Wednesday, November 16

Intelligant Design
A bitch by Prof. Tommy M.D

Right now in the States there's a big shitstorm over whether 'Intelligent Design' (the theory that nature and life is too complex to have evolved gradually and that there must have been an intelligent designer/God pulling the strings) should be taught in schools. The Kansas Board of Education recently rewrote the definition of science to no longer limit it to 'the search for natural explanations of phenomena', thereby opening the door for 300 or so Kansas school boards to authorise the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside Evolution in their science classes.

Because gosh darn it, if anybody knows the real definition of science, it's the Kansas Board of Education.

But hey, America always gets up to stuff like this, right? After all, this was the country that had a Supreme Court case arguing whether a statue of the Ten Commandments should be placed outside a court! Stuff like this could never happen in a country like Australia, where we respect the seperation of church and state, right?

At Pacific Hills Christian School in Dural intelligent design is taught in science classes. The school's principal, Ted Boyce, said he was not persuaded by the Australian scientists' and teachers' stance and it was appropriate to teach it as an alternative explanation for the origin of humanity.


How come everything dumb always happens near my house?

We did not evolve from monkeys

Straight off the bat I'll add a qualifier so the 80% Christian readership of my blog doesn't put a Jesus curse on me - I have no problem with Intelligent Design or Creationism being taught in religion classes. If a parent sends their kid to a Christian school, it should be expected they learn about Adam and Eve and the rib and the talking snake and the divine birth of Ric Flair. Same as if a parent sends their kid to a Muslim school, they should learn about... whatever Muslims believe happened. And Jews should be taught their creation story, which I believe involve lots of gold. BUT, these stories are not science.

Intelligent Design advocates talk about a concept called 'Irreducible Complexity', saying that some structures are too complex to have evolved, like the flagellum of bacteria. They say that these structures have too many intertwined parts to have evolved piece by piece, and therefore an intelligent designer must have played a part. Of course, this theory has more holes in it than Paris Hilton, but it is an alternative to Evolution. It's just untestable, unobservable and unreplicable. You know, like a good scientific theory.

The 'Intelligent' Design Fossil Record

Evolution is the framework around which natural history is understood, you can't pick and choose which science you'll teach or believe. And you really can't be teaching impressionable children a completely unscientific theory in science class. And if you are, why just limit it to Intelligent Design?

Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of creation in science class?

Why not teach kids that we're all part of the Matrix and our body heat is being used to power machines that for some reason let us live and oh shit brain hurting matrix too complicated and crap?

How come nobody teaches my theory, that life is like a box of chocolates?

It's because teaching theories like Intelligent Design in science class is like teaching professional wrestling in P.E class. It just doesn't make sense.

Though that would be pretty wicked. I bet I could write 3000 words on why the WWF should never have given the World Title to the Big Show in 1999. That would be hot.


mr m said...

that flying spageti monster looks familiar...

voice of treason said...

your a heathen bastard tommy

voice of rationality said...

At the least, teachers should be made aware of the fact that modern physics and cosmology provide no compulsion to introduce the uneconomical hypothesis of a biblical creator. They must resist those who would attempt to force their personal beliefs into the classroom through the back door of "intelligent design."

Anonymous said...

thats all great and everything....but we have proof
its called the bible
read it

voice of rationality said...

thats all great and everything.... but we are morons
its called ignorance
its bliss

Anonymous said...

what is intelligAnt design tommy?

i have only heard of intelligEnt design.

speirs said...

Armed with my rarely studied knowledge of year 12 biology, you have missed the point. No theory of evolution, natural selection, intelligent design, etc adequately explains how life got to this stage.

Intelligent design theory as quoted by tommy's source is "appropriate to teach it as an alternative explanation for the origin of humanity."

They do not want to teach it as the stand alone truth of development but merely one plausible option that is based on the idea of a superior force that has the ability to design. Testing will not focus on if you believe it, simply recalling the idea of it!

So in closing, the concept is very relevant to modern science and it will not be taught as law but as a theory. Sounds good to me.

Tommy said...

anonymous - have you heard of humour?

maybe the fact that the only time i spelt it incorrectly was in the bolded, enlarged topic should be a slight clue that you're retarded

Tommy said...

i fail to see how a completely unscientific theory, a theory that does not meet the standards every single other scientific theory is held to, should be taught in science class. it is not a plausible option. the idea of a superior force that has the ability to design is scientifically implausible. that's why people who believe in such a force have faith.

i never claimed proponents of ID wanted to teach it as the stand alone truth, but teaching it alongside evolution flies in the face of science. evolution is not perfect, it doesn't explain everything (nor does it claim to). but it has been placed under the most stringent of doubts and tests for decades, and no other theory has emerged that comes close to deserving the claim of an alternative.

saying 'a wizard did it' is not a scientific theory. it is untestable, unobservable and fails to meet even the loosest definition of a scientific theory.

speirs said...

That would be true except you are not actually talking about the basis of the intelligent design theory, merely the product (that there is evidence of a designer). Intelligent design is not a baseless argument, it is founded within logic and science. If you take a step back from radical christian fundamentalists and take a neutral standpoint, it does not change the validity that life appears to follow the rules of intelligent design. Whether or not there is an intelligent designer is another issue.

I assume (yes I don't keep up to date with proposed curriculum) what they would teach is the reasoning behind WHY it would appear there is a creator. Perhaps if they taught it in school you would understand the concept better. That's right, I went there.

Now my expert opinion, of which I didn't have until today, it appears that intelligent design is based on valid and scientifically recognised concepts: Irreducible complexity, Specified complexity and the fine-tuned universe concept (thanks wikipedia). NO theory in science or any of its SUB-disciplines does not have criticism and limitations.

Lack of empirical evidence (look it up) does not mean it can't be a valid theory. There is sufficient evidence in the argument to give it face validity; it appears to be a reasonable argument taking into account current research.

If we are wrong then it would not be the first time, however keeping up to date with the most relevant debates in the area is what I think we should be teaching students, I don't think we are forcing the idea of God on them at all.

Care for a cigarette?

voice of rationality said...

spiers you seem to be grasping at straws. In critically examining evidence for or against intelligent design to the universe, it must be understood that we are following the traditional practice of science, seeking a scientific explanation for observations about the universe that have been previously attributed to the action of supernatural deity.

As in any scientific investigation, we must emphasize our commitment to the scientific process and agree to accept whatever the conclusion of that process may be. If that conclusion is evidence for supernatural intelligent design, then so be it. But if we cannot find such evidence, then we should not feel compelled to soothe the sensitivities of believers by leaving unchallenged the assertion that their sectarian prejudices have scientific merit. We must speak out forcefully whenever anyone claims scientific authority for beliefs that fail the objective tests of scientific method. The field should not be left open to those that demonstrate no commitment to scientific truth.

However in saying that what appears to have been said is that maybe such discussion should be left to a religous studies class.

and i dont smoke thanks, have a nice day.

Tommy said...

smiggy - i am talking about the entire theory, not just the wizard did it part. yes, every scientific theory has criticisms and limitations. but intelligent design is rejected by the vast majority of the scientific community. irreducible complexity, the most important part of intelligent design, has no testable hypothesis and next to no evidence.

lack of empirical evidence doesn't mean it CAN'T be a valid theory. but it does mean that it ISN'T a valid theory. 'face validity' means a nice fat jack-all in science.

i have a crazy hunch that if intelligent design was a valid scientific theory worthy of inclusion in evolutionary discourse, that if 'life appears to follow the rules of intelligent design', a school board in Bumfuck, Kansas wouldn't have to rewrite the DEFINITION OF SCIENCE to allow it to be taught.

speirs said...

If you bothered to read my last post properly you would see that my argument is the idea of teaching it to students is not the tell them it is law, but put forth the most commonly accept and/or debated issues because it is actually relevant to the area of study!

voice of rationality, grasping at straws? If you want to criticise my argument you must actually point out what part of it, not just say it and throw in a very broad idea of what science is in your opinion.

You also don't seem to understand that scientific theory of the evolution is THEORETICAL, none of it has been proven beyond a doubt. We have evidence for the 'theory' of evolution and natural selection, but not all scientific communities accept those as being right, yet we teach them in schools.

Punctuated equilibrium is a concept taught in biology today and it is based in a similar way to intelligent design: we don't have the evidence, so maybe this is an explanation.

Tommy, rewrite the definition of science? Are you mad? According to this blogs no.1 quoted source,, science involves the "theoretical explanation of phenomena". That is exactly what this theory is doing. Just because you say something doesn't make it true, this isn't one of your uni media assignments.

I can see the validity and acknowledge the limitations your arguments but you seem to be unable to do the same. How about you tell me what is wrong with teaching students a relevant theory of debate in modern science?

Whether it is wrong or right makes no difference, they will teach the points of validity and the limitations. Or we can not teach them anything relevant to science today and send them out into the world being oblivious to what modern issues are. I am done.

voice of rationality said...

Wait are we playing the I had the last comment game therefore I’m right?

Cause it doesn’t seem to be working for you.

Can’t we just get along and accept the fact that I’m right and your wrong?

And while I may have made somewhat blanket statements you haven’t actually put any specific respectable argument forward, rather your just "grasping at straws"

skirt said...

tommy, let me just say
your not a plausible option.

Tommy said...

i understand evolution is just a theory, which is why i said it was a theory in my second comment in the thread. when i said one has to rewrite the definition of science if they want to teach intelligent design, i was referring to the kansas school board decision in the first paragraph of my blog. it kind of happened.

i have never claimed you want to teach it to students as law, what i have said is that intelligent design is not worthy of being included in the evolutionary debate. to compare it to punctuated equilibrium, or the cambrian explosion, or mass extinctions, or any other of the controversies surrounding evolution is ridiculous at best. these are theories backed up by 'empirical evidence' (i looked it up!) and the scientific method, not a single book written in 1996 and the Pacific Hills Christian School.

evolution is full of holes worthy of debate. but intelligent design is not worthy of filling the hole. if it was, it wouldn't have its proponents amongst government officials keen to get votes, President Bush, local school boards, lobby groups and churches - it would have its support amongst the scientific community. you can read about punctuated equilibrium in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and you can read about intelligent design on wikipedia and in church mail-outs. which one of those should we teach to our kids?

'How about you tell me what is wrong with teaching students a relevant theory of debate in modern science? '

again, i have no problem teaching intelligent design in religion or philosophy classes. i have no problem with a science teacher mentioning intelligent design in terms of current scientific events, but teaching it as a legitimate theory is doing a disservice to students.

Anonymous said...

we should totally talk about scientific theories. science is what all the cool kids are doing

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, what on earth was John Travolta doing watching the Socceroos last night, let alone celebrating with them? What was that about...

Tommy said...

he heard they had $8 million and wanted a cut to give to the church of scientology

Anonymous said...

that makes no sense tommy, why would the socceroos have $8 million, why $8 million and why would travolta need more money?

speirs said...

Voice of rationality.

I "haven’t actually put any specific respectable argument forward" because my argument is not in support of the merit of the theory itself, but its merit to being a valid topic of argument in the field.

Thankyou for your contribution of not being able to understand my argument, and your argument that you copy pasted word for word from:

Why should you care about the issue seeing as you probably didn't go to school?

Go back to google to find another opinion that isn’t yours.

voice of rationality said...

"Thankyou for your contribution of not being able to understand my argument, and your argument that you copy pasted word for word from:"

this is true, however whats the difference if i use another person argument, just like you are? or if you quote the bible its the same thing at least mine comes with references :D

Voice of reasonable doubt said...

someone is trying to dig themselves out of a hole

if you can not articulate the argument in your own words then then it is more than likely beyond you

In the great words of Achilles "That's why no-one will remember your name"

Skeletor said...

"Evolution" - the gradual change of a species (perhaps into a different one) by process of genetic mutation and natural selection.

^Generally agreed to have happened, and is still happening. Proven by control groups of moths and other research we couldn't be rooted to do ourselves but we DID pick up more red toothpicks out of the grass than green ones in yr7, so that's good enough for me.

Of course, gaps in the fossil record (big ones) prevent this from being a proper explanation for how everything came about today... but maybe those gaps will be filled in one day.

The REAL issue, is the initial creation. If everything has evolved, where did the first living cell come from?

'The theory of Evolution' doesn't explain this.
In fact, the sheer complexity involved means a lot of scientists are advocates of intelligent design, because the odds make spontaneous genesis nigh on impossible.

But let's look at the real issue. We say "Intelligent Design" and act all 'yeah, we're on the same plane of thought and discovery here' but the fact is, ID is closely linked to an idea of god.

... and people oppose ID because they oppose the idea of god, and they don't WANT there to be a god.

voice of rationality said...

Hole what hole i stand by my points even if they were copy pasted in order to save time and for readers to better articulate what was being said. Even this wasnt enough for you to grasp some of the finer points.

in the great words of Agamenmnon
" A great victory was won today, but that victory was not yours. Kings do not kneel to Achilles. Kings do not pay homage to Achilles"

Anonymous said...

"... and people oppose ID because they oppose the idea of god, and they don't WANT there to be a god."

This statement is false. You will find the vast majority of athiests would like there to be such thing as a god. I mean they be stupid not too. Reasons why they reject such a notion is there is no conclusive evidence, but thats another argument and lets not go there.

Achilles said...

"Perhaps the kings were too far behind to see: the soldiers won the battle... Be careful King of kings. First you need the victory"

your argument was poor and out of context. your plagiarised arguments did not address the issues at hand. if you want to argue you must use a counterpoint, not another reason why the theory may be wrong - the issue is why we can’t teach children how a theory is good and bad so they aren’t ignorant to how theory development works.

thankyou for lowering the IQ of everybody reading

Tommy said...

"And Tommy looked high and wide, down upon the rolling hills and into the dark recesses for a quote from a significant historical figure, but could find none"

Let's just think about that for a moment

Tyler Durden said...

worker bees can leave
even drones can fly away
the queen is their slave

Rdawg said...

Ok this is the somewhat grey area of science and religion much like the grey area of where design blurs with art. From the blog Tommy’s argues that intelligent design should not be allowed to be included in a science class up alongside the theory of say evolution that admittedly has some flaws but is widely accepted in the scientific community and religious community to certain degrees.
However Spires argues that it is a valid theory and has a place to be talked about in science classes along side more credible theory such as evolution. Here is where I disagree and lean towards what Tommy argues and that is simply the fact that intelligent design is not accepted by the vast majority of the scientific community. What proof have I of this, well intelligent design has been rejected be virtually every scientist and scientific communities and has never once been published in a PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL.

Therefore how can it be that this theory whether it be right or wrong be allowed to be put into the science curriculum if it is not generally acknowledged by the scientific community as a scientific theory? Quite simply it can’t and it should be under the topic of religious studies in schools curriculums.

speirs said...

I definitely see what you are saying, and quite eloquently done might I add.

Intelligent design is still a 'theory'. It is not finalised nor is it accepted as anything more than an idea without sufficient evidence. There are countless theories that are taught in psychology that don’t have strong evidence, but they are useful as a basis for future ideas to build from them. Science is also about "theoretical explanation of phenomena", and Intelligent Design is one of them... simply blown out of proportion by referring to the idea of a god, as Tommy said.

The reason why I think it should be thrown into a textbook that no kid will willingly read for homework is (as I keep saying) that kids need to be informed on the idea of Intelligent Design it when the leave school and enter into science, because it will be an issue! I really agree or disagree with it (I am no biologist), but it has some merit as knowledge.
You are far more caught up on the idea that this theory is wrong period, rather than acknowledge the potential applications in could have in a classroom curriculum. Suddenly people who have never read a biology textbook in their life are experts on this issue and all encompassing theories because the most outspoken scientific personalities are unhappy that they theory is saysing “empirical evidence can not account for this, therefore current theories are limited and potentially wrong, there is something at work that science can not explain” and I wonder why they are opposed. This is a theoretical explanation of the phenomena, what science is based on.
A peer reviewed article (phrase of the day!) “Providing High School Students With Opportunities To Reason Like Evolutionary Biologists” by Passmore, Stewart, & Zoellner (2005) addresses this issue in regard to what I am talking about. We can not shelter students in classrooms, this theory would allow students the opportunity to critically analyse the basis for this claim and Paley's motivation for doing so.
So for your next argument stop telling me how they theory is wrong, and say why teachers and students are unable to discern this for themselves and make it a useful tool for critical analysis?

speirs said...

hm let that be a lesson to proof read long blog comments ;)

Rdawg said...

Well you do seem to have pulled out a peer reviewed article but is it relevant to what we are talking about? Yes very much so.
Is it a Peer reviewed article from a journal establishing Intellectual Design as a legitimate scientific theory? I think not.
Should the theory of intellectual design be discussed in schools? Yes I think so.
Should it be taught in science? I think not.

Yes it’s a theory but there are many theories don’t mean they should be taught as a part of the science curriculum. It’s about drawing a line as Tommy said “Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of creation in science class?”

Doesn’t mean to talk about it is taboo in science classes it just means that it shouldn’t be part of the school curriculum for science.

Anyway let’s just agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

In the end, what can you teach of Intellectual Design? Looking at the world and all its complexity, people have theorised that it cannot possibly have been the result of evolution but must be the result of a higher being. If you teach anymore than that, then it becomes a religous topic. Therefore, I see no problem with it being taught as an alternative to the theory of evolution in science, as long as no more than a minute is spent on it.

Anonymous said...

yes i have heard of humour, but it usualy doesnt come from your blog

Tommy said...

is that why you keep visiting and posting comments?

skeletor said...

Whatever ends up being taught - the true crime of scientific education is not that ID may be taught as theory, but that Evolution has ALREADY been taught as fact.

Going on the logic of 'only teach what is proven conclusively', teaching natural selection in schools should consist of:

"We can observe current species changing slightly through natural selection".

Any questions on the origin of life should be fielded with:

"Your guess is as good as ours, kids!"

skirt said...

I'm going to have to go with the heathens here(not to hell, just on this issue)
I think ID should be listed as an alternative to evolution, when evolution is taught - Like hey this is the theory of evolution look at all the holes, some people think the world was created by a God.
BUT the idea of teaching it as a science theory seems a bit far fetched. Mainly because I've only seen one point used as evidence "That the universe is so complex blah blah blah". And what else is there - after that it definately seems to fall in the religion category. ie "some people believe...."
I believe in intelligent design. But for me thats faith. If you want to teach intelligent design in a science class, you should be teaching the children to look at it objectively. I just don't think ID should get in a dick measuring contest with Evolution. Because as flawed as the theory of evolution is at least it has some actual scientific ground.
I don't want to believe that this is a selfish attempt by some christians to have their ideas validated, but I just don't see how else it would get so popular

skirt said...

but then you do have George Bush on side

Tommy said...

geez you guys still talking about this old post, get with the times and listen to the audio blog

SKIRT said...