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The Intelligence Behind "Intelligent Design":
Whose standard shall we teach?


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November 11, 2005


The theory of "Intelligent Design" has brought the state of Kansas as well as Dover Pennsylvania to the forefront of news. In Kansas, a school board allows for the teaching of intelligent design as part of public school science classes, and in Dover, Pennsylvania, school board members supporting the teaching of intelligent design theories are voted off the board in the off-year elections.

Intelligent design is a theory that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. Intelligent design is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

Reading this you may first think that God is supposed to be the designer, but that still remains an illusive point according to the above definition.

What can we look for in history that sees similar conflicts in science and faith? The most famous early controversy was the trial of Galileo in 1633 for publishing Dialogue, a book that supported the Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the sun, rather than as purported by the Church, the other way around. As we know now, Copernicus was 100% correct.

A November 10, 2005 edict (fatwa?) from "Reverend" Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design. "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city."

I have to ask what brand of religion is Pat Robertson professing. The god of Pat Robertson is not the same God that I as a Christian hold my belief. My God loves all his children, and would not reject their prayers. I pray that Pat Robertson becomes a true Christian.

Now let me state here, that your worthy author is himself conservative, and a Christian - leastwise I consider myself one. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and that his death and resurrection is my salvation after this life.

Reading again, you will see that I used the word "believe". I believe because I was taught to believe by my parents who were taught the same, and so forth. There was no scientific method to my belief, it just is. If I was born a Muslim or a Jew, I would, like Christians believe that there is only one God, but the messenger who I follow would be different. This leads us to then examine, as stated in the title, what is the source of "intelligence" in intelligent design theory?

I will also state, that as a Christian I believe that my God created the Sun, Earth, universe, time...everything. However that still doesn't explain intelligent design as a scientific theory so much as a philosophical one. I think that there are still unexplained areas of science to which we look for answers. Two-hundred years ago, cancer was always deadly. It was, in essence, "Gods will" to call you back. If we as humans don't evolve, then how come we create cures for cancer, eliminate diseases from the earth, and visit other moons and planets? We evolve because our intelligence evolves.  It is ironic that the scientific medical community works so hard against the notion of "survival of the fittest".

In his book Angels & Demons, one of Dan Brown's characters had a philosophy that "science and religion are not at odds, science is simply too young to understand"... But...which religion?

Let me pose some questions as to who or what is the Intelligence behind "Intelligent Design"

1. Does the "intelligent design" theory have to be Christian based?

2. If we accommodate other religions, can we use reincarnation as part of the "evolutionary" process? In other words, if reincarnation, which I do not believe has any conflict with Christian doctrine, is accounted for, how does that tie in with the intelligent design theory?

3. Should teachers be allowed to teach alternate theories of intelligent design? We know that humans cannot create things like crop circles - so if the theory that humans were brought to this planet by a race of hyper-intelligent extraterrestrials - is that a tenant of intelligent design that needs to be explored?

4. Should we stop all scientific study if they conflict with the theories of intelligent design? In other words, if years from now, we are able to scientifically explain the gaps we consider only possible from an intelligent designer, which theory should we then follow?

Though the questions above seem tongue-in-cheek, they are important. If intelligent design is not a study of religion, then all theories as well as the philosophies of all religious tenants need to be examined, including those that conflict with Christian, Jewish, and Islamic teachings.

Religion, or the belief of higher beings and power not of this world are also part of almost every culture and race on this planet. I do not discount this belief - rather I embrace it. I would look to cultural anthropology to help determine the ways that cultural religion, the power of prayer, and how worship affects the growth of a society.

To summarize, it needs to be decided what the teaching of intelligent design is to encompass. If it is merely an infusion of Christian-only doctrine into public school science, then it should be discounted. If taken as an exploration of all theories of an intelligent infusion into creation, then lets have a go.

Ben Franklin may have had a bit of advice to the folks of Dover Pennsylvania after the "Reverend" Pat Robertson's rebuke. As he told his daughter, "Go constantly to church, whoever preaches ... for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth."

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