Why ID Should Not Be Taught in a Science Course

Intelligent Design (ID) advocates are clever folks. They know that a religious belief (like the creation story) can not be taught in a science course because it is not science, although for years “creation science” proponents tried in just about every state to get school districts to demand equal time with evolution by natural selection. That idea didn’t work. So in the last ten years, a group of individuals who organized themselves around the concept of Intelligent Design and then attached themselves to the Discovery Institute have been attempting to “wedge” the concept into the science curriculum, claiming that Intelligent Design is indeed science. A judge in Pennsylvania ruled that indeed ID was not science, and ordered the Dover school district to stop messing with the science curriculum, and leave the design of science courses to science educators. About time!

I’ve been reading Forrest Church’s book, The Separation of Church and State, which is a collection of writings on a fundamental freedom by America’s founders, e.g. Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. As Jefferson said, the First Amendment to the Constituiion creates a “wall of separation” has been built between the church and state. The ID proponents know this. That’s why they had to abandon creation science, and invent a new concept (ID) claiming it to be science. And they have gone to great lengths to try and convince others (they even have the President on their side on this) that ID is science, and should be a part of the science curriculum. But the courts so far have interpreted the attempts to ‘wedge” ID into science as infringement of the First Amendment (the establishment clause), and have thrown it out. The Discovery Institute propaganda arm is always out there commenting on any court case, any state legislature’s or school board’s decision against ID (recently in Utah). As Church points out in his book, the founders conceived of the separation of church and state to protect freedom of conscience and belief. Any attempt at trying to impose a specific religous belief by the state will be challenged, and supported by ideas that emerged more than 200 years ago.

About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University