ID and Science Classes


Continuing the discussion from Why Does ID Criticize TE?:


Not true also. We do not think ID should be taught in the classroom. Here is the policy:

As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to require teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

Instead of recommending teaching about intelligent design in public K-12 schools, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in curricula. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

Why Does ID Criticize TE?

So, I do know that ID leaders were opposed to the Dover Trial in 2005, and the actions of the school board that caused it. I believe that is true. So let’s let that go.

However, did the Discovery Institute not orchestrate the Kansas Board Hearings in 2005 at the same time? What was the purpose of those hearings, if not to change curriculums? Didn’t those hearings include a parade of ID arguments?

Isn’t this just code words for ID arguments? If not, what specific unresolved issues and critical scrutiny is currently being forbidden from being taught about evolution? What things, other than ID arguments, are both (1) not taught about evolution in classrooms, and (2) are not ID arguments?

@Agauger, please do clarify what I am missing here. I thought this was just common knowledge. It is, for example, included in the Wedge Document, and a key goal stated by Philip Johnson. Perhaps DI has moved on from this goal, but I’d love to see the statement that makes that change clear.


Teach the controversy about gravity too.



To what post does this relate? Notice that I highlighted just a single word (and clicked on floating “quote” link that appears automatically) and the system tells you immediately what posting I am quoting.

It’s a huge help … even when you only intend for one person reading it.

As for this particular thread, there is only one reference to “gravity” - - and it is yours.

But there are two posts that use the word “teach”… yours and a post from @Agauger. I think the odds are low that she would recognize the relevance of your post to hers… assuming you are actually referring to her post - - a mysterious question, because there’s no real way of telling when you circumvent the intended design of the discourse system.


The DI wants instructors to ‘teach the controversy’. Well, there are many potential controversies in science. There are plenty related to gravity. Which ones are emphasized and receive the most attention tend to track with the religio-political orientations of the protester and less with the actual level of controversy in science. There are many controversial points in evolutionary theories, however the ones in the general scientific world frequently differ from those suggested by DI and the ENV bloggers.

The goal of many (clearly not all) is not necessary to teach the controversy in order improve the science per se, but to manufacture a sense of uncertainty and doubt so that preferred explanation could be more easily inserted. Now certainly, a person directly involved wouldn’t necessarily feel this is the case, but it really presents as more of a social & political strategy, rather than a largely scientific endeavor.

As for ID in schools?
Here’s an exchange with Dembski and Wells, concerning Mike Gene’s comments about the suitability of presenting ID in schools. Given that school-level books were also published by DI people like Phil Johnson (see also, Of Pandas and People with Kenyon, Dembski & Wells) it was no wonder that school boards like that in Dover, Pennsylvania thought it was prime time to teach ID. It seems to me that they were getting very mixed messages.


I’m curious about this. Why would it matter if they are involved in ID arguments or not? If an actual improvement in evolutionary biology education includes things that ID’ers use, why shouldn’t ID’ers be the ones that point this out? This seems trivially obvious.

I haven’t looked at high school biology in many years, so I can’t speak to how it is presently taught. However, when I was taught, they emphasized the material nature of the origin of life (which has no scientific support, so the only possible reason it could be there would be because of someone’s personal bias), and that random mutation and natural selection caused all of diversity (which, again, has very little empirical support). If the changes that the DI wants to include are consonant with both ID and modern biology, but not identical to it, what exactly is the problem? That members of the DI are not allowed to speak unless someone else gives them permission?


@johnnyb welcome to Peaceful Science.

Well because according to @Agauger:

So if the change that must be made is to put ID arguments into science classrooms, it certainly seems to be as if the ID movement is about putting ID arguments into science classrooms.

Maybe @johnnyb and @Agauger (and the rest of the ID people here) need to get on the same page at some point. Right now, the statement @Agauger seems to be specifically calling for ID to be put in science classes, and that seems to be exactly how it is being read by ID advocates too. I’m not sure what the problem is with me just pointing this out. Isn’t it common knowledge?


There is actually a great deal of controversy about gravity. Especially with LIGO observations coming in regularly.

One of the great contradictions in modern physics is the conflict between quantum physics and relativity, which seems to require both dark energy and dark matter to patch over. The quantum prediction for dark energy (the cosmological constant), for example, is off by a factor of over 10^50.

No one knows what dark energy and dark matter are, or if they even exist.

With LIGO observations coming in, which are all about gravity, we might start to tease some of this apart. One cannot predict the path of science with certainty, but in the coming years (or decades) we may have another physics revolution upon us.


Clearly there is no consensus among advocates about teaching ID in classrooms. Use of the term ‘we’ really needs to be better indicated to avoid confusion. Personally, I don’t care about whether there is consensus over this issue.

Where I’d like to see more consensus and firm line-drawing is over essential areas like the age of the Earth, relationships between organisms, specific models of design and their implications. Be specific about the particular hypotheses under consideration. I’d also like to seem more open debate about incompatibilities between competing hypotheses of design. For a new and healthy research area where the borders are not well defined, I would expect to see much more vigorous debate and research to determine the parameters of the area. You can’t build a strong theory on mushy thinking.


You are confusing “putting ID in the classroom” with “teaching those things that most scientists agree with which are consonant with ID”. These are not equivalent propositions. I don’t even see how you could think that they are.

Why? Even if we weren’t on the same page (I think that we are), why would everyone need to be on the same page? Is there any other area of life where everyone has to agree with each other? I’m confused by the need to lump everyone together and deal with groups rather than with issues. When dealing with the issues, it doesn’t matter what groups someone belongs to.


Let me ask you again then?

Help us out here. What is being forbidden from being taught about evolution that most scientists agree with?


Go back and read the conversations context. It should not be so controversial to state an uniquicoval and documented fact about the ID movement. It has often been about changing science curriculums. Whether that is a good idea or not is separate question, but why not just be upfront about these aims?

Of course not everyone in ID has that goal, but quite a large number do have that goal. It is possible this is not @Agauger’s personal goal, but certain is the goal of many people she works with at DI.

Why not just be upfront about that?


I don’t think this is a possibility, ID proponents are only unified on a single issue - the perceived failure of the theory of evolution. ID proponents are not even unified by agreement on who the Intelligent Designer is, let alone any of the details of his work.


Let’s just go with what you agree with - that natural selection is not generally the cause of changes in the biological world. You could actually tell people that Darwinism is largely rejected. In fact, one of the reasons the ID movement has to continually argue against Darwinian evolution is because the public is educated to think that it is unequivocally true. If you agree that it isn’t true, and ID agrees that it isn’t true, and that is the standard view, why not say so in the textbooks so the public has a valid view of what the science actually is pointing to?

You could also go with the fact that large-scale evolutionary processes are not the same as small-scale evolutionary processes (i.e., macro-evolution is not just micro-evolution writ large). You could talk about the extended evolutionary synthesis - that organisms are constructing the means of their own evolution in many ways.

It’s possible that these are in some curriculums - I haven’t looked in a while. But this is why ID proponents generally view current curricula as problematic. Not because it isn’t teaching ID, but because it is skewing all of the science in a materialistic direction.

Additionally, there really shouldn’t be anything about the origin of life at all in the science books, because we really don’t know anything about it scientifically (at least if we are disqualifying ID as science as well). If ID doesn’t belong in the science books, why allow a totally evidence-free materialistic view of the origin of life in the textbooks? If the answer is, “because that’s what people are exploring”, then by that same reasoning ID should be allowed in the textbooks. It is difficult to frame a non-ideological criteria for including origin-of-life material in education that would include one viewpoint of the origin of life and not the other. I would say that there is sufficiently more evidence for ID in the origin of life than for materialistic theories.



I think you can well understand that the wording of your policy does not really change the general perception. While one could construct a scenario where what you OPPOSE is different from what you PROPOSE, essentially, what you PROPOSE is identical to what you OPPOSE in one key aspect: it requires teaching I.D., which is a demonstrably religious concept):

Discovery Institute opposes:
**any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design. . . **


Discovery Institute proposes that:
“… evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.”

One: Evolution is not taught as a sacred dogma since “sacred” means God is involved. While God may be involved in BioLogos programs, and similar efforts by others, God is not included in public school instruction.

Two: The data points of Evolution are constantly questioned and challenged. Evolution, like Gravity, are not subject to challenges based on religious grounds.

I’m a little surprised that you think your “Proposed” position is meaningfully different from what @swamidass said in his posting above:



It is a principle of American social harmony, law, and tradition that public schools stop teaching a topic right up to, but not beyond, the topic of God’s will or God’s work.

The very day that this changes, will be the day that we will see that some Satanic Temple will win a Supreme Court case requiring a school district to pay for instruction on Satan.

Freedom of Religion REQUIRES that God and Religion are not on the menu of public support! Do you follow that logic?



If you read @Agauger’s distinction between what I.D. proposes vs. what I.D. opposes, it is clearly a statement deftly applying semantic evasion - - with the intention of disguising what is meant.

Discovery Institute opposes:
**any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design. . . **


Discovery Institute proposes that:
“… evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.”

@Agauger, pardon my skepticism, but no judge would be impressed with this distinction.


as a long time member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, I emphatically agree.


So…clearly this whole discussion is difficult. Now that we have established that @Wayne_Rossiter is still part of the ID movement, perhaps he can shed some light.

What Exactly Am I?