Sunday, January 30, 2005

Evolution debate enters ‘round two'

‘Intelligent design' backers offer option
This is what we are going against, and it's a much more delicate and subtle attack than it was back in the day...Now they try to pass the belief in an intelligent design as a plausible scientific explanation...that just happens to be based on faith. Well, that's not what we know about science as we know it, and probably the standards of science would and should be revised, and in fact they are rather periodically, because that's what science is about: selfcorrecting itself, and taking notice from the occurrances in the natural world.
“There are only two options,” said Harris, who is leading this year's fight. “Life was either designed or it wasn't.”

That's not the point, evolution defenders reply. Science is about searching for natural explanations of the world, they say, and has no room for a theory based on faith.

The public will join the debate beginning Tuesday, when the first of four public hearings on new science standards will be held in Kansas City, Kan.
Harris and seven other members of the 26-member committee instead propose students be “more adequately informed” on evolution.

The eight submitted a proposal to the state Board of Education. One recommendation was to change the definition of science. The current definition, they say, limits inquiry because it allows only “natural” explanations. They want it to be more objective and to allow students “to follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

Evolution supporters said such a change would shake science at its foundation.

“Intelligent design claims it's a mistake to limit science to naturalistic explanations,” said Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University who has written science textbooks used in Kansas and elsewhere.

“But what other kinds of explanations are there? The straightforward answer — which is very clear from their document but they never quite frankly have the courage to use the word — is supernatural explanations. … It means supernatural explanations in Kansas will now be part of science.”

Intelligent-design proponents deny that. They say design can be detected without introducing a designer.

If Kansas adopted the proposed changes from the group of eight, it would go further than any state had gone in adopting a position endorsed by supporters of intelligent design.


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