Intelligent Design

Rising biology enrollments parallel the rise of ID, Alters is dead wrong

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It is my personal opinion that rising biology enrollments parallel ID’s popularity. I personally believe interest in ID encourages study of biology and conversely developments in biology have continued to fuel interest in ID. However, it would be pre-mature at this time to assert this as a quantitative argument. I can only offer it as a personal and qualitative opinion, but considering the modern ID movement’s beginning was in 1984, I will let the reader simply consider the numbers I provide below and draw their own conclusions.

Nevertheless, I think people like Brian Alters (see Brian Alters Drivel) can not rigorously demonstrate the opposite claim, namely, that interest in ID somehow diminishes interest in science, particularly biology. I would actually argue Darwinist behavior is tarnishing biology and making the field have the appearance of being disreputable and unattractive. It would be better for the world of science to drop its promotion of Darwinism.

Something to consider statistically from the National Academy of Sciences of the USA:
National Academy of Sciences Press

Overall, the number of freshman biology majors increased from about 50,000 in the early 1980s to over 73,000 in 2000.2 In terms of actual bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, there was a decrease from about 47,000 in 1980 to 37,000 in 1989 and then a relatively sharp rise to over 67,000 in 1998. This was followed by a slight decline to about 65,000 in 2000.


Does that indicate the discipline of biology is in dire straights given that half of the population in the USA accept special creation, and a good portion on top of that accept at least some form of ID?

One poll question worth asking,

If you concluded that life was the result an intelligence versus a blind purposeless process, would it:

A. not affect your interest in science
B. decrease your interest in science
C. increase your interest in science

How would you answer? My personal answer if that question were posed to me is “C”.

12 Replies to “Rising biology enrollments parallel the rise of ID, Alters is dead wrong

  1. 1
    scordova says:

    FYI: the modern ID movement’s beginning has been perceived by some as beginning in 1984 with the publication of Mystery of Life’s Origin by Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen in 1984 and Evolution a Theory in Crisis by Denton in 1985.

    PS
    I would personally add Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Barrow and Tipler in 1987.

  2. 2
    Atom says:

    “C” all the way. My interest in biology began after reading Denton’s “Evolution: A theory in Crisis” in high school.

  3. 3
    JasonTheGreek says:

    I’m actually more interested in ever in studying science, when before I thought it sounded like the most boring thought ever to study it. ID has been the sole factor in this change of heart.

  4. 4
    EJ Klone says:

    C. And I would be particularly interested in how life was designed, that would be my focus.

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    I just added a link above to the study above (sorry I omitted it earlier). The url for the study pointed to a location on the National Academy’s Press site called “Darwin.edu”

    http://darwin.nap.edu

    http://darwin.nap.edu/books/03.....ml/19.html

    Does this say something about the prejudices of the National Academy? Just speculation 🙂

  6. 6
    Patrick says:

    I went from an interest in nanotechnology to an interest biology to an interest in ID (I didn’t notice Behe or Dembski or any of the major ID authors until years after they had published their first works).

  7. 7
    crandaddy says:

    C. The materialistic outlook is one of tunnel vision. It arbitrarily restricts the explanatory possibilities. The prospect of a designing intelligence would bring a fresh approach to the study of natural phenomena.

  8. 8
    steveh says:

    The prospect of a designing intelligence would bring a fresh approach to the study of natural phenomena.

    The prospect of a designing intelligence has always been there, so why do you say “would” instead of “has”? If you meant “has” then some examples would be in order.

    My income started to increase in 1984 and the trend has continued to the present day. Thanks ID!

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    Steveh,

    Parallels and correlations do not necessarily imply causation. My point is Alters will not be able to argue his case from the evidence since even if one argued correlation implies causation, it would favor my thesis over his. Furthermore the responses to the question I pose show there is little reason to think acceptance of ID would hinder progress in science.

  10. 10
    BC says:

    The idea of blind forces creating things actually makes me more interested. It makes me want to understand what’s going on, how that power can be applied in other ways. The idea of descent with modification has actually increased my desire to study biology. Doing genetic analysis across a variety of species is actually pretty cool. If all this stuff is designed, then it looses some of it’s luster – there’s no reason to expect species to have phylogenically patterned variations of genetic information, some of the information probably just appeared out of nowhere (from our perspective), and biology reverts back to the “stamp-collecting” role that it had hundreds of years ago. While ID may be interesting when considering the origins of man, and some theological questions, naturalistic evolution is a lot more interesting from the percespective of exploring and learning new things about mechanisms of information creation.

    BTW, any numbers on the other sciences? Is biology enrollment increasing because other sciences are declining (I think computer science has been declining for some time). There may be some movement of science people to biology because other areas are closing. Additionally, I have to wonder what role the whole field of genetics has played in increasing biology enrollment. We’re doing a lot more exciting things with biology/computation crossovers in terms of brain analysis, PCR, genetic analysis, genetic effects on cancer rates and other diseases, and the future possibility of screening individuals genomes on a large scale for genetic diseases. Overall, I’m skeptical that ID has played much of a role in increasing biology enrollment except in the “raising the profile of biology” kind of way (and any controversy does that).

  11. 11
    David vun Kannon says:

    Sal,

    Thank you for pointing out that correlation is not causation. I also think that the significant media coverage of ID related issues and events may have affected biology admissions and degrees positively, but it is hard to disentangle from the general background of exciting discoveries such as the Human Genome Project. It would be interesting to study more detailed statistics (from Kansas, say) to see if students receiving more media coverage than the national average on ID had a greater increase in interest in biology.

  12. 12
    russ says:

    If you’re a young person, and you know a particular field is dominated by a philosophy/dogma that is hostile to your worldview, it doesn’t make for an appealling career path. Most people in that situation would look elsewhere for their life’s work.

    On the other hand, if a particular field of study is becoming open to opposing worldviews, and there’s some prospect of a debate and new discovery, than that can be very exciting.

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