Even as Philosophy, Intelligent Design Under Fire

flying spaghetti monsterI know we’ve been overly critical of the whole intelligent design incursions into public school science classes, but this latest news has me going contrarian with the anti-religion crowd. You see, this time, the school administrators in Lebec, California actually got things right — they taught the course as philosophy. But it seems that’s not enough for some people, as there is a lawsuit now underway to even ban that:

An initial course description, which was distributed to students and their families last month, said “the class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid. The class will discuss intelligent design as an alternative response to evolution. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions.”

The plaintiffs argue that merely calling it a philosophy course is not enough and that “the school district has no intention of setting up an open debate on comparative religion or competing philosophies.” In a way, they’re right, but underneath, I have to wonder if they’d accept a comparative religious course as philosophy if it approached “Intelligent Design” in any scientific theory manner since the plaintiffs readily state they are against any course that “was designed to advance religious theories on the origins of life, including creationism and its offshoot ‘intelligent design.’ ”

Teaching religion and ID as a philosophical course is exactly where it belongs, and I hope the lawsuit ends where the comparitive course begins, but I have my doubts. I have a feeling that arguing semantics once it hits the philosophy course level is only confirming the religious defender’s fears that there is an effort to completely ban religious discussion in schools.

In a contextual environment and taught as philosophy, even athiests among the libertarian crowd would agree that religion has a place in the education system. After all who wouldn’t like to see the Flying Spaghetti Monster in some philosophy textbooks?

Update: I guess I should clarify that I am happy they are at least heading in the right direction by classifying it as philosophy. From the many comments, it’s pretty obvious the pro-ID folks have a ways to go on in making this course less one-sided and have more context with other religions and evolution philosophies. On the other hand, I’d hate to see another case where the outcome is to throw religion completely out of education because neither side wants to compromise on how it should be taught.

posted by vforvandyke
  • rickrajter

    Heck, in a world where ebonics can actually be taught in public high schools, sure, add the flying spaghetti monster to the philosophy classes along side intelligent design if you so want to debate it.

    My gripe is, if people are so freagin sure that intelligent design is crap then why are they so scared to debate it? Conversely, if so many others believe whole heartedly in creationism, the debate over the spaghetti monster should take all of 5 minutes before one moves on. Or maybe it won’t. But the point is, you might have an interesting set of arguments about the stengths and shortcomings of religion as a faith/philosophy/ or whatever.

    Good job with this post. I couldn’t agree more.

  • mikehorn

    VanDyke says:
    Teaching religion and ID as a philosophical course is exactly where it belongs…

    A critique of the original syllabus pretty much shows that the intent of this class was to teach Creationism and bash evolution. It includes a list of some 19 creationist videos to be shown and not a single resource on evolution to be used. Actually, they did list Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, as a potential speaker of evolution for the course… Would have been nice if he weren’t dead.

    A second syllabus was made but it still shows that this course is nothing more than a pretense for teaching creationist views in this public school district.

    Reference: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

  • mikehorn

    Rick says:
    My gripe is, if people are so freagin sure that intelligent design is crap then why are they so scared to debate it?

    BELIEVE me… debating ID is NOT the issue here. And I don’t believe the reason ID is being challenged is because opponents think it’s “crap.” It’s a matter of law.

    Precedent has been set and with each case ID (Creationism) loses the precedent becomes more established. The details of this case will come out in the trial (Right now a temporary injunction against teaching the course has been filed) but I would bet that the intentions of this class will be similar to the Dover situation.

  • Stephen VanDyke

    Ok, granted they are trying to finagle the course into a science direction, but I think we are at least going in the right direction by pushing it into the philosophy realm.

    I honestly hope to see a positive outcome where both sides can come to an amiable agreement to teach religious viewpoints from a historical and philosophical stance instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Artus Register

    It is interesting that neo-Darwinism enjoys such an exalted position in an allegedly public forum. The status quo seems to be shielded from reproach by those who have built their careers upon the sacred rock of evolution. Relegating ID to a philosophy course will only allow its surface to be scratched while the history of the theory is explored, its proponents studied and quoted and its controversial court battles revisited. The science ID claims should be given the opportunity to prove itself to students.

    That something like ID would be hijacked by the fundamentalist Trinitarians should surprise no one. But teaching it as theory without quoting extensively from the Pentateuch and swearing allegiance to the God of Israel is not the daunting task the secular humanist fundamentalists would have us believe.

    Worth a read: http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=95412

  • George O

    Rick says:
    “intelligent design is crap then why are they so scared to debate it?”
    You want to know why we’re “scared of debate”? Maybe you should try work a stint as a researcher, take a few months to design an experiment to reveal a result that nobody has ever seen, painstakinly repeat the experiment over and over to be at least 95% sure that the result didn’t occur by chance, do more experiments, make sure all of those didn’t occur by chance, publish your results to add to the knowledge of thousands of researchers that have been working for decades, all in the pursuit of truth, trying to piece together a theory that explains the mountain of evidence you all have accumulated. Then maybe you’ll understand the beauty of something like evolution, a “theory” that explains with unparalleled precision the reality around us, and then you can have someone walk up to you and say that they don’t believe in evolution because “a dog will never turn into a cat.” Then you too will cringe to debate

  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    Did you read the quote you posted? It’s clearly trying to convince people that Darwin’s theory is wrong.

  • George O

    Show me the philisophy? This is parading as a science class being taught by a special education teacher that usually does phys ed and agro-business courses. What makes her qualified as a teacher of ID, the fact she is also the wife of a fundamentalist Christian minister?
    I see no philosophy, I see no true comparative analysis. The course may have philosophy in it’s name, but that is just another smokescreen. It was sold to the school board as a way to explore cultural phenomena, including history, religion or creation myths. But based on the course discription it is an attempt to introduce a scientific theory already defeated in court, a way of casting doubt on a evolutionary theory, and a way of promoting a Christian belief on students.
    Failing that it belongs in a theology or philosophy class taught by a qualified professor who can deal with the subject in an academic manner. Below link to Syllabus http://www.mountainenterprise.com/IntelDesignSyl/Syllabus-051229.html

  • rickrajter

    George O,

    Incidentally I am a researcher.
    I do run experiments that nobody has done before, and they are a bitch to setup.
    95% of the world wouldn’t understand what the heck I’m doing, nor probably care until it’s useful in a device they can hold in their hands.

    What you actually so eloquently describe is one of the major problems in scientific debate… the sanctification of certain theories/work.

    Heck, even the maxwell equations… which have MOUNTAINS of research behind them over at least a hundred years, still fail
    http://www.cheniere.org/misc/flaws_in_classical_em_theory.htm

    And I’m sure many a electrical engineers would cringe for even saying such blasphemy… but then they are equally stymied to explain the various problems in quantum mechanics (like spooky action at a distance).

    Personally, I think there are more pressing issues at hand in the world, but nothing fires people up more than a “My God can kick your lack thereof God’s ass” debate.

  • http://www.badnarik.org Jon Airheart

    So nice to see the Flying Spaghetti Monster getting some press! Have you been touched by his noodly appendage? http://www.venganza.org

  • http://www.randomordercreations.com J V West

    When I heard they were going to teach a philosophy class that included ID I was impressed. But when I heard the class objectives I was not so impressed. Not surprised, either. It’s kind of like a clam shell game…under which class title will they hide the Bible? Shuffle and choose. If you guess right you get a ticket to heaven, guess wrong and you’re a secular atheist going to hell for believing in the United States constitution.

  • rickrajter

    J V West

    Agreed. If it’s merely a name to teach the bible in school (unless it was part of some history class on the topic of it, and not actual sermons) then no, I would say that’s a bad idea. But if it’s an actual discussion meant to at least allow the kids to think and put forth valid arguments either yes/no, then I would gladly support.

  • Hehe

    I’ve been a lot more than touched by his noodly appendage

  • http://thedefeatists.typepad.com/apoplectic/ rev. quitter

    how about teaching ID, and the bible for that matter, in a class on classical fiction?

    just askin.

  • J

    I think we all agree that this controversy could be solved by ending the welfare state.By forcing people to go to certain schools we coerce them to accept certain views–or fail.I think evolution should be taught in biology because of the great support from the scientific community, since we are being forced to maintain these schools.

  • pasgedy

    I’ve been a lot more than touched by his noodly appendage

    dirty gullydwarf…

  • http://disvoter.blogspot.com The Disenfranchised Voter

    why are they so scared to debate it?

    Oh brother…

    As if that is even one of the reasons people are opposing ID.

    Give me a break.

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com Rob D.

    How about we start putting more effort into getting our students scientifically literate first…

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_11/005208.php

    “IS OUR ADULTS LEARNED?….In a recent Gallup survey, only 35% of Americans said they believed evolution was “a scientific theory well-supported by evidence.” The other 65% either disagreed or weren’t sure. Depressing, isn’t it?

    Maybe so, but on the scale of human ignorance, is it really that bad? After all, according to an NSF survey done in 2001, 25% of Americans think the sun goes around the earth. That’s depressing.”

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com/ Rob D.

    http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t366399.html

    “Dr. Miller, 63, a political scientist who directs the Center for Biomedical Communications at the medical school, studies how much Americans know about science and what they think about it. His findings are not encouraging.

    While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are “scientifically savvy and alert,” he said in an interview. Most of the rest “don’t have a clue.” At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.”

    Dr. Miller’s data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small).Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity.Only about 10 percent know what radiation is.”

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com/ Rob D.

    (continued from previous post)…
    http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t366399.html

    “At one time, this kind of ignorance may not have meant much for the nation’s public life. Dr. Miller, who has delved into 18th-century records of New England town meetings, said that back then, it was enough “if you knew where the bridge should be built, if you knew where the fence should be built.”

    “Even if you could not read and write, and most New England residents could not read or write,” he went on, “you could still be a pretty effective citizen.”

    No more. “Acid rain, nuclear power, infectious diseases – the world is a little different,” he said.”

  • George O

    Carefull where you go with that line of rational
    “Even if you could not read and write, and most New England residents could not read or write,” he went on, “you could still be a pretty effective citizen.”

    What would you say to a minimum education standard or test before you can vote?

    I do not support this view per se but it’s a very interesting idea.

  • Doug S.

    Alright, try this on for size: with the requirements of NCLB, why waste time on this ID bunk when we should be ensuring that students are literate, functional in math and REAL science?

    Leave theology in all its forms to be taught in private religious schools, the home, and the church. If your kid isn’t well schooled in [pick your favorite religion] beliefs, the burden is on the parents and religious leaders, not public school teachers.

  • Anonymous (aka Julian)

    A question for all you expert scientists that know all about the universe, galaxies, etc. –

    Was there a beginning to existence? If not, why not? If so, how did it begin?

    What if the beginning was from a Higher Order (some call God) that designed creation based upon evolution?

    Is there any conflict with believing in the Beginning (maybe God) and still accepting evolution?

    Would not evolution be Intelligent Design? (some would say God).

    I need proof positive answers the above is in conflict with the existence of nothing that is a Guiding Force (possibly God). Can you scientific athiest experts repute the possibility there really is no Higher Power? If so, I will immediately become an athiest and give up what most of you consider a primitive belief system.

    I think I am safe believing in God. I will keep an open mind if you can disprove His existence. I cannot prove His existence but accept it.

    My education is science and engineering. What am I missing?

  • mikehorn

    Was there a beginning to existence? If not, why not? If so, how did it begin?

    Origin discussions/debates are lengthy and have been in the public arena since the beginning of recorded history… Your inquiry is philosophical, something the Lebec administrators seems to be unaware of.

    What if the beginning was from a Higher Order (some call God) that designed creation based upon evolution?

    Origins are not discussed in evolution theory, a common misrepresentation by the religious commentators. What if, what if, what if? Ultimately nobody KNOWS the answer to questions like this. This is where faith comes in…

    Is there any conflict with believing in the Beginning (maybe God) and still accepting evolution?

    No. There are many Christians who believe this.

    Would not evolution be Intelligent Design? (some would say God).

    No.

    Continued…

  • mikehorn

    Julian says:
    Can you scientific athiest experts repute the possibility there really is no Higher Power?

    Why do you associate “science” with “atheism?”

    This question represents a logical fallacy called “negative proof” which takes the following form:

    This exists because there is no proof that it does not exist.

    I can just as easily ask “Can you repute the possibility that there isn’t a giant pink bunny rabbit controlling the universe?

    I will keep an open mind if you can disprove His existence. I cannot prove His existence but accept it.

    So, I guess I won’t waste my time arguing against “His” existence based on your statement. If you accept the existence of something despite the inability to prove its existence, what evidence could I possibly provide that would suade your unfounded belief?

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com Rob D.

    “Leave theology in all its forms to be taught in private religious schools, the home, and the church. If your kid isn’t well schooled in [pick your favorite religion] beliefs, the burden is on the parents and religious leaders, not public school teachers.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    “Origins are not discussed in evolution theory, a common misrepresentation by the religious commentators. What if, what if, what if? Ultimately nobody KNOWS the answer to questions like this. This is where faith comes in…”

    Origin of species vs. origin of life (Yes, to a Deist like myself, I learned this early on…they are not one in the same necessarily)

  • Bent Frederiksen

    My name is Bent Frederiksen, a resident of Frazier Park, California and father of Christian Frederiksen, age 14 who is currently are taking the very controversial class at Frazier Mountain High School, called The Philosophy of Design.
    I am going to voice my opinion about this law suit filled by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of 13 students who actually is not even attending the class.
    First and foremost, this class is taken on a voluntary basis by the students. IT IS NOT A Class that they are forced to take by the school.
    From January 3 to February 3, 2006 the students at Frazier Mountain High School has Intercession, which means that students that made all their grades in the first 2 quarters, can take, on a voluntary basis, other classes of their choice, while students who did not have passing grades have make up classes. The students was given a list of classes that was offered during intercession, classes like various sports,needle point,and one

  • Bent Frederiksen

    Continued:
    that was offered was “Philosophy of Design.”

    The parents of the students were all given a letter outlining the class objective, what subject would be taught and what video and guest speakers would appear, all prior to January 3, 2006. All parents had to sign a letter of consent that their son/daughter could take the class, which I did and approved the class subjects.

    My son truly enjoys the class, the teaching, the forums for discussion and the subjects that are presented to the students.

    Let me again underline, that this is a class taken on a voluntary basis by the students with parents permission during intercession. I feel as a concerned parent, that such law suit filled in the District Court in Fresno by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is a very dangerous signal of our right to choose and our personal freedom and belief, that we enjoy each day in this country and we have soldiers dying for such freedom we enjoy every day.

  • Bent Frederiksen

    We have seen in other countries over the years, that people does not have the freedom we have, that certain teaching and belief is forbidden by the government. We can not claim to be a free and democratic country, when a group like Americans United for Separation of Church and State can stop a small group of 15 students, that at their own free will, are voluntary taking a class that they wanted and with their parents permission.

    None of the students are forced against their own will to take the class. By denying them to continue the class, it is an attack against their personal freedom to choose and an attack against their right to be free individual.

    As fare as I am concerned as a parent, my son will continue to take the class until it is either completed, or he choose to stop the class by his own choice. It would be a shame and an attack against my son’s personal rights, that the class is stopped my a court order.

    Bent Frederiksen

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com Rob D.

    People promoting the inclusion of ID into school curriculum miss the point, just as much as the do-gooders wanting to ban second hand smoke from PRIVATELY owned establishments miss the point. When you have a monopoly, such as government K-12 education, you create an environment of one size fits all.

    Help push for the expansion of choice when it comes to our kid’s educational system…and stop trying to impose your “negative freedom” (of my kids can’t get this or that), into the curriculum of PUBLIC schools where the mix of students is so diverse.

    Read this article by David Boaz, he explains this more eloquently than I…

    Parents vs. School Officials: Who Decides?
    http://www.cato.org/dailys/10-17-96.html

  • Anonymous (aka Julian)

    Bent Frederiksen

    The basis for libertarian philosophy is “free will”. I agree that, according to what you have written, no one is forced to take the course. It appears the student even has to have permission from a parent to participate. As far as I am concerned, you and your family should enjoy the freedom to choose or not to choose the course as those that disagree with you can choose or not choose to take the same course. Nothing is forced. The course should be taught.

    The same cannot be said for sex education courses taught in public schools. Some parents may choose not to have their children taught that certain deviant sex acts are now taught as alternative choices that is perfectly acceptable. If you, as a parent believe your child should not be taught that, then you should have the right to not allow your child to participate. If you accept that sexual deviancy is and should be mainstream, then by all means let your little darlings be taught that and even partake.

  • George O

    In Response to Anonymous (aka Julian):
    “The basis for libertarian philosophy is “free will”. I agree that, according to what you have written, no one is forced to take the course. It appears the student even has to have permission from a parent to participate.”

    So if parents want to indoctrinate the children in these untruths then they can easily do so. As a prev commentator noted ““Leave theology in all its forms to be taught in private religious schools, the home, and the church. If your kid isn’t well schooled in [pick your favorite religion] beliefs, the burden is on the parents and religious leaders, not public school teachers.”” Basically saying not my tax dollars. Plus that whole separation of church V state thing….

  • George O

    In Response to Anonymous (aka Julian) part 2:

    Then you say “If you accept that sexual deviancy is and should be mainstream, then by all means let your little darlings be taught that and even partake.”
    Totally different subject but very good in showing your prejudices and fundamentalist attitude. I do not see it as sexual deviancy being mainstream. In fact I don’t see any sexual deviancy being taught in school. I’m guessing your meaning homosexuality which by the way has appeared in all cultures during the course of human history. Since there is no point in continuing this path of discussion suffice it to say. Your showing your true FREC colors.

  • Anonymous (aka Julian)

    George O.

    Do you jump through your ass as quickly as you jump to conclusions? Did I say homosexuality? No, I went back and double checked my work. Do you believe everything taught is appropriate at any grade level? Sorry, I must be out of touch or really niave, but what the hell does FREC mean? Spell it out or is it some sort of secret code I should know for whatever reason?

    Shows you are unwilling to be challenged. It appears you have the attitude that it is “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” Is that not how most of you radical leftists believe, that everyone is wrong but you? Don’t jump to conclusions again by trying to label me as a right wing facist. I am not.

  • George O

    Response to post 34
    Don’t jump to conclusions? that is exactly what you are doing. calling me a leftist. Honestly anyone of my friends would falling on the floor laughing once I tell them someone thinks I’m on the left.
    Actually I’m one thing your not. Informed.
    You said sexual deviance is being taught in sex ed. So let’s figure out what your getting at. I’m hoping you don’t mean the missionary position…or do you? Is it polygamy? well they don’t teach that. I could go on but anyone reading your post will assume something as you leave it open for the reader too do so. your post doesn’t seem to be against sex ed in general. Your against something specific you find deviant but do not come right out and say what it is. Why is that?
    FREC stands for Fundamentalist Revival Evangelical Christian. 40 million Americans associate themselves with this belief. It is not meant as a “secret code” just quicker then typing it all out.

  • George O

    Response to Post 34 part 2
    You say I’m unwilling to be challenged. I don’t even know how you get that from any of my previous posts. I’ll happily debate you on any topic. I’m sure on certain subjects your position may have more strength than mine but I’ll find interest in the debate and in the rational informed mind behind such debate.
    I state in post #33 that “there is no point in continuing this path of discussion” meaning I would rather not discuss what you term sexual deviancy on this thread dealing with ID. That is not backing away from a challenge but understanding that this isn’t the place for such a discussion. You know, courtesy to the rest of the readers
    Lastly. You label me then tell me not to label you…? Don’t you think that is at least a little hypocritical?

  • Ayn mous

    Our friend from Lebec entirely misses the point. The issue is whether govt. schools should be used to teach religious dogma not whether or not students want to take the course. So what if they do? It’s the issue of compulsory funding of evangelistic attempts by an unqualified “special ed” teacher who is a fundamentalist. The syllabus makes it clear this is not even philosophy and the teacher is so unprepared she can’t teach the course. She admits she is mostly showing them videos from religious groups.

  • http://nogodzone.blogspot.com Nogodzone

    Our website nogodzone.blogspot.com discusses this revealing the teacher has no training in science or philosophy, says she is teaching the course because God’s want to do so, and is mainly relying on videos. When asked about the videos she couldn’t answer because she hadn’t bothered to watch them. She listed as speakers individuals who had not consented to speak and in one case the man had been dead for a couple of years. She didn’t know it because she doesn’t know anything about the topic, Maybe par for public schools but still pretty sad.

  • The Diabolical Onion

    I am all for teaching Intelligent design and evolution in a philosophy course. I’m a freshman in High School, and I’ve taken a humanities class where we debated that sort of thing; it was very interesting and thought-provoking. Just as long as it’s not taught as science…

    Praise his Noodlyness the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

  • http://asolis.net/ AlexJohnc3

    If ID is taught in a philosophy class, fine. I don’t know enough about how Philosophy should be taught to go against it. But teaching ID in Science classrooms is disturbing. I don’t think it could be more obviously wrong to even consider it…

    Nogodzone, that’s interesting information.

  • RK

    First off, ID shouldn’t be taught anywhere. Secondly, I’d be fine with discussions about ID/Creationism being in a philosophy class. However, the purpose of that course is blatantly non-philosophical. If that summary is true, they’d be teaching it like science, and as the plaintiffs said, just slapping a philosophy label on it doesn’t make it philosophy.

  • http://www.magicpictureframe.com michael class

    I wonder, would a public school teacher be allowed to say the following:

    “It is interesting to contemplate … [all the many forms of life on earth] … HAVING BEEN ORIGINALLY BREATHED BY THE CREATOR INTO A FEW FORMS OR INTO ONE; and that from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”

    Just imagine a public school teacher who says those words: that God created life and placed it on the earth in a few forms, and then that life evolved according to the physical and natural laws that God put into place in the universe.

    Would that be allowed?

    Actually, it should be REQUIRED FOR THE TEACHER TO SAY THAT.

    Why? Because the quote is from: On the Origin of the Species, Chapter XV, Recapitulation and Conclusion, By Charles Darwin.

    If you are going to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools, you should teach what Darwin actually wrote about it.

  • mikehorn

    Michael Class says:
    Why? Because the quote is from: On the Origin of the Species, Chapter XV, Recapitulation and Conclusion, By Charles Darwin.

    Actually, in the ORIGINAL edition it’s Chapter XIV, and the quote you cite read differently, which you can read here (The Origin of the Species):

    There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

    He added “by the Creator” in later editions to show there was nothing impious in his vision of nature. He claimed to be an agnostic.

    Reference: PBS.org

  • http://www.karateParty.org Juan Incognito

    I understood that the current theory under attack is Evolution, not Charles Darwin presents Evolution. The scientific theory of evolution may well have been popularised or first theorised eloquently by Charles Darwin, but that was a long time ago. His book on that topic should not be taken to still speak as the definitive reference point for Evolution, so selective quoting from that work (or the various editions), while nice, and demonstrative of the theory of citiation is basically irrelevant. I mean, would you ask the person who invented the firearm to describe in detail the modern arms industry?

    Perhaps one of our learned readers can suggest a contemporary book or article that summarises what the evolutionary scientific community accepts as being current evolutionary theory.

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Apropos of very little, I saw a witty quote in James Randi’s latest Swift Newsletter that showed how people talk past each other in this and other debates.

    Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    All praise to the FSM.

    Yours truly,
    Nick

    …giggling…

  • Freerefill

    This is exactly the thing that Flying Spaghetti Monsterism was created for: to act as a balancing agent against Creationism. Wherever the Biblical view of Creationism should be taught, there should be taught other philosophies, ie, FSMism. As well as many others.

    I for one am a proponent of free thinking and the collection and distribution of knowledge. However, if that knowledge is to be taught in schools, then it should (some say must) be delivered by an unbiased source and it should (some say must) be delivered with either supporting evidence derived from facts or balanced with alternative theories (preferably both, and lots of it). ID is a theory, claimed to balance Evolution. If you include ID, then you follow the rule of supplying alternative theories. If you do not include FSMism, you break that theory and effectively destroy the foundation that human intelligence is based on.

    At least, that’s my opinion. I could be wrong.

  • Anonymous (aka Julian)

    Why must evolution theory and intelligent design theory be mutually exclusive? Will someone clue me in? I believe in God and evolution. Both beliefs are inclusive as far as I am concerned.

    There are scientists working in pure research that believe in God. There are no rules that say one has to be agnostic or athiest to believe in scientific method or evolution as the correct path to discovery and understanding of the great plan for man.

  • Mauro Lanzini

    Of course religion has a place in public education: it would fit perfectly courses as diverse as Anthropology, History of Philosophy, Mithology, Psicology. I really look forward to a time when we shall have in universities a balanced covering of all the major religions, ie. Pastafarianism, Christianesim, Buddhism, Wicca, Satanic Cults, Scientology, New Age and myriads more. In upper and lower schools it would frankly look as a waste of time, study mathematics instead, it’s much more useful.

  • George O

    In Response to Anonymous (aka Julian):
    “Why must evolution theory and intelligent design theory be mutually exclusive?”
    Your right that in terms of Belief they are not mutually exclusive since you can believe pretty much whatever you want.
    In terms of Objective science they are; as explained in the countless posts above.
    “There are scientists working in pure research that believe in God” True, but they do not let their beliefs get in the way of objectivity.
    “There are no rules that say one has to be agnostic or athiest to believe in scientific method or evolution as the correct path to discovery and understanding of the great plan for man.” Your right, one does not need to be atheist, one only needs to accept fact instead of faith as truth.
    In science the term truth is far different than how it is used in religious circles.

  • http://www.modernfreak.com Uncle Phil

    This seems to be the main misunderstanding in the whole debate – separating scientific terminology from everyday terminology. For example: the word “theory”, as it applies to science, does not mean the same thing that it does in everyday conversation. A scientific “theory” is not just some idea that crosses one’s mind. A scientific theory must be tested and must have a lot of empirical evidence to back it up. A hypothesis, which is less than a theory, must at least be “falsifiable”, or it’s not even a valid hypothesis. People who don’t understand scientific method think that the word “theory” means “something that isn’t a fact”. Well, in scientific terms, gravity is a “theory”. Not because we haven’t collected enough evidence for it – it will always be a theory. Same thing with evolution. “Intelligent Design” does not even meet the criteria to be a hypothesis. It is not falsifiable, it can’t be proven or disproven. It’s simply not science. Most people don’t know what science really is.

  • brateman

    This is for the people who keep quoting Darwin. Darwinism is based on his original idea, and over 100 years of studies have added to that knowledge extensively. I won’t believe everything he said since some of it has changed over the years. But… the general idea is still there, and that is what we are debating.

    If you want, we can debate Darwin’s book with the first copy of the Bible. Actually we can’t since Emperor Constantine had his way with changing the story significantly in favor of promoting a strong religion. Since we can’t, we can only go off what we know from history and scientific evidence.

    Thus, the issue at hand is the theory, and not the original words. Please stop quoting Darwin and expecting us evolutionists to get upset. Darwin was not a god, and neither is yours. He was the just the first of his kind.

    I propose we have a debate on the current evolutionary theory backed by science, and not what was said initially by a smart man in the 1800s.

  • Jeff Potts

    It is not the fact that both theories exist.
    It is a science course.
    Technically those following ID should have no fear about their philosphy being tested by Darwin or even Pastafarianism. Realistically students have the option of being taught Creationism in their local church every designated Sabbath day per religion. While a student typically gets 1-2 hours to learn about the idea of Darwinism. The sheer amount of time one is immersed in creationism idealogies pales in comparison to the amount of time devoted to Darwinian teaching.
    Scholastic education is not a matter of faith, it is up to the parents and the local parishes of whichever denomination and creed to teach their particular version of creationism, not the schools.

  • Lance

    Intelligent Design does not belong in a philosophy class, either. Even if Evolution didn’t exist, “Intelligent Design” still doesn’t explain anything. It’s nothing more than religious dogma wrapped up in a package of “argument from ignorance”. The only place it belongs in a philosophy class is a class that’s covering fallacies and the history of crap philosophy, be cause that’s just what it is: crap. There’s not an ounce of evidence in support of intelligent design. Not a bit, and evolution is so heavily supported by evidence it’s amazing people talk as if it really is realistically debatable, and as if anyone who doesn’t think it is is dogmatic.

    Evolution is true. Could we be wrong? Sure, and by the same token maybe the world really is flat.

  • Anne

    What’s funny is there is a huge argument over what is essentially nothing. (I don’t agree with teaching ID in science class, FTR) My AP Biology class in HS included a lot of information, of which maybe 15 minutes of class time was spent on evolution. In the entire year. Definition, explanation, move on. We even did gene splicing and dissected a cadaver in this class. I’m not sure even a small amount of kids take to heart the textbook’s opinion on the origin of our species, they probably have their minds made up already.

  • Dan S.

    Anne – this argument is more ideology than anything else. The Catholic church and other religions due to dwindling congregations are attempting to bring people back to the church by linking science and religion. There is some science and math behind the ID principle, but mostly speculation. The biggest issue with teaching it in a science class, is that any experiment involved with it is not reproducible. Remember that anytime you mix “religion” with public schools it’s like mixing fire and gasoline – most of the time you can’t control it. As far as kids having already made up their minds, that’s too bad. How can anyone expect to learn anything if they choose to approach a subject without keeping an open mind?

  • Joan Vanini

    Just to note:

    As part of the scientific process, scientists must publish their research in a peer-reviewed journal. Peer-review means that other scientists of the same dicipline look at his/her work and check the valitity.

    Intelligent Design proponents have published no peer-reviewed articles to prove their “science”.

    RAmen!

  • Lamia

    I read the NY Times article about this case: To balance the 20-or-so videos they were going to watch on ID, they were going to have to guest speakers come in to talk about evolution–one of which died about ten years ago. The other one is one of the people taking this case to court. I think that kinda shows how well thought-out and balanced this project was.
    Also–Dan: In (rare, for me) defense of the ever-notorious Catholic Church, the papacy has issued statements that evolution and religion are not at odds. So the assertion that the Catholic Church backs ID to gain a larger following is not only an inaccurate assessment, it is plain untrue.

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster lives.

  • Chris Grainger

    My understanding is that the so called “physical and chemical evidence” is garbage. Considering I was informed of this by professors at Brown and have read concurring opinions by several PhDs, I consider the opinion to be rather believable. I have a friend who is has a PhD in Chem (Orgo specifically) and he (even being Jewish and believing in God) pointed out that the “scientific” evidence pointing towards intelligent design is non-existent and when it is put forth (like in “Darwin’s Black Box”), it is manipulated and/or fabricated.

  • Adam Pederson

    Well I dont have a religion and i really dont care what people think but why cant we agree or even consider that it might be impossible to explain our exsistance other than we are. And Why do people have to know “when the universe was created”? Anyone ever heard of the word infinity? If we consider it as applicable then why cant the universe be infinite with only us traped with the concept of time. If there is nothing around is there time? I really dont see why people need to compensate thier lack of knowledge with religion? Teaching ignorance does not make it right.

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  • Andrew Grange

    Well, I am a student in the UK, studying both several sciences, maths and philosophy. I find it absolutely abhorent that ID should be taught in any of my lessons, especially science and philosophy. As has been said, its complete specualtion and just creationism trying to hide as science.

    It doesn’t belong in Sceince for the reasons discussed above, and definitely not in philosophy. If anywhere, (and I’m not convinced of that) it should be taught in Theology or Sunday School.

    I have no problem witha alternatives to conventional schools of thought being taught, it is a good thing. I’d think it wrong if I were not taught both Quantum Mechanics, Newtonian and Einstenian view points, it would be absurd. But these are as Bobby henderson put it: “Logical conjectures based on observable evidence”

    You need not however, teach what is essentially religious dogma purely because you have it on a good wrod from your parents and Parish Priest.

    RAmen

  • Si Brandon

    I liked the post about gravity also being a theory. Electromagnetism, relativity, quantum physics – all theories, yet we build computers, particle accelerators, calculate vast distances, and we feel safe that we are not going to float away from the ground based purely on them. Try telling these zealots that belief in god is a ‘theory’. No way.

    Science: takes observable evidence, forms hypothesis, tests against it over and over, comes up with theory.

    ID: starts with unprovable conclusion, searches backwards for evidence to back it up.

    Arguing with them is like shouting into a black hole. These medieval thinkers will be as outdated as pez dispensers very soon though.

    RAmen.