Is 'intelligent design' science?

Over the past two years, one of the American Christian division who believes in intelligent design has constantly reprimanded Darwin's evolutionism and even wanted to integrate intelligent design idea into biology course at middle school. This has caused a fierce debate on whether intelligent design policy is science. And the issue has been submitted to court for judgment.

Darwin's evolution theory which explains the origin of species has been well-known around the world. However, some creationists believe that Darwin's evolution is only a theory. There are things that can't be explained by the theory. Thus, these creationists put forward the idea of intelligent design. That is to say that the universe, organism and life are all created by one super-natural force or creator who has elaborately designed them.

In October 2004, the Dover, Pennsylvanian school board decided that biology teacher should openly criticize Darwin's evolutionism at the start of the class and students have to read a book entitled Pandas and People as their reference.

Many parents were not happy about this ID policy and therefore brought the issue to the local court. The suing aroused wide attention around the country because this case was not alone. Five years ago, the Kansas State Board of Education handed down new science standards which attempt to poke holes in evolutionary theory¡ªholes into which discussion of intelligent design can be inserted. Georgia upheld public schools' use of textbook stickers that repeat the old "evolution is only a theory" canard. Earlier in the year, President Bush himself recommended that intelligent design be taught in public schools. Thus the ruling in Pennsylvania will be a sign of direction.

After six months of trial, the court made a ruling as the following: Overwhelming evidences prove that intelligent design is a religion, it's only a new label for Genesis but not a science. It's an extension of fundamentalist idea. The 139-page ruling has further pointed out that the criticism to evolutionism won't prove the existence of the other. About evolution of species, even if scientists can't prove it today, it doesn't mean they can't prove it in the future. Even a Vatican astrologist believes intelligent design is not science, even if it tried to be scientific. Thus, it should not enter the scientific circle and should be classified to religion. It is as if one couldn't confuse between apple and orange.

During the trial, several American media also published editorials or comments as well as reader's letters and discussion. Many people think ID policy is absurd. The court ruling has also been recognized by the scientific and education circle. Dover's teachers finally felt relaxed. They could continue to teach what they should teach without having to preach religion.

Some parents said when America is even lagging behind some other countries, how can people let their children's mind fettered by ideas in the 15th century? Quite a few scientists also said that if they really want people to accept the idea that intelligent design is science, they should really do some hard work and provide real facts or issue articles in magazines or academic journals to prove.

However, the US is a country that has strong religious sentiment. Thus, not everyone agreed with the ruling. One poll after another has shown that quite a few people really believe that God creates the world and the people in six days described in Genesis. Thus people don't think this ruling has ended the dispute for good. Although creationists will not stop here, they will surely fail in front of science.

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online ---