Evolution Of A 'Theory'

Last month, President Bush said that it would be a good idea if something called "intelligent design" were taught along with the theory of evolution. That way, children would be exposed to "different schools of thought." I'm all for kids being exposed to "different schools of thought." In fact, I wonder why President Bush limited it to only two explanations of how the earth and humans got here. There are dozens of different beliefs and explanations for how the world as we know it was created. Of course, some of them — such as intelligent design — don't fall into the category of "science."

Some people believe in a strict interpretation of Genesis. Some even believe that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth at the same time. Other cultures believed that a giant turtle created the land of Earth. One belief is that a woman who fell from the sky was behind the creation of the Earth. Others believe that a jumbled mass of elements at the beginning of time was in the shape of an egg. Similarly, the ancient Greeks believed a golden egg hatched and gave birth to the sky and the Earth. So, why not teach all of these approaches — along with intelligent design — in the same class? And call that class, "comparative religions" or "creation myths." Just don't call that class "science."

Those pushing the intelligent design alternative to evolution are taking advantage of the word "theory" having several definitions. The reasoning goes that a theory is not a fact but just conjecture, so alternative conjectures should be taught as well. Unfortunately for those who have embraced intelligent design, there is a very specific definition for a scientific theory such as the theory of evolution, and it's not conjecture.
  • Lloyd Vries

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