This week the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board voted unanimously to rescind its Intelligent Design policy.
Intelligent Design is a new wrinkle in the decades-long debate over teaching evolution in public schools.
Before the court case, the Dover policy required that students be informed – before classes on evolution – that evolution is a theory, is "not a fact," and has inexplicable gaps.
But, despite scientific evidence, two weeks ago, a federal judge ruled Dover’s Intelligent Design policy “unconstitutional.”
The whole debate has many people asking: Just what is Intelligent Design?
Is it a scientific theory that should be taught in public schools? Or a religious belief that should be confined to Sunday school?
Here is more on the Intelligent Design movement.
Questions come up, like: Is Intelligent Design really just ‘religion’ in disguise? Do both Biology and Astronomy support Intelligent Design? And who are the people promoting Intelligent Design?
To answer those questions, we went to the Discovery Institute in Seattle. They are major proponents of Intelligent Design.
Dr. Stephen Meyer is head of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He says to ban Intelligent Design theory as mere religion is wrong.
“In fact,” Meyer said, “it's a science-based argument. It may have implications that are favorable to a theistic worldview, but the argument is based on scientific evidence."
So, what is the evidence? We can look at evidence from researchers like biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute
Behe is an expert on a most interesting bacteria. As we watched microscopically-small bacteria, we could see their little tails spinning -- they're actually called flagella. Inside the bacteria are exquisitely engineered inboard motors that spin that little tails at an amazing 100,000 revolutions per minute.
Darwin said such complexity must have developed in increments, ‘piece by piece.’ Behe says that's bunk. All the pieces are needed, in place, all at the same time—or the motorized tails wouldn't work, ever. Couldn’t work, period.
Darwin's gradual theory has no good explanation for that. Intelligent Design does.
So, with growing scientific evidence of Intelligent Design, isn't Lehigh University, where Behe teaches, proud of their cutting-edge scientist? Proud of the man who wrote the 1996 bestseller Darwin's Black Box?
Hardly. Last August, all 22 of the other biology faculty members came out with a political statement on the department's website. It stated: "Intelligent Design has no basis in science."
But they cited no evidence and made no references to any scientific research to support that statement.
In fact, universities are evolving into ‘centers for censorship.’
For instance, five years ago, Baylor University dismissed mathematician Dr. William Dembski from his position, primarily because he headed a Center for Intelligent Design there.
And, at Iowa State University, over 100 faculty members have signed a petition against Intelligent Design. It is an apparent political attempt to intimidate ISU astronomer Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez—because he writes about Intelligent Design.
Gonzalez is co-author with philosopher Dr. Jay Richards of the book "The Privileged Planet." The book, and its related video, argue that Astronomy also shows evidence of Intelligent Design. Why? Because the earth has numerous aspects, each one just right for our existence.
Dr. Gonzalez explained, "We find that: we need to be at the right location in the galaxy, and we are; that we're in the circumstellar habitable zone of our star that is, the correct distance from the sun, and we are; that we're in a planetary system with giant planets that can shield the inner planets from too many comet impacts, in other words, earth is protected by our solar system’s giant planets; that we're orbiting the right kind of star/sun – it's not too cool and not too hot. And we are.”
And these are only 4, out of some 20, characteristics of earth that make our planet unique -- right for life, and even right for discovery by human scientists.
Jay Richards said, "You have life, and the conditions for discovery, happening at the same places. That, to us, suggests that there's something more than a cosmic lottery. That sounds like a conspiracy rather than a mere coincidence."
A coincidence could happen by chance, but a ‘conspiracy’ shows evidence of intentional and intelligent design.
And there's more. The finely-tuned underlying rules of the universe are called ‘physical constants.’ One of them is gravity. But what if gravity were not constant?
The Narrator on the “Privileged Planet” video explains, "Imagine a machine able to control the strength of each of the physical constants. If you changed even slightly, from its current setting, the strength of any of these fundamental forces – such as gravity – the impact on life would be catastrophic."
In plain terms, a bit more gravity would mean any creature larger than the size of a pea would be crushed into nothing. And a bit less gravity would mean the earth would come unglued and fly off into space.
But Darwinism has been maintaining, for some time, that “advanced life is easy to produce all over the universe.”
Jay Richards refutes that, "Almost everything we've learned in the area of Astrobiology suggests that, this ‘life is just not going to happen very often.’” Then, he concludes, “Now that might be sort of depressing for script-writers for sci-fi movies, but that's where the evidence is taking us."
Despite the attacks on it, Meyer says the “Intelligent Design interpretation of the evidence” is exposing Darwinism — evolution — as “a theory in crisis.”
Meyer said, "I think we're reaching the critical point, where Darwinism is going to be seen as simply inadequate. And, therefore, the question of Intelligent Design is back on the table."
Just as Seattle, this city I’m in, has all the earmarks of Intelligent Design – so does nature – except nature is almost infinitely more intricate.