs such as book tours touting the threat of militant atheism. The Discovery Institute is no harmless organization, as the "Wedge Document" illustrates perfectly. This document lays out a new, dystopian vision for society where science would be redefined to include "intelligent design;" public opinion would be swayed on issues such as sexuality and a belief in their version of God; and "scientific materialism," a code term for any science opposed to their beliefs, would be destroyed.

The Discovery Institute is not a scientific organization, but instead a political organization that wants to change society.

Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, proposed an amendment that singled out evolution as the only subject to be challenged in schools. Phillip Johnson, the "godfather of the ‘intelligent design’ movement," helped Santorum with the wording of the amendment. The bill to which the amendment was attached passed in the Senate, but the amendment was changed in the House of Representatives to stop "religious and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science" from entering the science classroom, in order for students to be able "to understand the full range of scientific views," which do not include "intelligent design." However, the changed amendment died in committee and is not present in the No Child Left Behind Act or federal law.

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District was the first direct challenge brought in the federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones concluded that the district’s policy violated the Establishment Clause and was used to promote religion in the classroom. Jones asserted that "intelligent design" was a repackaged version of creationism with no basis in scientific theory. A similar lawsuit was taken to the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard resulting in creationism being unconstitutional to teach with evolution.

It should be clear "intelligent design" is nothing more than an argument to bring religion back to schools where it has never rightfully belonged. Proponents of "intelligent design" realize unjust power has been taken away from them in the classroom and want to regain a so-called "moral compass" that exists only in their own mental utopia. It is not even a matter of equal time, as teaching astrology in a science classroom would not be allowed since it would inhibit a comprehensive science education. "Intelligent design" cannot be allowed in the science classroom because it is a political and religious idea that will result in disaster.

Corgey, a political science junior, can be reached via [email protected].

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