The force of attraction between bodies containing mass is undoubtedly the intelligent handiwork of a supreme celestial being.
Four centuries ago, before the mathematical endeavors of Isaac Newton, this statement describing the phenomenon known as gravity was a widely accepted ‘truth.’
Today, this supernaturalization of gravity would be ridiculed to the point of disdain and tossed to the wayside where all preposterous, scientifically unsound notions belong.
Why then, in this modern society that was built on the foundation of evidence, is the scientifically accurate theory of evolution being challenged by an unsupported pretense such as intelligent design?
Intelligent design declares that Darwin’s theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the emergence of highly complex life forms on Earth. Instead, it states that the origin of life is the product of an unidentified intelligent force.
The Dover Area School District is the nation’s first to require that students be exposed to this concept. Their policy directs biology teachers to read a statement to students claiming that Darwin’s theory of evolution is “not a fact” and contains unaccountable “gaps.” Students are then referred to an intelligent design textbook for more information.
The school district is currently facing a lawsuit filed by eight families in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union. The families claim that the district’s attempt to promote the Bible’s view of creation is a direct violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.
What is unfathomable is that this outrageous notion of intelligent design has been defended to the point of being addressed in court. If it fails to meet the criteria to fill a space in public school curriculums, then it should not be taught. Richard Weisenberg, a Temple professor of biology who teaches an evolution course, dismisses intelligent design as utter absurdity.
“Intelligent design is viewed as total nonsense by all proper scientists,” Weisenberg said. “The issue is science. Science is the mechanism for understanding the natural world.”
Furthermore, intelligent design has not and never can be subject to the scientific method because it is impossible to do so. It cannot be observed within a space-time continuum.
“Give me a prediction that I can test in the field or in the laboratory,” Weisenberg said. “If you can’t give me such a prediction, get the hell out of my lab.”
Advocates of intelligent design argue that there are inexplicable “holes” within the evidential infrastructure for Darwin’s theory that all life on Earth evolved from common ancestry over billions of years. While some missing links do exist, they are constantly being addressed and resolved in labs, research facilities and by other proper scientific means.
Proponents of intelligent design also assert that it transcends creationism since it does not endorse any religious views and because the indication of a purposeful designer counts as a competing scientific theory, they say.
But this is simply a guise behind which creationists are hiding.
“They wanted fundamental Christian creationism in the schools and they got crushed time and time again,” Weisenberg said. “Then they came up with this intelligent design thing. It’s just a trick on a part of the creationists to get creationism into the science classroom.”
Mainstreaming intelligent design into our public schools is like informing students that there is a possibility that Earth is not round but indeed flat due to inconsistencies in satellite photos. Implanting an unproven ideology into impressionable minds too immature to challenge it is not only reckless but also dangerous.
Our educational system has a sacred obligation to behave responsibly for the benefit of future generations and the betterment of society. If intelligent design is allowed to penetrate public school curriculums, it will pave the way for other ridiculous beliefs. What’s next, gravity being dubbed “calculated descent?”
Venuri Siriwardane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.