Education Evolution Intelligent Design

“Teach the Controversy” — by the inventor of the phrase

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To Debate or Not to Debate Intelligent Design?
By Gerald Graff

When I heard that advocates of “Intelligent Design” were urging schools to “teach the controversy” between their view and Darwinian evolution, I was dismayed.

About 20 years ago, I coined the phrase “teach the controversy” when I argued that schools and colleges should respond to the then-emerging culture wars over education by bringing their disputes into academic courses themselves. . . .

So I felt as if my pocket had been picked when the Intelligent Design crowd appropriated my slogan. . . .

And yet, setting intellectual property questions aside, the more I ponder the matter and read the commentators on both sides, the more I tend to think that a case can be made for teaching the controversy between ID and Darwin. . . .

Though I share these fears, there seems to me a certain failure of nerve here on the part of the Left. After all, if evolution and intelligent design were debated in academic courses, the religious Right would have the same risk of losing as the liberal secularists — maybe greater risk. . . .

[For the full article, go here.]

21 Replies to ““Teach the Controversy” — by the inventor of the phrase

  1. 1
    Jerry says:

    I found it interesting that UC Berkeley has a very extensive web site in support of evolution and its teaching in schools but makes the statement that it is a misconception that evolution involves the origin of life and says

    Evolutionary theory deals mainly with how life changed after its origin. Science does try to investigate how life started (e.g., whether or not it happened near a deep-sea vent, which organic molecules came first, etc.), but these considerations are not the central focus of evolutionary theory. Regardless of how life started, afterwards it branched and diversified. Whether or not we understand how life began, we do understand a lot about what happened during the history of life-though there is still much to learn.

    See: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....eory.shtml

    I would think that origin of life is the evolutionist’s “holy grail” which they dare not give up. I wonder is the ACLU would mind if the statement on the Berkeley web site could be made part of all biology courses.

  2. 2
    Jerry says:

    The above comment was a mistake as it was meant to be put under the article about Berkeley.

  3. 3
    avocationist says:

    I found his article dismaying. Since he said that after reading both sides, a case could be made for teaching the controversy, I had hope he saw a bit of reason. Instead, however, he lovingly lists the consensus of the usual group of Darwin-fundie clowns. He intends for students to get how “unbelievably idiotic” the ancestors of ID are. This makes me realize that as far as any school curriculum goes,it all depends upon how the topic is presented to students, especially the younger ones. It can of course be presented in such a way that the ID position gets lots of laughs.

  4. 4
    Ben Z says:

    The more I hear kids talking about evolution around me, as I am only 18, the more I understand how it really does need to be taught. I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t learn about evolution/darwinism in school and doesn’t understand that what they are taught is that all of life was an accident, etc…

  5. 5
    wmmalo says:

    Evolution suggests data support it’s hypothesis. It doesn’t state for fact that life is accidental. It does not argue that there is god does not exist, or other creator, or designer, for that matter. That isn’t saying it may not happen, but consider the likelyhood of ‘discovering God’. Darwin’s research was and is today inconclusive, and no, “god” hasn’t popped up.

    ID has been taught ever since I can remember. I was required when I was in catholic school. It was called, purely and simply ‘religion’. Only ‘faith’ can take the ‘giant’ step necessary to ‘prosel’ the improbable

  6. 6
    wmmalo says:

    Evolution suggests data support its hypothesis. It doesn’t state for fact that life is accidental. It does not argue that there is no god, or other creator, or designer for that matter. That isn’t saying such discovery might not happen, but consider the likelihood of ‘finding’ God. Darwin’s research remains inconclusive, and no, “god” hasn’t popped up, as of yet.

    ID has been taught ever since I can remember. I was required when I was a child in a catholic school to study ‘creation’; it wasn’t a theory, it was fact. It was called, purely and simply, ‘religion’.
    Only ‘faith’ can take the ‘giant’ step necessary to eclipse scientific evidence. ‘God did it all — accept it’. ID can no more prove ‘design’ than evolution can prove ‘accidental’ humanity. Irregardless, the distinction must be made, ID, in its present hypothetical stage, is not theory-based science, it’s ‘faith-based’ religion.
    If you doubt this, read the responses on virtually every ID forum, blog or book review. With few exceptions, you will find “God” (no pun intended) “Christianity”, faith, belief and similar language sparse in scientific discourse, rife in religiosity.

    sorry to repost

  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    wmmalo

    When a group of 38 Nobel laureates use this language:

    http://media.ljworld.com/pdf/2.....letter.pdf

    “Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    it pretty much negates what you say about evolution making no claim that life is accidental.

  8. 8
    wmmalo says:

    ” is understood to be ”

    This is an observation, based on the evidence we all know is available. The research is dense, to say the least, yet inconclusive, if you understand theoretical treatise, and I’m assure you do.

    We all must admit there are some very bright individuals supporting the ‘theory’, and none are more immoral or ignoble than you or me.

    I am an atheist. I do not believe in ‘deities’ prophesied by organized religion. The possibility of such a divinity may exist.
    What does exist is my consciousness; in this specific space; at this specific time. No one knows more than that.
    respectfully wm

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    You’re equivocating and you’re certainly not one of the “bright individuals”. You’re just a run of the mill bigot parroting what you’ve been taught to say. Buzz off.

  10. 10
    wmmalo says:

    Dave

    ‘Bigot’ is not a term appropriate in ‘civil’ discourse. I don’t intend to irritate. I do have questions and doubts regarding the ID ‘confusion’.
    I am not concerned with whether ID is introduced into ‘public’ education as an alternate ‘scientific’ theory to Darwin’s.
    Still sound’s to me like religion in a lab coat.

  11. 11
    jboze3131 says:

    i always have to wonder why self described atheists are so afraid of religion. why so many of them go out of their way to actively practice their own religion of anti-religion…attacking the majority (believers) as simpletons with no sense. atheism is a religion in itself…its not a disbelief in god. its like saying, im not a fan of golf, and i go out everyday with anti-golf shirts on, talking about how idiotic people who play golf are and that believers in golf are anti-science, anti-reason, anti-everything positive.

  12. 12
    DaveScot says:

    “‘Bigot’ is not a term appropriate in ‘civil’ discourse”

    I’m not interested in civil discourse with bigots. Buzz off.

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:

    “i always have to wonder why self described atheists are so afraid of religion”

    That’s easy. They fear being wrong and 9 out of 10 of their fellows constantly reminding them they’re wrong doesn’t help dispel their fear.

    It’s really kind of stupid to be an atheist. If you’re a theist and you’re wrong nothing happens. If you’re an atheist and you’re wrong something awful happens. If you’re a theist and you’re right something good happens. If you’re an atheist and you’re right nothing happens.

    Logic dictates that you be a theist just to play it safe. The problem then becomes which religion to choose to hedge your bets. This is where Protestantism becomes appealing as it is a personal religion where no church participation is required for salvation and where salvation is given just by asking. So ask, recieve, and then get on with your life. This is why the Protestant Reformation nations enjoy the highest living standards in the world today – they don’t let religion become a burden. Just my opinion of course, but I’m usually right.

  14. 14
    Charliecrs says:

    hey wmmalo,
    “Still sound’s to me like religion in a lab coat”

    cool thats exactly how i feel about Athiesm / Secular h-ism – > 2 Evolution.

    Thats why i always think its funny when those who aruge and say Id is relgion are the same “type” of people who argue for the removal of God from schools and are the same people who argue that sep. of church & state nosense. Because they usally forget to look in their own “frying pot” before looking at others. They have no problem for their “relgion” [ie. stated above] influencing the masses [school kids] because it just so happens to fit in prefectly with evolution. Which is OFFCOURSE science to them so they are justified, etc. etc. etc.

    1 sided worldview point – and nonoe else can join [that is anyone who dosent diss the mighty Dariwnin ]

    Charlie

  15. 15
    Charliecrs says:

    Hey wmmalo,

    just FYI – my last post wasnt saying anthing neg. about you…
    just was talking in general about what i feel towards athiesm etc. after reading my post tho again thought you might of took it the wrong way not intended. just clearing d air if it needed to be cleared cus i like reading your posts.

    Charlie

  16. 16
    2perfection says:

    “If you’re a theist and you’re wrong nothing happens.”

    God knows what is going on in your soul. So playing theist because only good things can come out of it is just game theory.

    God will know this and you will be stuffed.

    Horus be with you.

  17. 17
    2perfection says:

    Atheism is not a religion, it is the antithesis of belief, it is disbelief.

    Of course, to the theistic mindset this is identical to espousing belief, but then theists cannot help themselves but refer to things in religious terms.

    Witness the word ‘darwinism’, darwin didnt leave behind a book of moral instruction, no laws, no immutable instructions…but despite this the google-eyed theists whisper about it like it was some strange cult.

    Of course, what theists are really scared of is some thing very simple.

    They are frightened to think they rae not special, it terrifies them to imagine there is no god, just circumstances, and finally all that self-denial and self-torture will come to nothing and God really was made in the image of man.

    Crowds of believers make them feel better, but it doesnt matter how many share the same belief if all of them are wrong.

    theism = flat earth society.

  18. 18
    DaveScot says:

    Atheism is a *belief* that God does not exist.

    I’m curious. How did you prove that God doesn’t exist?

    You my friend, have gulled yourself by a logical fallacy called an argument from ignorance. You can find no personally convincing evidence that there is a God and you then, without logical merit of any kind, transform that into positive evidence that God does not exist.

    I bet you got a mediocre SAT score…

  19. 19
    jboze3131 says:

    he basically calls all theists idiots then he says that atheism isnt a belief system. yeah. got ya. atheists never cease to amuse me personally.

  20. 20
    2perfection says:

    “Atheism is a *belief* that God does not exist”

    Actually, this is called ‘strong atheism’ or ‘explicit atheism’. However, your definition does not cover all atheism, such as the ‘weak’ or ‘implicit’ varieties. Or Apatheism or Ignostocism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    Notice weak and implicit atheism require no beliefs at all about god one way or another, but can stil be considered atheism.

  21. 21
    2perfection says:

    “he basically calls all theists idiots then he says that atheism isnt a belief system. yeah. got ya. atheists never cease to amuse me personally. ”

    It seems to me that theists are incapable of stepping out of their apriori belief systems. Many seem to think that everything is framed in their terms. Thus people who accept the overwhelming evidence that evolution is a fact, studied, replicated, predictive, and useful, are called ‘brain washed’ and ‘darwinists’.

    Theists simply understand everything in terms of cults of the personality, and Laws, and Truths.

    Thus their assertion that all differing points of view are religious in nature and all are the same as theirs.

    They just dont get it.

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