By Scott Weiser
The term “Intelligent Design” is a simple, clear label for a valid scientific line of inquiry that has been hijacked by religionists, decried as heresy by secularists, and declared anathema by an activist Federal judge.
The existence of intelligent design in the universe is an indisputable scientific fact. That you are reading this essay proves the point. The existence, nature, methods and results of intelligent Designers are indisputably scientific questions, as even the High Priest of Secularism, Richard Dawkins, somewhat reluctantly admits in his book “The God Delusion.” It’s arguable that the most important scientific question mankind faces is whether there is an intelligent Designer in the universe more sophisticated than humans, and if so, could it have deliberately acted to arrange or modify either the fundamental constants of the physical universe, the origin and evolution of life on earth, or both?
Modern human science proves that it only requires an intellect just a tiny bit superior to our own to create life, so why is it so unthinkable that such an intellect may have intervened in or directed Earth’s evolutionary processes? Such an intelligent Designer need not be omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent or even interested in the fate of humanity. Nor need it exist any longer. God may indeed be dead, but this does not mean that a Designer never existed or does not exist still. The search for clues of a superior, if not supreme Intelligent Designer is clearly a matter of science, not religion.
However, the intent and directives of such an entity, absent direct testimony from the source, and arguments of humanity’s obligations of obedience to or worship of such an entity, are religious questions. The former should be taught in our public school science classes, the latter should not.
But, in a keystone case from 2005, Federal Judge John E. Jones ruled that “Intelligent Design” is “not science” and may not be taught in public schools, ever. The error Judge Jones commits is exceeding his mandate to protect the Constitution. Instead of simply ruling that by acting with documented bad faith in a transparent attempt to inject Christian religious belief into the schools, the Dover School Board acted unconstitutionally. Instead, he decided to rule on matters of science that he is neither qualified nor authorized to render judgment upon. And in a show of bad faith on their part, the ACLU was delighted that he did so.
However poorly the witnesses for Dover may have presented their supposedly science-based arguments, the scientific fact remains that complexity in organisms may be the result of intelligent design. That evolutionary processes might have accomplished this unaided, which appears likely, but is unproven, is not disproof of intelligent design. Any credible scientist must always be looking for evidence of intelligent design in any object or organism, if for no other reason that to be able to rule it out. A triangular eroded rock and a manufactured obsidian arrowhead portend very different things, as do “natural” maize and artificially genetically modified corn. But Judge Jones has foreclosed future investigations by making the mere mention of Intelligent Design to our future scientists anathema and forbidden speech. This is not just bad science, it’s bad law, and it’s every bit as unconstitutional as teaching religious belief in science class. Children must be taught the whole truth if they are to move science forward when it is their turn.
The arrogance of religionists like the Dover school board who try to foist Judeo-Christian religious dogma onto our school children is exceeded only by the hubris of secularists like Richard Dawkins and the ACLU, who believe that humans know enough to proclaim that there can be no superior intelligence capable of creating or guiding life on Earth, merely because they do not yet have the intellectual capacity or technology to be able to observe, quantify, analyze or falsify it. In an astonishing role reversal, the secularists have become to the search for objective truth what the religionists were to Copernicus, and Judge John E. Jones is their Secular Grand Inquisitor.
It’s time for religionists to abandon their unconstitutional agenda of injecting Christian religious dogma into the science classroom, it’s time for scientists to reopen their minds and reject ACLU secular dogmatism, and it’s long past time for our children to be given the intellectual and philosophical tools and information they need so that they can render their own judgments.