The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Intelligent Design should be taught in mandatory education in the appropriate science classrooms.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/13/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 756 times Debate No: 17896
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




I think the motion is quite clear, but I will explain it in more words. The Motion is that creatonism should be taught in science or biology classrooms, alongside evolution. The Pro may start his argument for creationism being taught in science lessons in the first round, if he wishes.


We teach evolution not in the sense of it being "true," it is a theory. I agree it is falsifiable, defended by science and experimentation but "truth," isn't the purpose of pedagogy.

Now I will make 3 arguments -

First, ONLY teaching what the scientific, religious, or any other community holds to be true, to a certain degree, entrenches "group think." The purpose of a school is not to DEFINE for the students what is the "correct" way of viewing the world, but rather to expose students to useful knowledge. Considering only a fraction of students will enter into a scientific field, it is as important to teach science as it is to teach politics, history, and religion. Religion has as much sway on global politics, media, and financial institutions as evolution.

Second, I will question what a "good theory" is. Just because a theory is capital T true doesn't mean we must follow it. ESPECIALLY in the case of education even if a theory is untrue, many times, pursuing it is worthwhile. As long as the theory teaches values conducive to society, is internally consistent, and holds up to the test of time, who cares if it is true or not? For example, evolution ultimately ends with us recognizing that there's no such thing as "conscious" choice. We have no ability to sway the world, it will unfold as it should. EVEN IF that is true, we shouldn't believe it to be true because that breeds laziness, fatalism, and irresponsibility.

Third, you are "con" on the side of Intelligent Design "should" be taught in mandatory education. This complicates how the resolution is worded, but making normative statements about intelligent design is the same as many of the reasons you will produce as to why teaching it is bad. If we shouldn't legislate or teach morality - then let the schools decide themselves. Saying they should NOT be taught in science classrooms is in itself exclusionary.
Debate Round No. 1


Alright, I will put up my side of the argument, and thank you for responding.

The reason why we should not teach evolution is appropriate science classrooms (appropriate meaning biology or science, I don't think anyone will argue we should teach evolution theory in quantum physics) is because Intelligent Design is not a theory, nor is it scientific. If it does not qualify as either a theory or a scientific statement, then it is irrelevant to be an option taught.

Firstly, we need to define evolution. Evolution is the theory of which natural selection and genetic mutation occurs simultaneously to cause speciation and diversification.[1] Natural selection is a proven fact (see Hunting Hounds[2], Greyhounds[3], Darwin's Finches[4], and all other forms, which are well documented. I shall give links in the comment section, due to excessive amount of sources). Genetic Mutation is fact (the most obvious example is the Lenski Experiment[5]). These are not points of contention, as disagreement with these is disagreement with the scientific method, meaning disagreement with inherent science, which makes science redundant. Evolution is not a psychological belief on morality, nor is it a belief of how life came to exist, nor how life began, nor any other red herring is true. These ideas evolved (pardon the pun) because of the threat onto contending ideas.

Now, Intelligent Design is not a theory nor scientific, therefore it is not something to be taught in a science classroom. Firstly, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory" ( Simply, it requires substantial evidence to change from a hypothesis to a theory. Heliocentrism is also a theory. To go from a theory to a Law, it requires a mathematical proof. Evolution cannot (or at least, has not) recieved mathematical proof of its ability to occur. Nor can the history of its occurrence be mathematically proven. There is, however, substantial evidence for its "occurrability". If genetic mutation occurs, and natural selection occurs, and this results in diversification of species, then evolution happens.

Intelligent Design has no scientific foundations. It is based on the unscientific method of "it's not observable, not predictable, and not repeatable, but it is true". It does not stand up to the scientific method (a method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses (, therefore it is not scientific. I would like my opponent to address this point, and say what is required for something to be "scientific" with some backing behind his idea. If he cannot meet this requirement, he cannot prove Intelligent Design is "scientific", therefore reducing to 0 the sensibility of its place in science, even if it is just a scientific classroom. I always asked people who believe this motion to be true (or equivalent), that if they could do an hour long lesson purely on Intelligent Design? Remembering the mention of "God" is irrelevant, not provable by the scientific works, nor is legal in America, nor is... you get the idea. Also, bearing in mind criticising another idea is also not proving a point, it just leaves with the idea that "someone (no idea what or who) creating something (again, no idea what or who) and that is how we have complicated life. Seems redundant, really.

So, as it is not scientific, nor is it a theory, I think that makes it redundant and unwanted for a science lesson.

I shall now address the points made by my opponent :

R1 - "ONLY teaching what the scientific, religious, or any other community holds to be true, to a certain degree, entrenches "group think."

I am not saying "not" to teach it, but I am saying that it is not something to be taught in a science classroom. The idea that science can be "changed" by religion is one of the major problems of the world. You state how religion has much sway, agreed, but religion is swayed as well. Science is not swayed by anything but science. Because the Pope does not believe in evolution, it doesn't mean that genetic mutation among humans no longer occurs!
Unfortunately, religion does now seem to have an impact, or at least, soon will. () That video is part 1 of a documentary called "A flock of dodos". The documentary is about the creationism/evolution "battle". In the documentary, it reveals to us that Intelligent Design is the new "buzzword". It is creationism, but not religious, so it holds more merit in science, but mostly more legal merit. Yes, it is a stunt used to allow Creationism in classrooms.

R2 -- Good Theories.

A good theory is one that stands with evidence and against scrutiny. You don't "follow" a theory, I am sorry. It either happens or doesn't. You also seem to come up with the idea that pursuing things that are wrong seems to be a good idea. May I have an example?

r3 -- I am not saying we shouldn't teach it at all -- I am saying we should not teach things that do not stand up to the scientific method in science classes. Theology goes in philosophy classes.


Before making any arguments – I would like to point out the framework of this round. In judging these debates I ask the judges who are reviewing to stick to what the debaters have said and to not substitute our positions for their own ideology.

Additionally I think it's time to pick apart the voting issues –

1. "Who had better conduct?" This is a direct appeal to ethos/pathos, but I think at least in debate forums a focus on logos is much more productive and conducive to educational discussions. Just because many people ARE swayed by ethos and pathos doesn't mean we should fall prey to similar shortcomings.

2. "Who had better spelling and grammar?" This shouldn't matter, if you can understand the debate, then judge the debate. Frankly this is just oppressive and exclusionary. As a first generation immigrant, writing this rebuttal is already such a challenge. Focusing on spelling in grammar just makes it much harder for debaters whose first language isn't English.

3. "Who made more convincing arguments?" I don't think this is external from "what do you think afterwards." So this shouldn't be a relevant voting issue.

4. "Who used the most reliable sources?" Again, this shouldn't be separate voting issue. Reliable sources should contribute to "convincing argument" which should contribute to "what you think."

THIS DEBATE IS OVER - he has a burden of rejoinder to answer my arguments as I present them, don't let him make any new arguments.

I will concede the argument that religion should be taught in theology classes and that it isn't a scientific "truth."
If I win the premise of what a "science" class is or the purpose of education, then I win this debate.

The purpose of a school isn't JUST to teach the "truth," but rather to teach what is good, what is best for students in the future. If this is true, then theology is at its least a social science class. His interpretation of science as biology or chemistry is exclusionary and doesn't encompass the humanities. That's totally unfair!

It is, in the end, theoritically a "science" class. That appropriate "science" classroom is social science (even history is to a degree science), not biology.

Who wins this debate? I think I do. In round 1 he says that it should be pretty straightforward. That means you should default to my interpretation of the resolution.
Additionally if you buy his interpretation of the resolution, then it's useless and not controversial enough for a debate. A very small minority actually believes that intelligent design is science proper, so if you agree with his interpretation,this debate shouldn't have happened in the first place.

NO NEW ARGUMENTS later in the debate against arguments I presented in round 1 - that would be utterly unfair.
Debate Round No. 2


My entire argument rested on the statement that Intelligent Design is not a scientific statement. I did not have the time or space to explain why it is not a historical idea either, due to the lack of character choice. I shall now go into an explanation why Intelligent Design is not deserving for its place among social sciences.

Firstly, I cannot percieve your argument is referring to some subjects, such as economics, and is referring to only History and Religion. Therefore, I will criticise its placement among these two subjects specifically.

Science is "The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." (

Now, the Social Sciences: Anthropology, economics, education, geography, law, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology. ( Liberal Arts encompass Humanities and the "Pure" arts (the 3 sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics). There are many sources that can be used as cross-reference, including wikipedia (which comes with its own citations as well), the Institute ( and wisegeek ( The statement that Philosophy or Religion is a social science is wrong.

As I previously stated, a science is something that is testable, predictable and observable. I can test how as the tax rates rise, riots increase. I can predict that riots take place as taxes increase. I can observe the rots when taxes increase. Now, cannot observe the universe forming from a figure. I cannot predict the universe forming from a figure with any good reason. Nor can I test the universe forming from a figure. This falls under the realm of historical testing. And, in the words of Bart Ehrman, a historian and NT scholar, "The canons of historical research are by their very nature restricted to what happens here on this earthly plane. They do not and cannot presuppose any set beliefs about the natural realm. I'm not saying this is good or bad. It's simply the way historical research works."

Now, is Intelligent Design historically accurate? Well, let us look at what we don't know about Intelligent Design:

The nature or even if there is a nature of the designer
What he actually created, other than life
When he did so
Where it started from
Why it happened
What happened before then

These are all Question that, not only cannot be answered scientifically, cannot be answered at all. I shall list some things that help prove something historically:

Primary evidence of the event taking place, which excludes other possibilities from taking place.
Comtemporary accounts
Enemies or neutral accounts of the event
Rational likelihood of the event
The person's own words on the subject

Not only is there none of this for the deity's creation of the Universe, it is impossible to retrieve evidence. So what my opponent is advocating is teaching something with no proof, evidence, or reason to believe is true. Inherently, wanting to teach something that is currently false.

Also, I am going to address some of the points my opponent said.

1 - Conduct is behaviour. If someone swears the entire debate, then they have lost conduct marks. Also goes for claiming victory on technicalities sprung from falseoods.

2 - Spelling and Grammar. If you can't make yourself clear and concise, then you've failed at your attempt to debate, plain and simple. If you're mother tongue is not English, just say so, then concessions can be made to alleviate for this problem.

3 - Who was more convincing. If you don't find this relevant, then I don't see why you are debating.

4 - Who used more reliable sources. If you've just BSed the entire way through the debate, and your opponent used sources but was clumsy, then this becomes extremely relevant. Also, it promotes people using sources, and double checking information, rather than making up what words mean. Just sayin'.

Yes, I do also believe the debate is over. It is Danth's/Parker's Law.'s_Law

"If you have to insist that you've won an Internet argument, you've probably lost badly. "

Thank you for attempting to debate.


scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained

: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

Your definition of science is one way of looking at it. My definition is another way.

The reason my definition is more predictable/better for THIS debate is that you'd be hard pressed to find on this forum or anywhere else someone who will actually defend that Intelligent Design is a SCIENCE class in the way you explained it. This is not a legitimate concern, this is not something people debate about.

The only way this debate even makes sense is if we debate it from my side - Intelligent Design, the study of it and where it cam from is a type of knowledge that can be explained logically (however unpersuasive that logic is). Thus it is a "science," just not the subset of "natural science."

As I joined this debate thinking that was the most predictable definition, then I think any judge MUST vote for the pro. Any other vote would be unfair and illegitimate.

Back to the voting issues

1. Conduct - I'm not saying swearing doesn't matter but why is that a separate consideration? Have you ever thought about this: going into every single debate saying absolutely nothing and then just sounding really good. And winning EVERY OTHER ballot other than "convinced?" I think that is a terrible way to "judge" debates.

2. Spelling and Grammar -
A. spelling/grammar does not equal "clear and concise"
B. You cares if you're unclear but are still clear enough to win the debate? Having a separate section for this just pushes those who are not comfortable with English out of the activity. It's not just a question of "just say so," they won't be here in the first place. That's extremely exclusionary.

3. Who was more convincing - I'm not saying I find this irrelevant, just that it is the ONLY consideration. However I think separating "convincing from "who do you thin won," doesn't make sense.

4. Reliable sources - if someone "bsed the entire way through the debate" didn't use sources, then they will just LOSE the debate. they don't need a separate section to tell them that. If, however, someone used no sources but pointed out the opponents logical inconsistencies, does that mean they should lose a point? Heck no.

My question for your last little "quote" thingy - do you not think you won this debate? This is fine...
Debate Round No. 3


Merriam-Webster -- "knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method"

Aristotle had a philosophical way to understanding "science", that is why he had a different idea of what it is to other at the time, for example, Plato. He was also referring to the scientific method in that statement.

"Aristotle's approach to science differed from Plato's. He agreed that the highest human faculty was reason, and its supreme activity was contemplation. However, in addition to studying what he called "first philosophy" - metaphysics and mathematics, the things Plato had worked on, Aristotle thought it also very important to study "second philosophy": the world around us, from physics and mechanics to biology. Perhaps being raised in the house of a physician had given him an interest in living things." ( Using the philosophical definition to what science is holds no merit. On top of this, a resounding majority of those in a purer scientific topic would, when pressed for a technical definition (as opposed to common usage, meaning a short quick definition, not entirely accurate but easy to remember), would use the phrase (or equivalent of) "scientific method" in their statement.

"Science consists simply of the formulation and testing of hypotheses based on observational evidence; experiments are important where applicable, but their function is merely to simplify observation by imposing controlled conditions."
-- Robert H. Dott, Jr., and Henry L. Batten

1. the systematic observation of natural events and conditions in order to discover facts about them and to formulate laws and principles based on these facts. 2. the organized body of knowledge that is derived from such observations and that can be verified or tested by further investigation. 3. any specific branch of this general body of knowledge, such as biology, physics, geology, or astronomy.
-- Academic Press Dictionary of Science & Technology

"Science is both a body of knowledge and the process for building that knowledge." And NOT " ... a collection of facts."
-- Berkely education institute

Now, you stated that "philosophy" as a science. I would like an elaboration, with citation. Also, you failed to address any of my points due to the idea that "you'd be hard pressed to find on this forum or anywhere else someone who will actually defend that Intelligent Design is a SCIENCE class in the way you explained it. This is not a legitimate concern, this is not something people debate about."

OK, if you did not know, this is a topic that is brought up repeatedly in American Law and education, whether it should be taught. The video reference to "A flock of Dodos" shows this, you but play the first few minutes. 40 seconds in refers to the situation that took place in Kansas, which makes me feel as if you didn't even bother to even skim through the citations.

Finally, the reference to Danth's law is simple, I think : If you are going out of your way to claim victory in as many words, and literally start insisting that you've won, I think that is just bad conduct, and, personally, makes you sound a bit whiny. No offence.

At your 4 points though:

"You will get a mark out of 40 for matter, 40 for manner and 20 for method" is the general marking method in debates ( The manner would be equal to conduct. Yes, if you don't say anything of substance, yet manage to convince a crowd, then you should get a point, if not win the debate in itself, no matter how you do it. Of course, in conduct/manner, you get down-marked for insults, and fallacies, and tone.

Point two refers to method. If you spell technical terms correctly, clearly give across your issues well, and give grammatically correct statements, it makes it easier for everyone to read; specifically to non-native speakers, as these small errors can make people think you are using a word they've never heard before (I've been in that situation). Also, saying things as "you cares" lowers general netiquette, as well as formality and civility.

Point 3 -- I agree that point 3 comes down to the most important, but not the "only". In fact, it contradicts your point made in your first problem : If you convince everyone else, but you don't have any substance, then it is a pointless for an educational "debate", and rather just a test of ability to convince others. If you do not understand the difference, I will happily discuss the philosophy behind "debating". In fact, the idea that you brought across makes it seem like debating is but an argument with rules.

Point 4 -- If I make a claim that I can float, I need citation, yes? If I cite it with a link to my blog, which says me saying I can float, does this mean it's true? You seem very focused also about achieving "points", and the meaning behind this, the motive, seems rather plain: you don't want to provide any reliable sources, because either a) you can't find them or b) you are not bothering to. If it is either, then the debate instantly swings into the opposition's favour.

And finally, at your last statement, I do not state my opinion out loud, and state is as an absolute fact, as you seemed to have. Nor am I going to insist it, as you may still refute some of what I have said. However, as time drags on, i feel this is unlikely, as you have just dug a deeper whole, especially with statements such as "THIS DEBATE IS OVER" and "NO NEW ARGUMENTS later in the debate against arguments I presented in round 1 - that would be utterly unfair.", as well as the fact that you seemed to have been misinformed of what a framework is (you seem to give across the idea only an affirmer can state the framework, and I am confused where this idea came from: watch a TOC debate or a LD debate, and tell me whether there is only 1 framework. Both sides always posit a framework. If you do not, you can only refute, deny, and ignore, meaning you cannot bring up any flaws, as that would be breaking the somewhat unheard of rule that is " NO NEW ARGUMENTS later in the debate against arguments I presented in round 1". Again, explains the flaw in this idea).


willyxiao forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


willyxiao forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF