Home > Uncategorized > Evolution vs. Intelligent Design in the school system

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design in the school system

Hey everyone! So today’s class on social influences on science reminded me of my Biological Anthropology class, and the debate we had in last week’s lab. We were supposed to read two articles, one supporting intelligent design, and one a direct response to that article, in favor of evolution. After discussing the pros and cons of both articles, we started to talk about whether or not school systems should teach one, both, or neither of these theories. Most of my class decided that evolution should be the main “creation” story taught in science class, seeing as it is the only theory with “tangible evidence”.   And when some students spoke out in favor of intelligent design being taught, the problem arose of, “Well, it’s not technically a science, so where in the curriculum can you put it?”. And, “If you choose to teach one of the intelligent design stories, you have to them all.” My school taught both evolution and the Bible’s creation story, and my teachers said the two could coincide quite easily. But, it was easy to see that some kids were relatively offended by others’ lack of respect for their various beliefs. While technically not a science, a lot of the creation stories are widely accepted beliefs on how life itself came about.

In a nation so diverse in religions and beliefs, is there a place in the school system for intelligent design? Or should they stick to the more tangible idea of evolution? And furthermore, should all public schools have a uniform curriculum on evolution vs. intelligent design? Or could the curriculum be more catered to the specific neighborhoods/areas….ex: Could a public high school with majority Christians focus more on the Bible’s creation story?


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ben Harrison
    January 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I think that if you start to cater to the specific needs of different schools, you will find the more religious people flocking to the more religious schools. In the end, you will end up with the extremes. The idea is an interesting one, but I feel that in practice it simply will not work. Plus, if we were to cater to areas with majority Christians, we would have to cater to areas with a majority in other religions. The result would be too many different curriculums. People would start to choose schools based on what they teach, not how well they teach it. It would promote segregation between the different religions.

    It is my belief that religion has no place in a science oriented classroom. If one wants to learn about religion, they can go to their place of worship, or take a religion class. Combining our religion with science can only end poorly. Even within the Christian religion, there are so many different interpretations. If the creator of the curriculum believes one thing and a parent believes something else, you have already developed conflict. In science class, teachers and professors need only teach science. There are plenty of other places to learn about religion.

  2. johnwmanning
    January 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I would have to agree with Ben that religion and schools should not mix. There are too many variables in the equation to cater to every religious denomination there is. Conflicts could arise as the students graduate their religious based science and enter the science of higher education. College professors in most science fields would have to use more time putting everyone on the same page than they would teaching the course.

    That being said, the arguments of Evolution vs. Creationism is fascinating. I believe that science and religion have the ability compliment each other. While, personally, I am not a religious person, science does not answer some of the questions that religion does. The Big Bang theory makes some sense, but I feel it contradicts itself as well. The theory says that the universe was infinite until an explosion set matter and energy into motion. How does something explode if it is infinite? The whole point of being infinite is to be without time. Explosions have a chain of events … which happen over a period of time. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval philosopher, states that God is the reason for the universe to be set in motion. That God is the first mover. So who are we to believe? I really enjoyed the post. It is one of those subjects that will forever be debated, in and out of school.

  3. xavierholmes
    February 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

    If intelligent design is to be taught in public schools it should be taught as a belief and that’s it. The instruction of intelligent design has as much a place in biology as does the theory of spontaneous generation and should be taught in pretty much the same manner. Even putting aside the fact that it is hardly scientific, it is based upon Christian principles and last time I checked Christians weren’t the only demographic in this country. Personally if I was a parent and my kids were learning theology in biology class I’d freak out.

  4. lexicory
    February 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I actually agree with Ben on the “catering to other religions” statement. I was homeschooled, so my curriculum was catered to my families Christian beliefs too. However, I know enough to know that there is no place for religion in a scientific classroom. It is absurd to mix something factual with something belief and faith oriented. And as Ben stated, once you start catering to one religion, you must cater to them all. This can be put into the perspective of “separation of church and state.” State and public funded institutions should be using taxpayer money to promote or engage in opinionated and not science-based activities. Public money like that is used for scientific founded beliefs only.
    One of the principles of science is excluding the use of “supernatural” based explanations. Once you use these explanations, you are no longer even in the science realm. Creationism isn’t science- it’s a belief, it’s an opinion, not a fact or even a scientific concept. Therefore, it is absurd to mix the two in a classroom. Personal beliefs such as this belong somewhere else.

  5. February 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I agree with Ben and Lexi. Not only could catering to different religions cause a segregation problem in schools, but in terms of the varying cirirculums, how would this end when students went to college? If someone has been taught the intelligent design theory during their secondary school’s science classes, imagine how they would react if a professor brought up the concept of evolution. It would create an ongoing cycle of problems, which are easily avoidable if science and religion remain seperate in public schools.

    In my biology class in high school, my teacher began our unit on evolution by stating “I know some of you are going to outright reject this because of your religious beliefs. But this is the scientific explanation, and because I’m a science teacher that’s what I’m going to teach you.” I liked that he took the time to acknowledge the contradicting religious argument, but also made clear it was not his place to explain it. I feel like this is how the intersection of religion and science should occur in school.

  6. February 1, 2012 at 3:20 am

    While I agree with all of you that religion has no place in a lab, I believe that the OP raises an interesting point. While not entirely devoting the focus to intelligent design theory, I believe that it could be an interesting mental exercise to choose one’s personal belief system and try to corroborate it with the currently accepted evolutionary theory. At the very worst people will simply get annoyed, but it would also leave the opportunity for people to explore their system of belief and reinforce what they knew all along, or cause them to reexamine the way they think. Scientific development is based mostly on people’s desire to expand the general population’s realm of thought. This means that questioning one’s deepest beliefs using science could be a good tool to force individuals to consider actual alternatives to scientific techniques or theories, while at the same time giving them an additional personal motivation to prove their theory.

  7. HK
    February 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I believe, when teaching children anything, it is important to present the information with as little bias as possible. Too often, children simply believe what their parents and teachers believe, rather than forming their own opinions. This social stagnation of society impedes the beneficial change a society of objective, independent thinkers could bring about. Global problems will not be solved by blind faith. For this reason, children should be taught science and religion, but not both in a science classroom. All religions should be studied equally for anthropological significance rather than scientific legitimacy. Creationism cannot be taught as an equally plausible theory as evolution of the origin of life because it does not have scientific evidence to back it up. Students need to form their own beliefs on the issue and not simply adopt the beliefs of those who write their curriculum.

  8. anthonypribadi
    February 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Hi. I do quite agree with Ben’s comment. And to take the extreme side, I think it is better to teach ‘geek’ Christians about evolution and teach ‘freak’ scientists about God’s intelligent creation. It should be done this way. People need to know what the arguments on the other side are, not just simply blindly believing what they already adopt.

    And personally I agree with Maddy’s teacher that science and religion should somehow agree to each other. However, the Christian bible has a lot of controversies in itself and the writings are sometimes not clear. Furthermore, many original texts were missing and other texts might be added on to make the book. And if I am not wrong, the original scripts of the bible is now nowhere to be found! On the other hand, science is also limited in itself. Science is not reliable, if you give it a closer look. Theories keep changing. We used to believe in Newton’s Law alone before Quantum Mechanics came and gave a better perspective. We used to believe that the earth was flat before someone said otherwise. Human brain occupy space in the air, and thus, is limited, to some extent. It would be marvellous if human can comprehend and explain creation’s history millions years ago accurately and precisely. It looks like a mission impossible for me. It just sounds better to me that religion and science can in fact complement each other and be in harmony one day. 🙂

  9. February 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I think this is a really interesting and provocative post.

    The problem that I have with teaching evolution vs. creationism in science classrooms that is there shouldn’t really be a “versus” there at all – they aren’t competing theories. Creationism isn’t an alternative explanation to evolution. If you ask me, evolution and creationism aren’t really on the same playing field at all, and cannot be regarded as equal theories.

    Evolution is defined (by dictionary.com) as, “change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.” Creationism, defined by the same source, is, “the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.” Simply based on the definitions, we can see that the two don’t have much to do with each other at all. Do I think it’s important for students to be aware of the fact that many people don’t believe in evolution? Yes. Do I think students should be educated of religious theories in their regards to how the Earth was created? Of course. I do not, however, believe that an appropriate setting to learn about intelligent design is in the classroom, because it is not based on the same legitimate scientific fact that evolution is.

  10. Emilia Malpeso
    February 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I believe that lectures behind evolution, intelligent design, creation, etc., should be discussed in every classroom, no matter the background of the school. If people ignore the theories and pretend they do not exist, I do not view that as a fair or practical education. Science and religion have always been tense subjects, especially when discussing the formation of the earth and universe, but that does not mean people should just ignore other theories because they cannot accept or handle the beliefs of others. If their education exposes them to only one theory, how is that fair? People need to have options, and if one feels so strongly against a certain topic, particularly creation/evolution, they can object or just quietly accept that there are other beliefs. Being educated is being aware of subjects that are both accepted and controversial, and the creation of the universe is definitely within the controversial category. If students aren’t enlightened about certain subjects because a school deems it too debated, how will students know they are only being educated about one part of a story? Students need to learn about the most heated topics so they can gain their own opinions on a subject and ultimately develop their own unique personality and conviction regarding a variety of subjects.

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