Saturday, March 7, 2009

Class Two - Intelligent Design Proponents Claim Intellectual Freedom Threats

There is an organization called the Discovery Institute, which includes the Center for Science and Culture. Their focus is on intelligent design, which they describe thusly:

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Proponents of intelligent design made a movie called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which asserted that:

The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations.

“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” rejects the notion that “the case is closed,” and exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy.

You can read a New York Times article about one of the premieres of the film, in which organizers denied entry to evolutionary biologist P. Z. Myers. I suppose another way of phrasing it was that he was expelled from the theater...

Here are links to a few reviews of the film, as well as a detailed rebuttal websites:

New York Times


Christianity Today

New Scientist

Vue Weekly

Scientific American

Expelled Exposed

Movie Mom at beliefnet posts a thoughtful review of the film, as well as offering some analysis of intelligent design . She discusses the first federal case which considered whether to teach it in the schools:
A Republican Christian judge appointed by President George W. Bush ruled that Intelligent Design is not science. He ruled, "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory...ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID...Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause [of the Constitution]."

What do you think of the intelligent design theory? Is it science? Should it be taught in schools? Should teachers' rights of intellectual freedom permit them to discuss this with their classes?

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