In 2002, Samuel Chen, then a high school sophomore in Pennyslvania, invited Michael Behe to speak at his high school (the event is described here under the title “Darwin’s Dictatorship”). Chen has since graduated and is now a college student at Baylor. Here are his thoughts about the ongoing ID trial Kitzmiller v. Dover — it’s the vitality of younger scholars like him that is going in the end to win the day for ID:
Intelligent Design, Education, and Liberty: What is Going on in Dover?
As many of you are now aware, the issue of intelligent design and evolution has continued to escalate in various settings across the United States of America. State legislators have proposed bills and heard testimonies while school districts and state school boards have changed science standards. The debate is currently being spotlighted in Dover Area School District in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The trial has continued for four weeks and as the fifth and final week begins, I, being both a student and a resident of Pennsylvania, can no longer stay silent. Adults and even self-declared Ã¢â‚¬Å“expertsÃ¢â‚¬Â surround the debate with scientific jargon and legal lingo, while arguing as to the constitutionality of presenting intelligent design in the public school science classroom.
We have heard, over and over again, that Darwinian evolutionary theory is a Ã¢â‚¬Å“theoryÃ¢â‚¬Â in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“scientific form of the word.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Basically, evolution is a fact). Opponents of intelligent design theory has labeled ID as Ã¢â‚¬Å“anti-scientific,Ã¢â‚¬Â a Ã¢â‚¬Å“pseudoscience,Ã¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“religious.Ã¢â‚¬Â However, aside from the jargon and beyond the war of words, we see a new dimension, a clearer image, to the debate in the Dover Area School District.
Dr. Kenneth Miller, Ph.D. of Brown University wrote in an open letter:
The scientific case for evolution is, indeed, overwhelming, and at the trial I gave several hours of detailed testimony documenting that fact. You are, of course, welcome to claim that there is Ã¢â‚¬Å“not a shredÃ¢â‚¬Â of evidence for evolution. But had you been present in the courtroom, I suspect you would not make that statement.
Dr. Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D. of Michigan State University testified that (from the York Daily Record):
Intelligent design proponents’ ultimate goal is to create a revolution in science, taking it back to the days when epilepsy was believed to have been caused by divine possession and gravity was thought to be the result of “spooky action at a distance.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Others, including Dr. Barbra Forrest, Ph.D. of Southeast Louisiana University and Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education are offering their testimonies against the Ã¢â‚¬Å“intelligent design statementÃ¢â‚¬Â of the Dover Area School District.
Steven Stough, both a parent suing the Dover Area School District and one of the witnesses in the trial, said that his daughter would probably leave the classroom when the intelligent design statement was read. He added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“She’s harmed by that because she’s no longer part of the accepted school community.Ã¢â‚¬Â
What exactly is the matter being debated? Why is it that the plaintiffs claim the defendantsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ intelligent design statement creates Ã¢â‚¬Å“irreparable harm?Ã¢â‚¬Â Why does there exist such an antagonism against even allowing students to hear the name of an idea?
The issue at hand is not whether or not intelligent design theory is permitted to be taught in public school science classes. Dover Area School District did not teach intelligent design, but merely made mention of it. They similarly did not teach the gaps in evolution, but merely made mention of it.
The antagonism has resulted from the mere mention of the idea that intelligent design exists and that flaws in evolutionary theory exist. The eight families suing the Dover Area School District have convinced too many people that the mere mention of the terminology Ã¢â‚¬Å“intelligent designÃ¢â‚¬Â means that religion is being taught as fact in schools. Such an assertion is not only wrong, but absurd.
This creates a crisis in not only Dover Area School District, but in public science classes across the nation. Under the false alarm of religion, and especially fundamentalist Christianity, science teachers across America have begun to declare and teach evolution as a scientific fact. As the National Science Teachers Association states, Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is no longer a debate among scientists about whether evolution has taken place. There is considerable debate about how evolution has taken place.Ã¢â‚¬Â This does not lead to a solid and honest science education. Rather, this leads to a form of academic tyranny that is unthinkable in even communist nations, such as the PeopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Republic of China.
While a student at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, I was the president of a student organization think tank called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Third Eye Open.Ã¢â‚¬Â When we decided to address the issue of evolution and intelligent design, we suffered the dictatorship that has gripped this topic. Facing lawsuits and threats, among other harassment, I soon experienced the iron fist by which evolutionists rule academia. To read the full story of my quest to host a conference on evolution and intelligent design, please see the articles in either the American Family Association Journal or in Liberty Magazine.
Of course, Dr. Kenneth Miller would argue that had I been in the courtroom to hear his testimony, I would overcome my stupidity and subscribe to evolution. And Dr. Robert Pennock would argue that proponents of intelligent design, such as myself, are trying to take science back to the days when epilepsy was believed to have been caused by divine possession and gravity was thought to be the result of “spooky action at a distance.” The parents suing Dover Area School District would probably tell me that my bigoted attitude concerning evolution and intelligent design are causing their children Ã¢â‚¬Å“irreparable harm.Ã¢â‚¬Â Yet, none of them have experienced the horrid truth behind the debate, as I have.
After reading much on both sides of the debate, I have concluded, as an inquiring student, that evolution is not sufficient enough to explain certain aspects of our current universe. Intelligent design has emerged as the better explanation for the origin of the universe.
However, personal opinions do not matter in this case, the truth does. The truth in this case is that if mentioning intelligent design becomes banned from schools, then evolution is left to be taught as a fact in public schools. In this situation, students will be denied a good, honest, science education and students will continually be persecuted in their science classes for asking questions and doing research concerning evolution and intelligent design. Is this what we consider education in America?
And so I plead with you, get involved so that more students will not have to go through what I had to, simply because I had a question. Write to your local newspaper and express your views to them. Call your state representative and state senator and tell them that they need to support intelligent design and academic freedom in our schools today. Call your congressperson and senator (in Washington, D.C.) and tell them that they need to take a stand for freedom and not the tyranny of evolution. Together we can make a difference and bring liberty back to our schools. However, we need your voice, so please speak out now, before it is too late.
Thank you for your concern and your help on this issue. It is greatly appreciated. For updates on the trial proceedings in Dover Area School District or for other information on intelligent design, please visit my website at http://www.buddy4u.com/view/?x=safe&u=SC4978. Also, for updated commentaries on intelligent design and evolution, please visit my weblog site at http://www.doubtingdarwin.blogspot.com. Feel free to navigate the links on both sites as well.
I ask that you forward this email to all those that you know. The more people who read this letter, the more people we can get involved. It is important that the people know the truth behind the evolution and intelligent design debate. Thank you again. I wish you the best and if I could ever be of any assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.
Samuel S. Chen
Samuel S. Chen
Research Associate, IDURC
Member, IDEA Center
One Bear Place #81674
Waco, Texas 76798-1674