I Got Yer Intelligence Right Here

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There is so much misunderstanding about Intelligent Design. On both sides, really, which is why so many proponents of it offend those on the other side, because they do a poor job of explaining it.

ID really only says one thing: that the root cause of how we came to exist was not by mere chance, but that it was designed by someone. It does not disagree with a single scientific notion or precept or principle, of any kind, because science can only say what happened -- i.e., this gene mutated, resulting in such-and-such, and so on -- not why it happened.

ID is philosophy, not science. You can't test it. You can't examine empirical evidence that can prove or disprove it. Oh sure, it draws heavily on science, just like the opposite position does: neither is science. And neither is new, either. They are new applications of the same argument we've been having for thousands of years: whether the universe around us is designed, or whether it happened by chance.

Now, I'd say that as such, ID is perfectly at home in the classroom (especially when your classroom is the home!); but only in the context of philosophy. But so too does "humans came into existence merely by chance" belong only in the context of philosophy, and unfortunately, it is often taught, either implicitly or explicitly, as though it were science; thus, ID has arisen as a reactionary political movement: "fine, if you teach kids we all got here by chance, we will teach them we didn't!"

It should be obvious why science is entirely inequipped to even begin to address these questions. That's why there is so much misunderstanding about this topic: the people most animated against it are scientists who really don't understand philosophy. Of course, on the other side, you have religious people who don't understand science. And neither side really understands the interaction of the two, which is where this discussion is supposed to take place.

For my part, I plan to teach my children in a fully integrated way when it comes to science, pulling from history and philosophy as science is taught. Teach them why the scientific method is used, what it is inadequate for, how our system of learning about the physical world evolved, and so on. And in such a structure, teaching ID won't even be necessary: it will be clearly implied. Which is really the point. slashdot.org

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