The determination of the origin of humans on the Earth, as well as other beings, has been the core debate among anthropologists, biologists, and church representatives for decades. The introduction of Darwin’s theory heightened the debates as his Evolution theory became opposed to the beliefs and teachings of the church. The current assessment is going to cast light on the issue of the appropriateness to study the theories of Intelligent Design and Evolution.
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In the process of careful studying of two scientific articles devoted to the problems of the determination of the life origin on the Earth I paid attention to the fact that the issue is not only about the scientific explanation of this problem but also about the appropriateness of studying each theory in school. In particular, Pat Shipman, the author of Being Stalked by Intelligent Design, mentioned in his work that “the Intelligent Design movement is a deliberate campaign to undermine the teaching of science in America and the evidence of this intent is brazenly posted on ID Web sites”. (Shipman, p. 501) In contrast to this article, the work of Fred Heeren The Lynching of Bill Dembski highlights the arguments in favor of Intelligent Design, or explicitly saying, in support of studying different theories. “ID keeps an open mind and is entirely agnostic on the subject of religion”. (Heeren, p. 50).
In my view, two theories have a right to exist and I agree with the statement that the truth can be achieved only through debates. However, ID theory is inappropriate for studying in school. Let me explain why. I am an adherent of the Evolution theory because it has a scientific background and the evidence of the human origin on the Earth from the species support this theory.
The Evolution theory has its advantages and disadvantages. Probably in the future, it will be disproved. However, currently, it represents more reliable knowledge than ID. To my mind, ID remains only a religious belief. There are no explicit arguments in favor of this theory. That is why I think it is inappropriate to teach this theory in school. School is an educational establishment. Its primary function is to give students knowledge that is considered reliable and proven. If ID theory is studied at school, then a school will not fulfill its main functions. It should be emphasized that ID has no scientific background. Even the work of Bill Dembski, in which he explains his arguments in favor of ID, does not provide sufficient evidence to make the theory scientifically well-reasoned.
The knowledge and hypothesis are different terms. Nowadays, ID is closer to the hypothesis from a scientific point of view. If it is proven, it can be taught in school. “By blocking ID research, methodological naturalism becomes not only a method of doing science but a method for keeping a deepest human concerns a safe distance from our personal lives.” (Heeren, p. 50).
Yet ID remains just a vision of the church on the issue of human origin. It does not mean that the church is mistaken. If enough arguments in support of ID are found, it can be referred to as scientific knowledge. The restrictions on the acknowledgment of any theory as true should be maintained because such restrictions stimulate progress. Prove your point of view and it will be considered true. It is a main postulate of science.
I agree with the words “If ID is accepted as a credible science then the most basic definition of a scientific theory and the fundamental principles of the scientific method are not being taught.” (Shipman, p. 502). The discussion is the right way to make the right conclusion. That is why it would be better to motivate people to express their opinions concerning two theories but accepting one of those opinions as a credible one should be based on well-reasoned arguments.
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A bias always exists in the research. The minimization of bias in scientific work is an important task for a researcher. However, when controversial issues are analyzed, the risk of not keeping to the facts is always present. The articles of Pan Shipman and Fred Heeren are not exceptions. However, it does not mean that they are not written objectively. They represent an analysis of two opposite opinions concerning a problem of human origin on the Earth. Each side gives its arguments. The question is to define whether they are sufficient to prove a theory.
In conclusion, it should be said that the existing theories of human origin are still controversial. However, Intelligent Design remains a religious belief without clear scientific arguments. The Evolution theory has its disadvantages as well but today it is supported by a sufficient scientific basis. That is why the Evolution theory is appropriate for teaching in the educational establishment and school in particular. Intelligent Design is a view in which you may or may not believe.
- Shipman, Pat. “Being Stalked by Intelligent Design.” American Scientist 93, Issue 6 (2005): 500-502
- Heeren, Fred. “The Lynching of Bill Dembski.” American Spectator 33, Issue 9 (2000): 44-50