TED Conversations

Obey No1kinobe


This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is intelligent design science and should it be taught in public schools?

Most definitions of modern science describe a methodology of finding testable explanations of the universe or similar.

I often hear evolution is a theory not a fact. A scientific theory explains the facts and is verifiable or demonstrable. Evolution is one of the most validated theories around.

I propose ID is not science. It is not verifiable and its challenges to evolution. For example the arguments about irreducible complexity have been debunked e.g. a subset of components of the bacterial flagellum are used by some bacteria inject harmful proteins into other cells. There are so many transitional forms scientists argue whether some of them are birds, reptiles or mammals.

To allow ID into science you would need to change the definition of science and drop the testable requirement. This would enable astrology, alchemy and crystal healing alongside astronomy, chemistry and physics.

I also hear the argument why not include all sides of the debate. Scientifically there is no debate. Philosophically, this is akin to suggesting alchemy be taught alongside chemistry, or Greek mythology as history.

I propose it should not. This does not stop parents teaching their kids any religious dogma they choose within the law. But it is not science and religious beliefs have no place being taught in public schools.


Closing Statement from Obey No1kinobe

ID is a form of creationism promoted by the Discovery Institute and supported by many evangelical Christians. The Institute defines it as "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Evolutionary theory is the foundation of modern biology. Whether you want to believe it or not explains the development different species and genetic similarities between species. Essentially gene frequency changes due to natural selection, from less adapted to more adapted. At some stage the divergence of one group may get to the point where they can not interbreed successfully with other related groups or their ancestors ie they become a new species. This is a gradual process, supported by much evidence in the fossil record, DNA and gene analysis.

The key argument for ID is irreducible complexity which proposes the bacterial flagellum, immune system, blood clotting could not have evolved or developed from something similar. They need all the parts to do anything. In all cases it has been proven that these are reducable. They could have evolved.

ID is basically, life is complex, hard to explain, so it must be designed. Read the comments and Í hope you see there is a sound argument that ID has tried to bypass scientific consensus. It is a discredited hypothesis except for those who want to believe. Also, you start to get into mythology when you try and describe and explain the creator for which there is nop verifiable evidence.

While there is no scientific evidence for design, we can not scientifically say the universe isn't. That is a philosophical question. If you value the truth then science can inform faith. We can respect religion except where it is wrong. The universe is not 6,000 years old. Life evolved. We should not make special exceptions to promote falsehoods in schools. Our children deserve better. If our growing understanding makes some beliefs obsolete, so be it

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 19 2012: I entirely respect your point of view, and you make good points. This was engaging, and I truly hope similar types of rational and productive templates of argument provide better models of discussion for the Intelligent Design community (i.e. in some cases the dogmatic extremists). At the top tier of ID, I think one of their strongest proponents is Stephen Meyer and his Of clues and causes: A methodological interpretation of origin of life studies. However, the teach the controversy approach is still philosophy knocking on the front door of science and that's an illustrative example of muddling fine lines. Very much like the last dtich attempts by World War II kamikaze pilots, the Intelligent Design thrust will not stop until ....well, until they run out of planes. Planes in this case representative of recycled ideas, Watchmaker analogy, etc.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.