I think the terms need to be redefined. I don't say that the evidence proves that there was an intelligent design
behind life on earth, although I believe it to be true. And I don't want the schools to teach I.D. as science. I just want to teach kids the objections to evolution as it is generally presented, and to ask intelligent questions. When people get angry about being challenged on stuff like this, I begin to wonder why. For instance, global warming, mass extinctions and the origins of life.
There's a story on Panspermia in the new Scientific American, filled with "could have" and "might have" clauses about the idea that life or the necessary ingredients for it came from space, maybe from Mars. Why do we need this? I thought everybody knew that life crawled out of the primeval goo that was all over the early earth.
I would be happy if schools would just say, We don't really know this, but here's the evidence and here's a theory that may explain it, but here are the gaps in the evidence
It seems to me that all science can really do is push the ultimate questions back one level. Why is everything the way it is? As every parent knows, there is no final answer to that question except "That's just the way it is," which is an unsatisfactory answer and always will be.
Update: Not even Instapundit
thinks that the hostility is justified. I wouldn't have supported the Kansas rule, because intelligent design is not an alternative to natural selection.
All that serious Intelligent Design advocates say is that the claims of evolution exceed the proof. The random combination of elements to create living organisms out of background chemicals, even given billions of years, certainly don't appear probable, and it's not an answer to say that the fact that its here shows that living cells evolved from primordial soup. The evidence certainly supports the natural selection model, but all that says is how remarkable and elegant the original cell must have been. It's as though we found a 3-billion-year old molecular computer program or flipped a coin trillions of times and had them all come up heads. That's the real problem I and many others have with the idea that life just happened by chance. It almost certainly didn't occur on the earth alone
I might support teaching kids something like these quotes
, just to warn them that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of by science.
I know from my own experience that God lives. I know that faith can work miracles. But my proof is dismissed as "anecdotal" evidence by science. Karl Popper wrote: ""...There will be well-testable theories, hardly testable theories, and non-testable theories. Those which are non-testable are of no interest to empirical scientists. They may be described as metaphysical." But there are ways of testing faith in God. The problem is that it requires something that scientists can't measure and describe in the language of science. It deals with feelings, and metaphysics, and such questions as "How do I know that my experience of tasting salt is the same as yours?" We can measure the nerve impulses and the brain activity, but that won't tell us how to explain what sight is to a man blind from birth, or music to a deaf person. Faith is in the feelings of one's heart. How do I know what love is? It's like the Turing test or the issues about what mind and consciousness are.
I think most people understand all this, but why does science have to be so hostile toward the experiences it can't measure and reproduce?