Skewed Science: Florida School Board Mulls `Intelligent Design'


The state of Florida, in an admirable attempt to lurch into the 21st century, is considering adopting new science standards that actually mention the word “evolution.”

Current standards talk about “biological changes over time.” The new standards, if adopted in January, will promote evolution as one of several key ideas in science that students need to learn.

Naturally the Religious Right is throwing a fit - and at least one local school board is right there with them. The Lakeland Ledger reported recently that if the new standards are adopted, members of the Polk County School Board are ready to fight them.

Of the seven members on the board, five expressed support for teaching “intelligent design,” the latest variant of creationism.
Member Margaret Lofton said, “If it ever comes to the board for a vote, I will vote against the teaching of evolution as part of the science curriculum. If [evolution] is taught, I would want to balance it with the fact that we may live in a universe created by a supreme being as well.”

Tim Harris added, “My tendency would be to have both sides shared with students since neither side can be proven.” Hazel Sellers chimed in: “I don’t have a conflict with intelligent design versus evolution. The two go together.”

These folks need to do some reading. I’m tempted to tell them to start with On the Origin of Species, but I’ll admit that can be an intimidating place to begin. Instead, I’ll give them an easier assignment: *40 Days and 40 Nights *by Matthew Chapman. It’s a good overview of the court case against intelligent design that was litigated in part by Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 2005. Members of the Polk County board should digest it fully before launching a crusade on behalf of teaching religion in science class.

Let’s say it again: Intelligent Design is not science. Philosophy, yes, but not science.


That’s not true. The concept of irriducible complexity is used by intelligent design and is very scientific. It is used through out the fields of engineering. If we are interested helping children to think like engineers then an intelligent design lesson is excellent.

Irriducible complexity says that if you have two or multiple functions that may work together but counter each other to operate they must exist together. By teaching irriducible complexity as shown in the real world i.e. living beings it is a good design pattern study for students.

I for one would not mind seeing the next generation produce better engineers. Intelligent design studies woule help with this.


It is used by archaeologists to separate designed artifacts from naturally formed artifacts. Irreducible Complexity is a sound way of looking at living things. To think that some part of an organism was previously used, and then just ‘happened’ to be the right size and shape to fit into a more complex cell, for example, is nonsense. Then, it would somehow also need to be added to the cell’s genetic information so that it could be reproduced along with the rest of the cell.

Solid science, but it might possibly, maybe include the “god” word and that must be avoided at all costs. And if it should gain a foothold, people might actually start thinking about “god” more. Can’t have that.

God bless,


Saying it doesn’t make it true. The philosophical argument from design is one thing; the claim that there are scientifically discernible biological structures of “irreducible complexity” is quite another. Of course the two are connected, but they are not identical or even interdependent. In other words, you can hold to either of them without the other (critics of ID mock the claim that the “designer” could be an alien life form, but again, mockery is not argument), but if you hold to both they will obviously reinforce each other.



Naturally the Religious Right is throwing a fit

Off-topic: Gotta love journalism. They’re just “throwing a fit.” :smiley: Obviously just a bunch of immature lunatics. And from a browse at the other headlines on that site and a couple other stories, it looks like a bunch of anti-Christianity.


Frankly I don’t see that ID or the opposition to it are science. Science says that there are unexplained gaps in the fossil record. ID proponents say that evolution will never be able explain all of these gaps. Their opponents say that it will. Both are statements of faith.


It’s not just about gaps in the fossil record. It’s about structures that allegedly exhibit signs of having been designed by some intelligence. I agree that it’s an iffy sort of argument to make.



“Irreducible complexity” is just way of saying that evolution cannot explain this, now or ever. Now I happen to think that they’re probably right, at least in some of the cases, but it’s still a statement of faith.


Let’s say it again: Darwinism is a theory, which contains numerous problems—legitimate, scientific problems, which are either ignored or covered up because they don’t fit The Standard Evolutionary Template™. And until those problems are cleared up to my satisfaction, I will continue to regard Darwinian evolution as a fairy tale for adults.


Well, if that school board requires that ID be taught, I hope they have put away a significant amount of money to pay to the plaintifs when the plaintifs win their case in federal court. I guess these board members have never heard of Dover, PA.




Let’s say it again, you don’t understand what you theory means in this context. Theory does not equate guess in science.




And let’s say it again: that still doesn’t clear up the problems with it.


Funny, isn’t it, that *scientists, *even Catholic scientists, don’t see problems with it. It is almost exclusively non-scientists that see problems with it. Perhaps that is because they don’t really understand it?




Science and practical considerations are inextricably linked. That’s why science is done, to solve practical problems.

However, this issue is inextricably linked to personal beliefs, and, as such, regardless of how well understood the science is, that is the problem. Just because scientists (most ?) have no or little problem with it does not make that issue go away.

To put it another way, the potential for manipulating public beliefs is too great to ignore.

God bless,


Actually, yes there are scientists that see problems with Darwinism. :slight_smile: That’s not to say it’s true or untrue…but there are scientists who are not satisfied.


There are very few biologists that have problems with evolution. They may question the mechanism, but not the reality.

But, as I said in my initial post in this thread, if that school board feels so strongly that there are problems with evolution that they must include ID, they better have a large sum of money stashed for the award that they will be paying the plaintifs in the upcoming federal lawsuit. I would be interested in who they would call as witnesses for their side. The folks involved in the Dover case would probably be very poor choices this time around since they were exposed so badly in that case.




Of course you missed the PBS show on the Dover school board and ID. Sorry you did, because Behe was completely demolished on his “irriducible complexity” argument. And you want to know who demolished him? The scientist Behe cited as the “proof” that irriducible complexity destroyed evolution! He said Behe had completely misstated or misunderstood his work and there was no such thing as irriducable complexity." You’re a little late to the discussion…



Given what we know about the proponents of ID…its fair to say they are “immature lunatics”.

**No one is based on observable facts and that these facts fit the model. The are entitled to predict based on this success. ID has not proven anything and has no predictive capability, it is simply not science by philosophy. **

Please learn the meaning of theory as it relates to science. evolution is as “proven” as gravity is. All scientific propositions have areas they cannot answer. Einsteins work is a great example of this. There are still areas not understood, still work ongoing. This is true of evolution as well. To conclude that because evolution is like every other scientific proposition in that it is not “complete” should mean I assume that you don’t fly, drive a car, or any other thing that science has produced for you.


Yeah, I would tend to agree with all of that…but I do think the school board members came out worse than guys like Behe, and I don’t think the plaintiffs quite came out smelling entirely like a rose either. But we already discussed that. :slight_smile:

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