PUBLISHED: 5:32 PM on Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Floyd Dryden Voices: Intelligent design and evolution deserve fair teaching
Close your eyes and imagine our country without faith and religion, without churches or bibles. The way our teachers have been teaching, this image may be our country in the near future. I'm not saying that we all need to be of faith, but that religion is very much a part of our culture today. If evolution continues to be taught as a fact in schools, other ideas may slowly fade away and leave us with a country of atheists. Before I go any farther, I will give you some information on the history of the main theories of how we came to be.

Charles Darwin was the first scientist to introduce the theory of evolution to the world. After many years of research, he concluded that all living things were produced spontaneously and are related with unlimited biological variation. In other words, humans, monkeys, lizards, etc. were all once microorganisms. On the other side, Intelligent Design says that all animal groups appeared at the same time in their current state with small variations within certain guidelines. Intelligent design says that animals are too complex to have evolved by chance. In my eyes, these ideas are just what they are called, theories. Yet, if evolution is a theory, let me ask you, why it is being taught as fact? Now we come to my point that evolution should once and for all be taught fairly in public schools along with intelligent design.

According to the dictionary, science is, "a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws." Evolution should not be taught as a "fact" or "truth" when it is not totally explained and there is no way to test it. Experts also seem to agree with this proposal. Three hundred scientists have signed a statement saying that they are skeptical about Darwin's theory, and 75 percent of Texans believe that textbooks should show the strengths and weaknesses of Evolution. President Bush also addressed this issue in the No Child Left Behind Act that said, "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy [such as biological evolution], the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist." Darwin himself said, "For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in the volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I arrived." In other words, Darwin seems to also say that his findings are only a theory. If evolution is a theory, it should be weighed as a theory.

Speaking of theories, this brings me to my next point. Intelligent design is a theory, so why isn't it being taught in schools? Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word theory as follows, "A formulation of apparent relationships or underlying principles of certain observed phenomena which has been verified to some degree." Yes, evolution falls under this category, but so does Intelligent Design. Both theories should be considered equally, but as you can see, that is not the case. Evolution is being protected faithfully by its believers, but intelligent design hasn't been given a fighting chance because school kids aren't informed fairly about either subject. Bill Buckingham was on the school board in a small town called Dover, Pennsylvania and it was his job to pick out a science book for the students. He found the book that the school board had selected "laced with Darwinism, excluding every other theory" and started to search for a new book. Eventually, he found a book that considered both the theory of Darwinism and Intelligent Design, but the school board refused to adopt the idea. Instead, the other book was selected. Does that seem fair? I think not. You may argue that

Teaching Intelligent Design is unconstitutional because of the first amendment that says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," but results from a survey of 578 lawyers showed that 72 percent of them believed that the first amendment does not prohibit schools from teaching Intelligent Design. Also, three surveys by Blank/Anderson, Hodgson, and Fuerst show that about 78 percent of science teachers say that non-Darwinism/creationism should be taught in schools. Intelligent Design clearly isn't being given a chance, and corruption continues.

And through the corruption, an unauthorized power to shape minds emerges. People are beginning to accept Darwinism and evolution as a fact and it is being taught as a fact in many schools. Again, I refer to the first amendment; scientist Robert Kofhal makes the good point that according to the first amendment, no one has a right to tell a person that his/her religious beliefs are wrong. This makes perfect sense, yet people are being told that evolution is true every day. Studies also show that younger generations are beginning to lose religion. After looking at various surveys done on creationism vs. evolution, Jerry Bergman said, "My surveys found that the majority of students were exposed only to evolutionary naturalism in their biology classes, and when creationism was mentioned it was often ridiculed. Evolution dominates partly because it is the only position discussed in most textbooks. The findings of this study support the contention that young people are less religious than the older generation partly because younger people spend more time in school, and education adversely influences both religious values and creation beliefs."

Darwin himself said this reflecting on his studies: "I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them." He also said, "Evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory, is it then a science or faith?" It seems to me that Darwin was aware that his theory was being taken as fact or religion even. If it is wrong to teach Intelligent Design as a fact, wouldn't it be equally wrong to teach evolution as fact? I predict that if evolution and intelligent design are not taught properly, there could be disastrous results.

In conclusion, the theories of Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism should be taught side by side as theories in biology classes. I will say it one more time, they are only theories, not facts, and should not be taught as facts. Other ideas such as Intelligent Design are also theories and have every right to be treated with equality, and Evolution being taught as a fact is changing our culture for the worse. Please think about my points and take a stand. It takes many people to change the world, so lets change it for the better and let people have a choice what to believe without protection on either side.