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Debates on Evolution vs Intelligent Design or Creationism and Whether Both Should be Taught in Schools Stir Animosity in

Updated on October 11, 2014

Its all about attitude

That 44% of Americans believe God created the human race some 10,000 yrs ago is startling in itself (See Gallop polls for the last 2 decades, and this from National Geographic) but the fanaticism with which Creationists discard any and all data is even more startling. I participate in a number of discussions in LinkedIn forums dealing with such issues as whether Intelligent Design should be taught in schools, and so many seem to fabricate concepts specifically to derail the discussion.

The Theory of Evolution, like all science, is probative... Nothing is ever proven in science. Science probes for information, collects that information, verifies it, and builds, inductively, a Theory based on that data, which is intended to be a best fit. There always can come exceptions to the rule, that in turn alter the theory. But creationist ideas are not theories in this sense. The data is untestable for the most part, is not verified, and most importantly, the theory, if you could call it that, is never altered by new data.

How could a clam evolve?

Clam on beach.
Clam on beach. | Source

Scientific Theory or Opinion Based On Faith

Now, I have nothing against those who wish to believe what ever they wish to believe... But I do have an issue when attacks are based on misunderstanding of semantics, and not on solid understanding of the scientific process. That said, the debates rage furiously onward, with no progress, and with some resisting even the notion that evolution and natural selection could ever have produced anything but slight variation among preexisting organisms. Then we see people posting comments that refute centuries of science by a quote from the Bible. We see these same people, who in one breath state that all we understand about evolution is conjecture, then telling us that the Hebrew word for day, Yom, can mean years, or centuries, but then saying that macro evolution as a concept is deceitful, being merely a semantic "excuse" at attempting to justify unjustifiable claims. So on the one hand they use the semantics to justify their own position, and then claim that evolutionists do exactly that same thing to justify macro evolution. They even deny that macro evolution is ni any way possible.

Should Intelligent Design be taught in Schools?

So the question is, should Intelligent Design be taught as an alternative to Evolution in science classes, to children in public schools?

See results

Combat Ready Troops

I should of course come clean on this: I am a fan of evolution, and not so much of religion... but I suppose you already gathered that. And I will add that there are almost as many fanatical anti-religion folks on these threads on LinkedIn and elsewhere, as there are Intelligent design fundamentalists. The sides, as can be seen from the data posted above, are about half and half one way or the other, with a few undecided. So many swear that science proves its claims, and so many on the other side claim the Bible as the source of all knowledge on this matter. The fact is, neither science nor religion prove anything... Science however does test its hypotheses against empirical information, and does allow for changes in the Theories when the data requires it.

So people on both sides are ready for combat. They bring themselves to the table armed with arguments in extreme. And neither is likely willing to compromise. This cultural divide has spread to politics, to educational policy, to the courts, and even within science itself. But is there a way out?

Apes and Humans?

How close really are wee humans to the apes, genetically?
How close really are wee humans to the apes, genetically? | Source

Teaching in schools?

Should Intelligent Design be taught in schools? Should it be taught in science class as an alternate theory to Evolution? These questions are what the fight is all about. While it seems to me all should accept that sure, Intelligent Design should be taught in schools, but perhaps not in Science class, but instead in a comparative religion class, consensus is nowhere to be seen. It would seem the Creationist camp would like Intelligent Design to be taught in science class simply because that is where evolution is taught. But does it qualify as science? Extremists on the Evolution side argue that it should not be taught in school at all. Moderates argue it can be taught, but only in religion classes.

Where do you stand on this topic? If we get enough poll results, or comments, I will write up a summary of them, and re-present the results. Do you think they will match the results of the Gallop polls over the years?

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    • Paul Silverzweig profile image
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      Paul Silverzweig 3 years ago from Portsmouth RI USA

      Nancy, there is a great deal of evidence showing how we did in fact evolve from a common ancestor shared with apes, who of course have also evolved away from that common ancestor... and as for thinking, it would seem to me, an adaptation selected for due to our slow response, weak physical capacities, as compared with other critters, and a need to compete, given these attributes... we started standing upright to see over the grasses, and doing so created a need for an increased thinking capacity... I also would not go so far as to accept that our opinion of how other animals think or don't think is valid, given they have different needs than we do... and given those different needs, adapted and were selected for changes that are beneficial to them... thus comparing them to us is a fallacy... they simply do not live in the same circumstances that we do... so they should not have evolved to develop the same responses to the environment that we did...

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      In my opinion, anyone can believe whatever they choose. Teaching religion in schools should not be done, unless it is a religious school; i.e., catholic, lutheran, etc. I don't believe religion or creationism has a valid place, in regular public school and college classrooms. There are many books on the subject and many churches willing to teach the concept, leave it to them. But neither do I believe that the human race sprang from and evolved from apes. I believe we were a separate species from the start, just as other animals were. My question is, how did we learn to think, reason and question? Other animals live by instinct, we seem to live by thinking. It's life's great mystery...so maybe we came from another star? Who knows? How can a theory be taught when it is simply that, a theory? If there is no scientific proof, religion says we should take the existence of a higher power on faith. Yet a number of things we were raised believing in and having faith in, were proven to be false as we grew up. I'm speaking of course, of the myths of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. I believe it was Euripedes who said: "Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing."

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      I think addressing the debate is a great idea in schools. Just not in Science class because religion doesn't belong there. It could be brought up in comparative religion or even English classes.