Saturday, November 17, 2007

Maybe Intelligent Design Does Have a Place in Science Class

You'll probably be shocked to hear me say it, but I think that Intelligent Design should be included in science classes. In fact, I think ID could play a more important role in science class than evolution. You see, most current science classes are a big fat failure. They teach many things that we have learned through science, but they generally do a piss-poor job of defining science, which is why so many of the products our public school system (or worse, homeschoolers) think that ID is science.

But wait, didn't I just say that ID belongs in science classes?

Intelligent Design belongs in science class because it is a consummate example of what science is not. Children are leaving school thinking that science is a body of knowledge that includes categories like physics, chemistry and biology. Under this definition, an argument could be made that if the Intelligent Design hypothesis were true (which many already assume to be the case), that it would be scientific.

Science, however, is not a body of knowledge. Science is a methodology for attaining knowledge about natural phenomena in the material world through observation and experimentation and, by extension, a standard for evaluating that knowledge. Our science classes attempt to teach the scientific method, or at least to pay lip service to doing so, but they put far more emphasis on memorizing formulae and the names of anatomical structures. These classes would be better termed "History of Science". A true science class should not teach the fruits of science, but rather the methodology of science and the value of scientific scrutiny of ideas rather than the dogmatic acceptance or rejection of them.

Intelligent Design is an untestable postulation of an immaterial being acting upon the physical world by supernatural means based on claims that have not and could not be observed to be true, and nearly every word of that description contradicts the definition of science.