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Teaching Intelligent Design Debate

One group believes their religion is so important that everyone should be taught it in the public schools, even those that are not currently believers. When motivated by a religious crusade, where they are right and their opponents are wrong, reason alone cannot diverge them from that path.

Science is by its nature rather chaotic, where everyone should question their theories and beliefs by testing them. As testing eliminates wrong theories, our understanding of the universe is thereby increased as other theories continue to be confirmed during such testing. The Western religions, like Christianity, are by their nature rather authoritarian where an elite group provide an interpretation of ancient scriptures to thereby provide guidance to those in that religion and the members are expected to follow.

These religious fanatics have been pushing to stop the public schools from emphasizing the theory of evolution which espouses natural forces result in the life forms we see today. Instead of teaching science, where investigation of fossils and the study of biology allows theories to be developed about life before humans evolved, the teaching of the religion based alternative is sought, that life simply arose by the intervention by a supernatural force. Instead of natural forces generating new life forms through change and mutation, the school children are supposed to be taught that life arose instantaneously, like described in the Biblical book of Genesis, implying these life forms just appeared with no genetic or natural ancestors unlike the fossil record.

The Western religions have some difficulty maintaining their popularity as their members become more literate and arise out of poverty. As people attain a more comfortable lifestyle, they are able to become more philosophical about life rather than just concentrating on their daily survival. This contemplation naturally leads to some questioning of the religious interpretations they are told to believe, so the affluent typically become less inclined to a strong tie to a particular religion.

Most expect minimum standards for all children in school to include the basics like reading, writing, arithmetic and critical social skills. Most people see no problem with schools run by a particular religion also teaching those students about that religion; those paying for their children to be there are getting what they paid for. The problem here is the push for intelligent design is in the public schools, so the fanatics are trying to bring their religion-based concept into schools that are not supposed to be tied to a specific religion.

I suspect this push for intelligent design arose for two reasons. First, roughly starting with the Reagan Presidency a number of religious leaders were able to get publicly linked with candidates thereby bringing religion into politics like never before. This change at the top of the political structure, removing the explicit separation of church and state, lead to a push for religion into the bottom of our social network, in the public schools. Second, with the fall of the American middle class in the past few decades, where more parents were unable to pay for a private, religion based education but instead had to rely on public education. In that case, they still wanted their children to be taught what would have been taught in a religion based school, which is their desired interpretation of ancient scriptures, rather than what should be taught in public schools, a well rounded curriculum without a focus on any particular religion.

There is a possible second problem here. The avoidance of the teaching evolution but teaching religion instead can result in the suppression of a child's natural curiosity and questioning their surroundings. When one is taught to believe nature is manufactured by a supernatural being and life is not subject to natural forces. This context implies we live the whim of this supernatural being in control of everything and everyone. Whether or not this is really the intent of those trying to get intelligent design in schools, one possible result is that generation of children will turn out more docile and more submissive to control by those in authority, just because they are taught only to follow those in authority and never taught to question and investigate their surroundings.

created - October 2013
last change - 10/20/2013
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