Intelligent design teachings not smart for public schools

REP. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, has written the following letter to the editor which was published in the Palm Beach Post: Intelligent design teachings not smart for public schools

Florida is in the midst of determining whether intelligent design and creationism should be taught alongside evolution in our public schools. It would be a great mistake to give intelligent design, or any other faux science, a home in Florida’s science classes.

The state Board of Education will soon vote to accept or reject new science standards for teachers that must be updated to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the culture wars are heating up. When the Department of Education released its proposed standards in October, for the first time the word evolution was included as a standard to the agreement of many in the educational and scientific community.

The Board of Education is likely to vote on the new science standards in February. No matter what the outcome, legislators will have an opportunity to have their say when the legislative session convenes the following month. I fear the worst.

One of the problems with teaching intelligent design as the “other side” of Charles Darwin’s scientific theory is that it is not an opposing scientific theory. It is religion posing as science. While the theory of evolution argues that man and other species evolve through the process of natural selection, intelligent design is an assertion that living things are simply so complex that they are best explained as the act of some intelligent designer.

Intelligent design cannot be tested scientifically because it is ultimately premised on something that cannot be proven scientifically: faith. This is why it is so dangerous, to both religion and science, to teach them side by side. Imagine debates in science classes about what part a higher deity had in designing life. While knowledge of scientific theories can be tested, how would a teacher grade a student’s support of creationism based solely on faith?

If you have to teach creationism because it has been dressed up in a pretend scientific theory, what about those creation theories that forgo involvement of a deity and credit man’s creation to intelligent designers from another galaxy? Imagine how parents would react when they hear their child learned from the science teacher that aliens created the Earth and everything on it, without any scientific evidence.

Florida should resist efforts to include “intelligent design” in public school science classes. Mixing faith and science can only harm both.