This post started out to be about the debate between evolution and intelligent design. I soon realized that it would end up a blank page. Proponents of the theory of evolution will not debate. They are right—everyone else is wrong.
Chapter 2 of my book Who’s Got Dibs on Your Kids? discusses that viewpoint plus creationism. I firmly believe that God created the universe and all in it in six days. However, in a manner of speaking, I am also a believer in the Intelligent Design (ID) concept. In its purest sense, ID does not take religious views into account. Its approach is strictly scientific, using the (up to this point) scientific method to go from hypothesis through experimentation to conclusion.
I used parentheses to call attention to the fact that the tried and true “scientific method” may have gasped its last breath. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that decide what and how your kids will be taught about science has decided that we need new “practices” to determine how we understand the world. The website Celebrate Science says, “These practices replace the antiquated idea that there is a single scientific method that involves developing a hypothesis and then testing it with an experiment.” (Emphasis added.)
Let’s look at the NGSS new practices that provide a more complete description of the scientific process.
The eight practices of science and engineering that the [NGSS} Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn and describes in detail are listed below:
1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2. Developing and using models
3. Planning and carrying out investigations
4. Analyzing and interpreting data
5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7. Engaging in argument from evidence
8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
At first glance these may seem to be innocuous changes. A closer look may raise some red flags. I can’t go into all of the eight practices here, but think about the second one: Developing and using models. Models are often used as tools of forecasting. They are used extensively with studying climate change—and those models are consistently proved wrong! Using models is only as valid as the information input and the possible agenda of the model creator. The old saying about computers stands well here: Garbage in—garbage out.
Practice eight instructs the students to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. Evaluating may be a scientific process, or it may be based entirely on a preconceived idea or attitude. What will the students be encouraged to state as their evaluations to get a satisfactory grade on their work?
Now, back to the theory of intelligent design. All states that participate in Common Core are required to teach evolution, and to teach it as fact. Except in a few states, the intelligent design concept may not be taught. So, we immediately have some problems. How do students ask probing questions if they are not allowed to discuss intelligent design (Practice 1)? How do they investigate alternative theories (Practice 3)? How do they engage in argument when there is only one side presented, and it is “fact” (Practice 7)? What is there to argue about?
Adherents to the theory of evolution say they will not permit intelligent design to be taught because it is just another name for creationism. Just as vehement in their opinion are some Christians who do not want it taught because it does not identify the “intelligent designer” as our God of the Bible. Proponents of intelligent design say it is strictly science based without bringing in a religious perspective at all. I agree with the latter.
I feel the scientific evidence for intelligent design can stand on its own. Permit our kids to have the debate! As far as not identifying God, those students certainly would not be led to a belief in the scriptures if all they heard in class was the theory/fact of evolution. At least if they learned there was another option to be considered, the Holy Spirit might lead them at some point to be more willing to listen to the Bible’s account of creation.
The Discovery Institute has produced an excellent paper titled, “The College Student’s Back to School Guide to Intelligent Design.” I recommend you download it. Read it with discernment, however, as there are some statements with which I personally do not agree; perhaps they are poorly stated. Nevertheless, as I have often said, please don’t wait until your kids are heading off to college to discuss evolution, intelligent design, and what God tells us about the origin of everything. Don’t throw them into the ocean of education rudderless, as fish without fins. Teach them how to navigate their way to the truth. When they are old enough, advance them from Genesis to Job 38–42, and let them stand in awe of our almighty God.