Monday, November 15, 2004

Survival of the Fittest

Though I cannot claim to be an expert, or even close to an expert, on the subject, evolution is always a topic which brings much yapping from, well, me.

I guess it's because of my personal views which leave no room for support of Darwin's theory of evolution that drives me to want to know both sides. As a creationist who has struggled with just how to deal with the theory of evolution, I believe it both healthy and needed to have a good exposure to both Creationism and the Evolution Theory while studying biology. However, ridiculous Supreme Court cases have often called it 'unconstitutional' to even mention Creationism in the classroom.

A new theory, known as 'intelligence design' now appears to be opening up a little room for the exposure of theories concerning the orginis of life by means of creation by a higher power. This new theory, though attacked by its enemies as "creationism is secular tersm" is catching hold in Pennsylvannia, and could be coming to a town near us.

By Martha Raffaele
DOVER, Pa. -- When talk at the local high school turns to evolution, biology teachers must make time for Charles Darwin -- and his detractors.
This rural south-central Pennsylvania community is thought to be the first in the nation to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design," a theory that says the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power.
Critics call the change in the ninth-grade biology curriculum a veiled attempt to require public school students to learn creationism, a Bible-based view that credits the origin of the world to God. The school will continue to teach evolution, the theory that Earth is billions of years old and that life forms developed over millions of years.
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is reviewing the Dover Area School District case. Meanwhile, its Georgia counterpart is fighting a suburban Atlanta district's decision to include a warning sticker in biology textbooks that says evolution is "a theory, not a fact."
"What Dover has done goes much further than what's happened in Georgia," said Witold Walczak, legal director of the Pittsburgh ACLU. "As far as we can tell, Dover is the first school district that has actually mandated intelligent design."
About 2,800 students are enrolled in the district, which encompasses the rural community of Dover borough, and a patchwork of farmland and newer suburban developments in several surrounding townships.
The revision was spearheaded by school board member William Buckingham, who leads the board's curriculum committee.
"I think it's a downright fraud to perpetrate on the students of this district, to portray one theory over and over," Mr. Buckingham said. "What we wanted was a balanced presentation."
Mr. Buckingham wanted the board to adopt an intelligence-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins," as a supplement to the traditional biology book, but no vote was taken. A few weeks before the new science curriculum was approved, 50 copies were donated to the high school anonymously.
Although Mr. Buckingham describes himself as a born-again Christian and believes in creationism, he said, "This is not an attempt to impose my views on anyone else."
Two of the dissenting board members, Carol Brown and her husband, Jeff, were so upset that they resigned after the board voted 6-3 on Oct. 18 to mandate the teaching approach.
"We have a vocal group within the community who feel very strongly in an evangelical Christian way that there is no separation of church and state," Mrs. Brown said. "Our responsibility to is to represent the viewpoints of all members of the community."
Critics of intelligent design contend that it is creationism repackaged in more secular-sounding language. "Creationism in a cheap tuxedo," said Nicholas Matzke, project information specialist for the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, Calif., which advocates for the teaching of evolution.
Even the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which supports scientists studying intelligent design, opposes mandating it in schools because it is a relatively new concept, said John West, associate director of the institute's Center for Science and Culture.
"We're completely against anyone who says you should downgrade or limit the teaching of evolution," Mr. West said.
Dover biology teacher Jennifer Miller said the curriculum changes have left her uncertain about how to approach her evolution lesson.
"If you put the words 'intelligent design' into my curriculum, then I have to teach it," said Miss Miller, a 12-year veteran. "I'm not sure what that means as to how in-depth we have to go. ... I'm looking for more direction from the school board."

The big argument of anti-'intelligence design' theorists really seems to be that they are afraid of "imposing somebody's else's views" on the children. But in all honesty, isn't that what the teaching of any theory is? The imposition of someone's view on some thing which cannot (or at least has not been) be proven true or false?

I believe that beneath the argument of 'preaching religion' lays the true fear of the intellectuals who appose this measure is that they're afraid of the law set forth by Darwin--the designer of their theory. I honestly believe that they are scared to death that this will be a pure example of survival of the fittest--and in the end, Faith is much more compforting than the thought of being spawned by some primortial ooze...

TODAY'S MORAL: Teaching Darwinism is 'creating a lab for free thought,' but teaching 'intelligence design' is preaching phony religion. It's ok to 'think outside the box' as long as your thinking remains inside the circle that the Intellectuals have place around the box--remember that.


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