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Why It Would Be Illogical And Unscientific To Exclude Intelligent Design From The Classroom

There seems to be a common misperception of what it would mean to allow discussion of intelligent design in the science classroom. The misperception is not due to ignorance but rather to deception. "This is religion!" cry the opponents, and then, "Only natural explanations are allowed."

Let me try to rephrase the issue in a different setting to clarify. Suppose you find a curious stone, symmetrical with jagged sharp edges in the shape we all know as an arrowhead. You bring it to an expert, who tells you that it must be a result of natural processes because he does not recognize any other causes.

Is the explanation satisfactory? Does it make sense? A scientist in a given field has decided ahead of time that there are certain explanations he will not accept, so you are supposed to believe that those alternative explanations do not exist?

Obviously, we are all capable of recognizing the work of human skill and intelligence, even in something as low tech as an arrowhead. The simplest living creatures are far more intricate than the most high tech of human creations and there are no natural processes that can account for their origin.

Living creatures exist, so they must have originated. The possible origins scenarios can be divided into natural causes or supernatural causes. There is no evidence whatsoever to support a natural cause. Therefore, at the moment, the only working hypothesis is that there was a supernatural cause.

Let those who think there are good candidates for natural causes make their case in the arena of academic free discussion. What are they afraid of if they so vehemently oppose a fair fight?

"But then," the opponents continue their complaint, "there is no more science because the intelligent design proponent will not try to understand things any further, but just say that the intelligent designer did it." Hogwash!! Down through the history of science, some of the greatest contributions have been made by those who believed that they were trying to understand what the designer put into the universe.

And on the other hand, some of the worse decisions related to science have been made by those who see no design and think they know enough to improve things on their own. When organs for which there was no known cause were considered "vestigial," they might have been removed unnecessarily and there was certainly no search for their real function. And worst of all, when some races were considered to be "less highly evolved," they were sometimes treated like animals or even exterminated.

"But it seems to be talking about God," say the critics, "And that is forbidden religion." Yes, there is religion involved after all. It is actually the religion of the objectors who want no one to challenge their religion of "no gods allowed." If the evidence points to a creator, does not logic and love for truth say, "follow it wherever it goes?" Does it make sense to be forced to come to the conclusion for which there is no evidence?

Both conclusions are religious. Only one can be true. Science will either lead us one way or the other. Should the philosophical presuppositions and religious conclusions of one side dictate that certain ideas are excluded? I hope that an education is understood to be far more than just indoctrination in the dominant point of view. If so, how can there ever be any progress?

Ross S. Olson MD