One of the most prominent ploys utilized by liberal activists in attempting to institutionalize their social ideology is to present their contention in a way that seems reasonable to casual observers, while in reality advocating a much more radical agenda.
There can be no better example of this than the ongoing efforts of such inaptly-named groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State to mandate the teaching of Darwinian Evolution in America’s science classes.
In the course of these efforts (which have recently won them a major court victory in Pennsylvania, and a similar political victory in Ohio, with other battles being fought in other states, including Georgia and Kansas) they disingenuously advance the notion that the concept of Intelligent Design — a leading alternative view to evolution — is inappropriate for a science curriculum because it relies on something other than pure science to advance its assertions.
This can seem eminently sensible to most reasonable people. After all, a theory that relies on something as unverifiable as a Supreme Creator is hardly fitting for a science lab — it would be much more appropriately addressed in the context of a philosophy or humanities class.
However, though this indeed seems compelling, the truth is that this issue goes far beyond simply debating whether or not Intelligent Design is based on science.
The troubling fact is that opponents of Intelligent Design are not interested merely in ensuring that it is presented in its proper place. Rather, they are seeking to stop it from being presented at all.
To that end, they are intent on bestowing upon Darwin’s theory of evolution the aura of fact, even in the face of its serious scientific and philosophical shortcomings. And unfortunately, the reason for this has little or nothing to do with science.
The ACLU has already demanded that school districts across the country cease any instruction in Intelligent Design, and have been joined in that effort by other organizations that oppose introducing the concept of Intelligent Design in ANY setting — science classes or otherwise.
Their rationale for this stance is the same old tired notion that Intelligent Design is a nefarious attempt to introduce religion into the classroom, as though this somehow constitutes the "establishment of religion" prohibited by the First Amendment.
(Of course, discussing Intelligent Design in a science or philosophy class would no more amount to proseletyzation than would teaching about Islam or Buddhism in a comparative religion class.)
The irony of all this is that serious academic inquiry has come out the loser when the entire premise of the debate is that true scholarship must be based on that very thing.
This is especially unfortunate because until the obvious questions raised by the Intelligent Design concept are addressed forthrightly, the theory of evolution will never be adequately tested to determine whether it truly merits the acceptance that its proponents are seeking to attain by default.
Furthermore, it strongly appears that these issues indeed cannot be resolved without recourse to some form of creative intelligence.
Intelligent Design is generally characterized by the self-evident notion that the creation of life on earth — to say nothing of the vast universe — is far too complex to have occurred by mere happenstance.
But beyond that, there is also this logical dilemma faced by those who would dispense with God (or some reasonable facsimile thereof): that whatever entity may have existed to account for the so-called ‘big bang’ that brought the physical realm into being, there’s nothing to account for what brought THAT entity into being — unless one acknowledges the existence of a being whose essence cannot be defined by known physical characteristics.
In this sense, Intelligent Design is not only eminently logical, but irrefutable.
On the other hand, evolutionary theory enjoys no such advantage. Aside from the many basic scientific issues (such as how one species could be transformed into another without even the aid of modern breeding techniques which themselves have produced no such thing), one question stands dauntingly above the rest. Namely, that even if one were to concede the problematic notion that the creation of a new species out of another were possible, this would not explain the towering difference between the human species and lower life-forms — the ability to reason.
As counterintuitive as it seems that a species could develop new physical traits simply because such a mutation might be advantageous (can we all learn to fly or to breathe underwater if we just wish to long enough?), it simply defies credulity to think that human beings not only physically evolved from ape-like creatures, but developed the ability to think rationally by a similar process.
Certainly this would be an unprecedented phenomenon, entailing a much more extreme manner of natural selection than that which is known to occur.
According to Casey Luskin, Public Policy spokesman for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which is seeking to establish the right of teachers to question Evolutionary theory, the question isn’t whether it would have been advantageous for man to develop the ability to reason — of course it would have. The real question is whether mutations are capable of producing this. "This certainly seems to strain Darwin’s theory. It appears that something else has to be added to the equation to explain human complexity."
The reality is that simply accepting Darwinian dogma in spite of the many troublesome questions that arise entails far more faith than simply subscribing to Intelligent Design — or believing in God. This is not to state with finality that evolutionary theory is false — only that there are enough substantive problems with it that attempting to characterize it as all but factual, and therefore immune from challenge is a fundamentally flawed view.
However, this is exactly the notion that permeates the mindset of a large number of evolution advocates.
The whole scenario is remarkably similar to the debate over global warming, where proponents of the idea that draconian measures must be taken to limit its alleged man-made causes insist that there is no longer any room for debate of the fundamental question: is man the primary — or even a significant — contributor to the pattern of global climate change?
In fact, a very sizeable number of highly-respected experts in the field of climatology believe the answer to that question is ‘no’ — particularly when one considers that the majority of the global warming that has taken place in the past century occurred in the first half when the quantity of greenhouse gases produced by man was far less than it is today.
But none of this has registered on the true believers in man-made global warming any more than the aforementioned equally weighty concerns have had on the apostles of evolution.
The saddest aspect of all this is that the same individuals and groups that so incessantly advocate principles such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ are usually the first to abandon them once their own prevailing orthodoxy is challenged.
This is not the way to arrive at truth — if indeed truth is what we’re interested in.