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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Evolution vs. ID, Round 10 - Evolution in the Classroom

Here is another local school board decision that has already caught national attention:

Theories other than evolution to be taught in Grantsburg

Essentially, the deal is that the local school board decided that science education should not be "inclusive of just one scientific theory." I'm sure that my ID friends out there (hopefully) reading this will be satisfied that the scientific theory of Intelligent Design has been recognized by yet another academic entity.

For my money, I'm still not entirely convinced that ID is a true scientific hypothesis. Certainly, it is not a theory in the literal sense. In reality:

In popular usage, a theory is just a vague and fuzzy sort of fact and a hypothesis is often used as a fancy synonym to `guess'. But to a scientist a theory is a conceptual framework that explains existing observations and predicts new ones.


A hypothesis is a working assumption. Typically, a scientist devises a hypothesis and then sees if it ``holds water'' by testing it against available data (obtained from previous experiments and observations). If the hypothesis does hold water, the scientist declares it to be a theory.
This is not splitting hairs. The fact is that ID certainly does not rise above the level of Hypothesis. So this school district is going to dictate that a Hypothesis is taught as an alternative to Evolutionary Theory.

I'm sure that some would argue that while microevolution is definitely a Theory (as it can used to predict future outcomes), macroevolution is not. I would counter that macroevolution, while not directly testable today, provides the most consistent (if imperfect) framework that is currently available to explain Life as we know it. Further, it is conceivable that macroevolution could be directly tested in the future. All that would be required is to observe the development of a true new species (of, say, bacteria) in the lab. To my knowledge this has not been attempted, but I do think it is possible. The same cannot be said for Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design, as I have mentioned previously, is based entirely on negative arguments. Its proponents argue that Evolution is insufficient and then advance their own theory that A --> B --> And then a miracle occurs --> Life. While the same could be said for macroevolution, the difference is that Evolution has the potential to scientifically explain the existence of Life, while ID will always have to appeal to a 'higher power' that, by its very nature, is outside the realm of science.

So, as I said before, this school district is going to teach a Hypothesis as an alternative to a Theory in science class. This is unacceptable because there are any number of Hypotheses that are supported by only making negative arguments against an accepted Theory (I'm sure you could come up with a few dozen without much trouble).

In the end I think that Evolution will win out for the simple reason that, by its very nature, science eventually ascertains the Truth. The question is: How time and $$ are we going to spend in the meantime? The answer will be directly proportional to the weight that ID is given in our education system.


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