John F. Doyle
Political Science 251 - Law and Society
Professor Scott Garver
The debate between Evolution and Intelligent Design is a very controversial issue. The question here is what should be taught. How do you teach evolution when the religious right has a lot of influence in schools? If you look at it there is really more proof for an alien race then there is a God. There is evidence about more dimensions then we live in. Why not has something there? Thomas Aquinas said that God is the best of the best of the best and also that God does not interfere. He set everything in motion and watches. Unless we were the ones first created by him, which there is evidence against, then there must have been something to push us on about 300, 000 years ago. So the point is that is that evolution can be taught and it is ok. However, Intelligent Design is questionable because does that mean that they are talking about God in the classroom? What should be done is both evolution and I.D. should be taught together. God put everything in motion and so we evolved from the Earth. There were possibly also other places where conditions were different and Evolution took place as well. Something gave the Human Race a big kick in the past. The question is what was it? To teach I.D. it should be specified, or rather, said that there are several different theories about God. Including Chinese Philosophies. In Daoism there is the Way, things just are. In Hinduism there is Shiva. In Buddhism there is the Buddha. Then there is Native American religion, they think we are just part of nature. There is so many different thoughts here that this needs to be taught. There really has to be a different class that students would go to in 7-8 grades when they learn about evolution. It would be on all the religions of the world. The evidence here is so convincing that it makes a new class needed. When Copernicus said the world went around the Sun it was enough to get him locked up. Then as new discoveries in science progress there are new classes around them. There have been typing classes and computer courses. It is about time for a religious class. Enough with all this fighting over whose God is the best. They are all great! It does not need to be since they all exist. Yet only One. This has to get out to our youth now so they can grow up and put everything straight. These wars
are getting tiresome and then when our young get old there will be no fighting. This is a basic human right after all. Since this deals with the separation of Church and State then it is has to follow the Constitution and have no commitments of a major religion supporting a government. A class would tell the whole story. Our parents did not know all of this. There is evidence for other species and there are other Gods people believe in. The Origin of Species is at the root of man‟s present attitude to himself and the universe: no one book since the Summa of Thomas Aquinas has made a comparable impact. Written for the general public of the 1850‟s. 1 These two books are phenomenal. So, how do you teach a book written by a Saint? Right there is a cross of church and state. If the church view can be dismissed there is no reason why schools can‟t teach both. Then it needs to be broken down again to a new argument, what helped us. Funny how here is a reference to a Saint that is in a book that has no problem being taught in schools. Let me expand on this argument and talk about a few court cases that will show both sides of this issue. Then I will conclude with a possible solution. I‟d say it is ironic the way this issue has been played out over the years. First the Church had the power and now science has the upper hand. Starting with Galileo and ending with the Balanced Treatment Act this has been an issue with the Church for a long time. I shall begin this argument with an explanation of what Evolution actually is. This theory proposed by Darwin in 1859 does not specifically say we evolved from apes. The root of this theory was natural selection. This means survival of the fittest or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. There is some important point to bring up here that has a significant impact on 19th century thought. First, that biological species do not have a fixed existence but are in permanent states of change. Second, that all life exists for the purpose to reproduce. Third, those who are better suited to the environment will reproduce more while those less suited will die off, natural selection. Fourth, that this process takes a very long time so that it is an unnoticeable change. And fifth, those genetic variations are not caused by God but by the
organism trying to be perfect.2 This here is quite convincing that we do evolve, nevertheless, it is so gradual a process that no-one notices. In Darwin‟s Origin of Species he discusses three key points in Chapter three. First, that the more life that is born on this planet the more they will have to struggle for their own existence. Second, that even the smallest of changes to the population of one species will have a significant impact on the population of another. Third, that genetic adoption that different species have developed is so they can successfully survive in their environment.3 The ideas of evolution did more then simply contradict the Genesis story; it raised the specter of a purely materialistic cosmos which was disturbing to Victorian society. Although many people could reconcile the facts of evolution with their religious beliefs, many others had their faith shaken.4 This was a very difficult idea for a lot of people to come to terms with. Darwin‟s theory of natural selection was a secular answer to Judeo-Christian theodicy (the justification of a benevolent God in a world of evil), since it provided an explanation for the existence of evil and promised that evil would ultimately fulfill a good purpose. 5 This here gave a reason that the Christians could understand. Now to introduce the reader to Intelligent Design and what this theory is composed of. The basis of this thought is that mankind had some superior intelligence help design the human race. The main philosopher to prove this theory was St. Thomas Aquinas. He wrote the Five Proofs of God‟s Existence. The first is that something had to put everything in motion. There is potentiality and actuality that must exist in order for anything in the universe to move. (God) is both of these. The second is the nature of efficient cause. There must have been something to begin everything that was already there. The third is about possibility and necessity. There must have been something here that was necessary in order for the possibility of existence to come about. The fourth is taken from gradation of things. Some things are more or less good then others. The ultimate ending of goodness St. Thomas attributes to this God. The last way is from
governance of the world. This is the most important point here. There is such an order in the universe that something must have caused it.6 Aquinas is referring to some power here that began the universe, and not something that actively intervenes. The problem is that he was a Christian philosopher and so his thought was connected to a Christian God. Michael J. Behe discovered that there was something known as the bacterial flagellum. This was put together in such a perfect way that it resembles a drive shaft of a mechanical device or car. Something he refers to as irreducible complexity. “I defined an irreducibly complex system as: a single system that is necessarily composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”7 There are some pieces that make up life that are so complex that there was no way that they evolved. Something intelligent had to put these together for the purpose of which they were designed for. Behe said „I like to tell people of the flagellum because when they hear of it, they quickly realize that, as Cardinal Ratzinger alluded, it is a machine. It is not just like a machine or analogous to a machine; it is indeed a real machine. And that gives a string indication about where it came from.‟8 Then there is the issue of why exactly God is the Intelligent Designer. According to the Drake Equation (N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L)9 there are at least ten planets that possibly have life. This is figured out by the number of stars similar to ours, the chance they have planets, the chance some planets may be similar to ours, the chance they could support life, and the chance that they do. It is significantly more complex then stated. Theoretical physicist Paul Davies claims that people is looking to extraterrestrials as “a conduit to the Ultimate” For many; the prospect of ETI has come to meet a need once met by religion. Even the SETI scientists say they are motivated by a nobler goal then the mere search for intelligence. Imagine, they say, the boost in knowledge, in morality, and maybe even in spirituality, to be gained from a billion-year old civilization.10 See, not only is there the possibility that there is something more then God but
people are actively looking for this Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. As we ourselves venture into space, a fresh look and an acceptance of the ancient scriptures is more than timely. Now that astronauts have landed on the Moon, and unmanned spacecraft explore other planets, it is no longer impossible to believe that a civilization on another planet more advanced than ours was capable of landing its astronauts on the planet Earth some time in the past. 11 And, to add to that Steven Hawking, Roger Penrose, and other prominent scientists have discussed the possibility of String Theory. That is that the universe is composed of tiny vibrating strings. String theory is the first approach to merge general relativity and quantum mechanics; moreover, it has the potential to unify our understanding of all forces and all matter. But the quantum mechanical equations of string theory don‟t work in four space-time dimensions, nor in five, six, seven, or 7,000. Instead, the equations of string theory work only in ten spacetime dimensions – nine of space, plus time. String theory demands more dimensions. 12 This may all sound like something out of a science fiction magazine. The point is that scientific discoveries are finding out that there is way more to this universe then we previously understood. Life‟s evidence goes back some four billion years. Until some 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago, Earth was too hot for life because of continued asteroid bombardment. This indicates impossibly rapid Earthly evolution, thereby demanding life origins in outer space. 13 Another supporting point is the age of the Earth itself, approximately five billion years. A single cell evolving into a human in five billion years defies all probability. It is mathematically impossible for this to occur in such a short time span.14 We are on the verge of discovering this entity known as God. If there could be intelligent life and if string theory is correct we are far from alone. The conflict here as to why this I.D. theory cannot be taught in schools comes back to the Constitution and a separation of Church and State. The first Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the
people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.15 I believe that the founding fathers simply did not want one religion to be the ruling elite. The reason the colonists left England was to escape the English Church and to be able to worship as they pleased. As mentioned earlier the most prominent proof for God is found in Aquinas. Then there is irreducible complexity. It seems quite convincing that something is out there. People need to look at this and realize that the conflict is not about whether or not there is a higher power but what exactly that power is. Scriptural literalists are those who believe the Bible exactly as it was written. Experts say they are causing scientists increasing pressure to make their case. These scriptural literalists are moving beyond evolution to challenge the teaching of geology and physics on issues like the age of the earth and the origin of the universe.16 These literalists are the ones who are the dominant controllers of the government. If they are about to challenge issues that are based on science then what else can they challenge? Also, think of what they have potentially already challenged. There ought to be some place in schools where the religious and cultural criticisms of evolution can be discussed, perhaps in a comparative religion class or a history or current events course. The school boards need to recognize that neither creationism nor intelligent design is an alternative to Darwinism as a scientific explanation of the evolution of life. 17 In a survey done in 2004 it was found that 65% of all Americans wanted to teach Creationism and Evolution. Among Kerry voters 56% said so, while among Bush voters 71% said to teach both. 18 Bush voters are mostly Christians who want the Intelligent Design issue to be about God. However, since there must be something there, this issue needs to be broken into the question of who this God is. Now, that this issue had been thoroughly discussed and both issues are understood it is time to look at the different court cases that have happened and are happening. It all started with the Trial of Galileo in 1633. This was not about evolution but the position of the Earth in
the rest of the galaxy. It was taught by the Catholic Church that the Earth was the center of the galaxy. Galileo Galilei was able to prove that Nicolaus Copernicus was right. Through a telescope he was able to map the stars and watch as they came and went. Showing without a doubt that the Earth went around the Sun and not vise versa. 19 The significance of this here is that even though he had proof for this discovery the Church refused to believe it and convicted him of going against the teachings. There was a power here that no-one could contend with even though there was undeniable evidence. This shows how whoever is in power makes the laws no matter what those laws may be. The first introduction of evolution to the court system happened in the early 1920‟s. The State vs. John Scopes, best known as the Monkey Trial. Tennessee had passed the antievolution statute, which made it unlawful “to teach any theory that denies the story of divine creation as taught by the Bible and to teach instead that man was descended from a lower order of animals.” The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to challenge this and found John Scopes, a science teacher, to do so. The constitutionality of this statue was the issue here but it was also a way to put the town of Dayton, Tennessee on the map. This case predominantly was about Evolution taking the place of Creationism. They did not yet realize that the two could coexist. In Clarence Darrow‟s interrogation of William Jennings Bryan he proved that bible literalism is not always possible. The story of creation as told in the Bible says they happened in six days. Bryan confirmed that he believed they were “periods”. This showed that not everything should be taken exactly as it was written. This case actually ended with a complex technicality and not the constitutional issue that was hoped for. The court commented, “Nothing is to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case.” 20 This issue was new at this time and everyone being brought up on the Bible theory did not know what to think now that there was something new. In 1925 there were only two states that enacted laws restricting teaching of evolution. They were Arkansas and Mississippi.
The next case here came before the Supreme Court of the United States. This was Susan Epperson et al vs. Arkansas in 1968. This came about by a woman, Susan Epperson who received a textbook that had a part about Darwin‟s theory. The teaching of this was banned in Arkansas. She had a dilemma here, she was told to use the new textbook, but to do so would be against the law. There were three reasons that Mr. Justice Black chose to invalidate this Arkansas act as a violation of the Religious Clause of the 1 st Amendment. First, because the issue of Evolution was so controversial and people were so used to the story of Genesis that it was a very emotional issue and the court could remove this issue for ethical reasons. Second, because the issue of Evolution was contrary to the Bible stories and the courts were not able to support something that was in any way connected to religion. This meant that Evolution could not be taught in schools because it has religious or rather anti-religious doctrines and the courts could not have that in schools. Third, teachers are hired to teach certain subjects and are not hired to teach their opinion of public or personal issues. Mr. Justice Stewart stated that the States are most assuredly free “to choose their own curriculums for their own schools.‟ A State is entirely free, for example, to decide that the only foreign language to be taught in its public school system shall be Spanish. But would a State be constitutionally free to punish a teacher for letting his students know that other languages are also spoken in this world? I think not.” The conclusion was that the anti-evolution statue was so vague that it was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment.21 This means they should not be denied any rights. The next case before the Supreme Court of the United States was decided in 1987. This was Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, et al vs. Aguillard et al. Justice Brennan delivered the opinion of the Court. The Creationism Act forbids the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools unless accompanied by instruction in “creation science.” No school is required to teach this but if one is taught so must be the other. This led to teaching of the opinion of a certain religious view. The Establishment Clause forbids the enactment of any law “respecting
an establishment of religion.” The Court applied a three-pronged test, known as the lemon test, to determine if legislation complies with this Clause. First the law must be adopted with a secular purpose. Second, the principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion. Third, it must not result in excessive entanglement of government with religion. If State action fails to satisfy any one of these it violates the Establishment Clause. The Louisiana Creationism Act advances a religious doctrine by requiring either the banishment of the theory of evolution from public schools or the presentation of a religious viewpoint that rejects evolution entirely. This Act violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it seeks to use the government to promote a certain religion. 22 Justice Scalia later stated that because the Balanced Treatment Act had a secular purpose. That is all the first component of the Lemon test requires. Because of that he decided to reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand for further consideration. The last case to be discussed here is Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. This case had to do with Intelligent Design instead of the old creationism story. The question is whether or not this is the same thing. The argument was that Intelligent Design as an alternative to Evolution violated the Establishment Clause. Judge Jones found that “A significant aspect of the Intelligent Design movement is that despite Defendants‟ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.” "After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: 1. ID violates the centuries-old rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; 2. the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the
1980's; and 3. ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community." It was found that ID was not science and could not separate itself from its religious antecedents.23 The same problem I have been stating. As you can see here the problem is seperating Intelligent Design with God. As I mentioned earlier St. Thomas Aquinus was refering to a God who did not intervene with life. This is what people have to understand. That there must have been something to start everything and this is known as God. Before the big bang there had to be something to start it out, this here is what God is. There must also have been something that intervened with the evolution of humans. How was it, for example, that the civilization of Sumer seemed to flower so suddenly nearly 6,000 years ago with-out a precursor?24 It is ironic how it started out with a case that the church was entirely wrong about. Then went into the „monkey trial‟ in which evolution was trying to be brought into schools. Next were decisions that anti-evolution laws were unconstitutional and it could be taught. After that Creationism was trying to make its way back into the schools after being replaced by Evolution. Then Intelligent Design came about and because it was connected to the theory of God it could not be taught in schools. There has been an entire flip-flop here on the issues. A seperation of Church and State is meant to prevent Church-run-Governments. There has to be a cross when it comes to issues such as this one of our orgin. We must distinguish between the legal problems involved in any effort to challenge the monopoly that Darwinists enjoy in the public schools of America and the scientific and philosophical issues we are raising. 25 This is will be a very difficult task but for the sake of our children it must be done.
Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859, back cover http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~syverson/worldsfair/exhibits/hall2/lindsay/page1.htm Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859, Chapter 3 http://www.public.coe.edu/departments/Biology/darwin_bio.html From Darwin to Hitler, Richard Weikart, page 73 Summa of the Summa, Edited by Peter Kreeft, pages 65-69 Debating Design, Edited by William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse, page 353 Uncommon Dissent, William A. Dembski, page 141 http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=179073 Home Alone in the Universe, Fred Heeren, page 40 The 12th Planet, Zecharia Sitchin, page vii The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene, page 366 Origin of the Human Species, Dennis Bonnette, page 117 St. Petersburg Times, August 29, 2006, Intelligent Design Should be in School Curriculum The Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights, Amendment I
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/galileoaccount.html http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/evolut.htm http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/Epperso.htm http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/edwards.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District The 12th Planet, Zecharia Sitchin, page vii
Phillip E. Johnson, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, Sept. 2006, Vol. 19, Issue 7, page 12-13