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Resolved: Intelligent Design Should Be Taught In Science Classes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,284 times Debate No: 58609
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
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First I will list some guidelines for this debate.

Please refrain from personal attacks/Ad Hominem.

Attacking grammar is NOT recommended.

Sources are recommended, and will be put in brackets following the statement from said source. Feel free to check sources, I will, and I hope you will as well.

Definitions will be vital to the debate. If a definition is not argued against when given the opportunity, it will stand for the rest of the debate.

However, if any logical fallacies are made, feel free to point them out. In a perfect world this will be a chance to sharpen our debating skills while learning more about the subject and its views at hand. Let's work hard to meet this goal!

Also a disclaimer, in order to avoid this debate becoming a simple Evolution vs. Creation debate. We shall assume both Evolution and Intelligent Design are just theories without evidence to fully prove nor fully deny... for now that is.

Now I shall go on the offensive.

First off a couple of definitions.

[UPDATE] Intelligent Design: Certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." [Agreed upon by both parties]

Public School: A school that gets money from and is controlled by a local government. []

Resolution Analysis:
What does the resolution mean? What would happen if this resolution came to pass? A public school would present all theories regarding the origin of the world around us. This includes Evolution, Intelligent Design, and many others. After each being presented in an unbiased manner, each student would decide for themselves which they believe to be true. Until each theory is completely proven to be false, it is fairly represented.

Possible Caveats: Nothing can be taught without some form of bias. But, a solution to this is to have multiple authors for the curriculum. Each with a bias toward their own belief. Not only would this give each belief a fair chance. It would give the student a window into what type of community each belief is generally made up of (eg: One belief has people who misrepresent evidence).

As is common knowledge, the Creation theory dominated the Scientific world for a long period of time. This created a one-sided community in which scientific discovery slowed down. It wasn"t until Darwin made the evolution theory popular. (Darwin did not actually come up with evolution, but simply re-ignited interest around it.) [] Regardless of wether you actually agree with evolution (I do not, but that is a different debate), you cannot deny the fact that it moved Geology and Biology forward. By pulling everyone"s attention toward those subjects. And while it did move science forward, the future is dangerous. In order to avoid the past in which Creation was the only legitimate form of origins, scientists deny anything that isn"t Evolution. Because of this we are rapidly moving toward, if not already arrived at, the exact same problem, we have simply replaced Creation with Evolution. Thus taking every effort to prevent the past from repeating, void. In order to keep this from happening, in order to save the Scientific realm from getting stifled once again, we must find balance. I believe this should be done in the manner which the resolution suggests.

I look forward to the upcoming debate, and hope you are as enthusiastic as I am regarding the subject matter!


Your argument can be summed up by stating: "we have simply replaced Creation with Evolution".

I counterargument saying: Creation has not been replaced with Evolution, there is plenty of schools of creation and just an example of those are churches. Nothing forbids the existence of schools of ID but these shall not be financed by the state (no more than a church may subsidized be for it's charitable services).

Let me state something I'm not sure if we agree on: our governments should be most secular. Having this in mind, all of a government's branches and reaches ought to be secular. I believe in this because the world knows from experience that globalization is incompatible with religious predilection and requires laïcité from the governing bodies. Otherwise, freedom of religion and free access to knowledge is not possible. This segregation must not, however, be absolute: whenever the integrity of the community is threatened the state's forces should intervene.

Well, I have not forgot that we're not talking about religion here. Thus, connecting the previous statements to this debate I have the following argument: regulating/formulating the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID) in an impartial way, covering its various aspects, is almost impossible without resulting in reference to religious creeds. Now, I am quite aware (and glad) that ID proponents have been veering away of the theistic path [] (whether I do or do not agree with the complete secularism of a congruent ID theory is for another time).

Another question you raised is "fair representation" of ID and other theories in public schools. For that, I'll talk a bit about my own experience at school:
I live and study in Portugal, a country where there's almost complete freedom of religion although it is not considered a secular state. In Secondary School (from 10th to 12th grades), for those who choose the “Technology and Science” branch there is a subject of “Biology and Geology”. Somewhere throughout the programme we study the origin of the universe and life. We talked about the history of the various theories and why they fell into disbelief. We started from Spontaneous Generation and went on until Neo-Darwinism. And yes, ID was referred but not taught. ID occupied no more than 10 min of a 90 min class. Those 10 min (maximum) is what I consider fair representation.

Why should it be like that?

First, ID theories are not scientific in the sense that they cannot have it’s inner workings questioned.
ID primarily interprets data, rather than accumulating it” [], this and the idea that ID is scientific because it doesn’t ignore data is incongruent with my concept of a scientific theory: “A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory” []
There is no plausible mechanism (other than the one step process of "creation") to evaluate so that it may help in future development of more science or technology, much less giving any predictive power. The teaching of ID in schools deviates the thinking from much more essential subjects towards ID - "the U.S. can ill afford to allow the intelligent design creationist movement to further erode the already low level of scientific literacy among the American public." []

"Intelligent design is modest in what it attributes to the designing intelligence responsible for the specified complexity in nature. For instance, design theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the competence of science and must be left to religion and philosophy."(1)
Well, this adds nothing to what is already taught and to the scientific method, so it doesn't help in this way. Besides, the theory is rendered unfalsifiable by saying that what it addresses is beyond any knowledgeable scope since "all [ID] implies is that life had an intelligent source"(2), which is unscientific and implies that ID would be forever taught in schools after your reasoning.

Secondly, ID supporters want more than just a fair share of the time in schools:
"To advance their anti-science and anti-secularism agenda, ID creationists at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture seek to use public schools «to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies,» «to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God,» and to «see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life» (Discovery Institute, 1998)." [] (this also reinforces the non-secularity of ID)

Also, if you accept global knowledge and globalization, what is taught should be representative of what the world thinks, restrictions should not be made to scientific knowledge so as to adapt to local acceptance.

For the reasons above, ID is less valuable than Evolution in pedagogic terms. As with all theories, “further research on the subject is needed” before it can get any further it's remains a subject for epistemological and metaphysical discussion.

(1) William Dembski, The Design Revolution, pg. 42 (InterVarsity Press, 2004)
(2) Of Pandas and People, pg. 161

Just one more thing: could you please clarify what you mean in the statement "It would give the student a window into what type of community each belief is generally made up of (eg: One belief has people who misrepresent evidence)."

Debate Round No. 1


I will first answer your last question. Each view would be taught by someone who held that view. Thus having a positive bias towards it. Accusations have been thrown around a lot lately that Creationists are manipulating evidence, or Evolutionists are manipulating evidence. If each view is taught by that person. We would either see this person manipulate the evidence (thus revealing the character of this person) or they would refrain from doing so for fear of the first outcome. So either we catch Creationists/Evolutionists in the act of cheating, or have a more honest look at the evidence. Just further providing evidence for why I believe my approach would be balanced.

With that I shall begin to address your arguments.Your summary was pretty spot on, actually. However, as you begin to counter argue it, you state that churches are a place of schooling for creation. Here is where you"re wrong. Churches are a place of religion. Kids do not go to church with the same mindset they would at a school. Furthermore, churches are not made for that, as I said, churches are a place of religion, not a place of learning. In order to keep this mistake from happening again, we must define ID and religion. We are not debating whether religion should be in schools. We are debating whether a conflicting theory of science should be as focused upon as the current favorite theory.

While religion can incorporate a theory of ID, ID is not limited to being a part of religion. You even bring up evidence supporting this. [] Not only is ID outside of religion. There are religions outside of any creation idea. [] You cannot subsitute ID for religion.

Of course, you know this, and then go on to argue why ID is not really a theory. I would suggest you drop this argument. For two reasons. The first is that you can"t argue this. "We shall assume both Evolution and Intelligent Design are... theories" [Above you, first round, before the definitions] This from my first round, this is a stipulation, a ground work rule I put in place in order to keep the debate flowing in a certain direction. This debate is not here to question whether ID is a theory, or if Evolution is a theory. That"s my first reason.

The second is that I can use that same argument against you. However, doing so would require a long explanation and is not worth it considering we aren"t supposed to debate that in the first place.

You also mention something about fair representation, regardless of the actual arguments, this is no longer part of the resolution, and should no longer be treated as such. This was changed by request from someone in the comments.

You next had an interesting quote on a certains persons essay. As I looked into the source I noticed an interesting mission statement on their site. "The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values." This reveals a negative bias towards ID. So of course negative article would be found on this site. I also looked into Barbara Forrest, the author of this essay. Needless to say, I was ashamed of some of the actions held by ID believers. This is a quote from her witness testimony: "On September 29, I noticed that DI had posted a transcript of an interview I had done"except that I hadn"t done it. The transcript was fake. Apparently meant (though not marked) as a parody, the organization whose self-described goal is "to support high quality scholarship [...] relevant to the question of evidence for intelligent design in nature" ridiculed me by, among other things, having fictitious radio host "Marvin Waldburger" refer to me as "Dr. Barking Forrest Ph.D." ...I could only shake my head at their doing something so jaw-droppingly stupid." This is of course horrible, these people in particular do not uphold ID in the honest manner they should. However, due to these type of actions against her. It would be fair to assume that she would have a strong negative bias towards ID regardless of actual evidence.

Furthermore, I find the quote itself particularly interesting. Allow me to show you. "the U.S. can ill afford to allow the intelligent design creationist movement to further erode the already low level of scientific literacy among the American public." So scientific literacy is already low in the U.S.? So then the current curriculum is not working? So, in theory, in order to change these results, you"d have to implement a different science curriculum? First of all, it seems like what we have is not working, second, Dr. Forrest has not seen my plan, her statement only attacks ID, whereas my plan would incorporate more than just that.

I"d also like to directly contest this quote with my personal experience. I myself am in the latter years of highschool. However, my curriculum has incorporated both ID and Evolution as possibilities. Instead of further corroding my "Scientific literacy" I am further able to understand and think for myself. When I compare myself to my public schooled friends I am shocked at just how different I am due to my education (I believe it to be in a positive manner).

Your next quote is basically summed up as "ID leaves morals and the like to religion." Sure, however, how does Evolution deal with morals? It does nothing, thus leaving the average person stuck with looking toward religion and/or philosophy to answer those questions. Those Evolution does nothing better than ID.

As for your argument about ID supporter wanting more than their fair share. Sure, some do, I don"t. You are not debating them, you are debating me, we are debating about their "Fair share", no more, no less.

Regarding your point on globalization, throughout the world, many views and opinions are held. Some of which are held forcefully. It is unclear what each country holds to be true, and globalizing any sort of theory would be a near impossibility. Seeing as many of your quotes deal with the American Education, I propose we deal with that.

And finally, "As with all theories, "further research on the subject is needed" before it can get any further it's remains a subject for epistemological and metaphysical discussion." This is a true statement, very true. I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, as established before, by stipulation, both Evolution and ID in this debate are theories. Thus this argument applies to both sides.

On the whole, I am very thankful for this debate we are having. I"m having tons of fun, and you, so far, are a wonderful debater. I have seen many bad debates on this site, so I am glad this is not one of them. Especially on a topic of this importance, the education of the next generation.


(I haven’t had the time to proof read this. It's a bit more than a draft though; please forgive me any incomplete references or sentences)

About the churches not being schools for creationism: I’m very sorry about this imprecision of mine, I didn’t mean to refer to churches as in the building/temple. I was thinking about churches as the institutions that may perform catechism (of course that there are homologues for other religions). I’m sorry for this ambiguity, I try hard not to let them through but sometimes it happens.

«We are not debating whether religion should be in schools. We are debating whether a conflicting theory of science should be as focused upon as the current favourite theory.»

As I said, I’m aware we’re not talking about religion. I also said (and maintain) that “the teaching of Intelligent ID (…) is almost impossible without resulting in reference to religious creeds”.

Yes, ID may be completely secular but, for it to be like that, is nothing but a complement of Evolution (where it describes better our reality). And a teacher could refer that by saying: «Evolution may explain this mechanism through the highly unlike odds of certain mutation occurring, ID better describes a cause for this because “it was designed to be like that”».

It’s this sentence: “it was designed to be like that”, so unsatisfying and so disappointing to the vast majority of scientists, which makes ID not suitable for a class. It’s empty of instructive/scientific meaning.

And I’ll put this on the table right now: if you want more than that sentence and a bit of explanation as why that doesn’t make a good theory as fair representation than you are going beyond Evolution, which you cannot since you’re trying to teach ID in parallel.
Evolution is a theory of how the world changed through time, ID includes this part but also covers the possibilities of how the world came to be. The diversity of ID theories is in that last part R10; how the world came to be R10; beyond that, ID is just “it was designed to be like that”.

Your sentence “There are religions outside of any creation idea.” Makes no sense to this discussion since ID is part of a group of creationist beliefs. I didn’t mention that it would be hard to talk about ID without talking about ALL religions, I mentioned ANY religion.

«[you] go on to argue why ID is not really a theory»

I never meant to pass the idea that ID is not a theory, I’m conscious that it is, by agreement. I think I was sufficiently clear when I said that “ID theories are not scientific”, I referred to ID as a theory. As unscientific (or not) as ID might be, I still consider it a theory so “no reason for you”.

I consider this point R10; scientific content of ID R10; of supreme relevance since we’re arguing about teaching of ID is science classes.

Now that I clarified this. I’d like to know how you may use the same argument R10; lack of scientific meaning/content R10; against me/Evolution. If after this you still think that such topic should not be discussed, I’d like to know why.

«fair representation (…) is no longer part of the resolution»

I agree that fair representation is not in question, I tripped over my own thoughts there. You want unbiased representation I want a weighted representation according to scientific relevance of each of the theories.

«It would be fair to assume that [Barbara Forrest] would have a strong negative bias towards ID regardless of actual evidence.»

I agree on this thought. As an undergraduate Chemistry student, I can only say that I’m also ashamed of some part of the community I’m already part of [ ].

«So scientific literacy is already low in the U.S.? So then the current curriculum is not working?»

Yes, scientific literacy in the US is low in some subject I know it from contacting with Scholars from the US on international conferences and other events on Chemistry. Looking at the general picture, it’s not so grim as B. Forrest might want us to perceive. [ ]
The problem seems to be more at the level of general scientific culture and lack of trust in science and certain theories. [ &

No, you cannot just deduct from the fact that there are problems with scientific literacy that the fault is the lack of ID and other theories being present in the schooling programmes. I’d like you to drop this line of reasoning. I reiterate my point about the evaluation of scientific content.

Coming back to your resolution:

«I am shocked at just how different I am due to my education»

Just how different are you?
(as I mentioned, ID was not taught to me, I knew about it and then I researched more on it due to my curiosity)
Most importantly: what new scientific concepts have you learned while being taught about ID?
What new scientific concepts could someone learn while being taught about “other theories”?

Just a detail: did you learn about ID in science classes and is your curriculum impartial/balanced/unbiased?

«…how does Evolution deal with morals? (…) nothing, thus leaving the average person stuck with looking toward religion and/or philosophy to answer those questions. (…) Evolution does nothing better than ID.»

YES, that why I put the quote up in the first place. I didn’t consider it a point in favour of Evolution. I was just exposing an attribute upon which one could not support ID nor any other theory to be worthy of being taught in science classes. I claimed that it “doesn’t help”, I didn’t say it’s worse. So you may forget this reason.

«You’re not debating them, you are debating me»


«It is unclear what each country holds to be true, and globalizing any sort of theory would be a near impossibility.»

I’m not saying we should globalize any sort of theory nor enforcing any kind of “truth”. However, science IS global. Every country with a tiny bit of scientific development as a bit to contribute and has a saying in the way science is made (thanks to you internet!). This happens, of course, within the limits of global fairness; then again, injustices and prejudices are everywhere R10; being slowly eliminated.
So yes, science teaching should also be globalised.
(this from a guy who doesn’t support globalisation in its totality)

«However, as established before, by stipulation, both Evolution and ID in this debate are theories. Thus this argument applies to both sides.»

Yes, I agreed to you that they’re both theories, and still retain that thought as any person is able to perceive from reading my arguments. Nevertheless, I didn’t agree R10; and won’t R10; to put ID, Evolution and other theories at the same level in terms of scientific tenor.
Each of those has been put to test in terms of predictive power and knowledge development capabilities. Furthermore, has I stated, those theories have different objects of analysis.

So, NO, that argument does not yapply to both sides. Evolution is beyond metaphysical discussion because the mechanisms suggested for it have physical meaning whilst ID has no process by which you can say “this happened through that”; ID has no physical consequences and there’s no Math upon which you may analyse it in parallel to Evolution.

«I’m having tons of fun, and you, so far, are a wonderful debater.»

The feeling is mutual.

Debate Round No. 2


GJCorban forfeited this round.


The Instigator showed its intention to forfeit the debate.
I, as the Contender, agreed to end the the debate here.

As the debate proceeds to voting, vote based on what you've read on previous rounds.
Debate Round No. 3


GJCorban forfeited this round.


JMPepperP forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


GJCorban forfeited this round.


JMPepperP forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JMPepperP 7 years ago
GJCorban: I understand your issue with school. Loved the debate. Just let it go for voting. Next time, try to make a debate not so long (4 or 5 rounds max) I think it may interest to more people.

Yours sincerely,
Posted by GJCorban 7 years ago
I'm you noticed, but I missed the last round. This is due to some personal circumstances. I am busy preparing for the next year of schooling for me. Unfortunately this means I cannot continue this debate with you. However I fully enjoyed it and would love to debate another time. Thus, due to these circumstances I must forfeit the debate.
Posted by JordanLD 7 years ago
Actually it is theories wich both have not been proven or disproven by the scientific community. However I understand what you mean about not commenting on weather or not they are or aren't religion It needed to be clarified that there was no agreement to beither being able to fully explain everything.
Posted by kw7319 7 years ago
Ok. I am sorry about that.

On a non contraversial note, I would like to complement both con and pro for good arguments.

This looks like it is going to be a good debate.
Posted by JMPepperP 7 years ago
Please, refrain from commenting on how Evolution is a religion or not that's not what's in question on this debate. Here we are considering Evolutionism and Creationism as theories that cannot fully explain the phenomena involved.
Posted by kw7319 7 years ago
I think that there should be fair representation, cause, both are religions. Evolution is a religion, just as Christianity is a religion.
Posted by JordanLD 7 years ago
Can you pleas explain what you mean by fair treatment. Evolution and ID are both theories that still to this day have not been either proven or disproven. Yet the public scool still teaches ID as a scientifically proven law and won't even talk about ID which holds as much technical water. Ib fact uf you even mebtion ID then you can be fired from your job. This is not right since both are theories and therefore scientifically hold the same ammount of weight. So please explain to me how that should be considered fair treatment..
Posted by Envisage 7 years ago
I am actually very familiar with the ID movement, and I am perfectly justified in my comments. I was making the point that even if evolution has zero evidence to support it (as per your debate resolution), it does not mean that intelligent design should be taught in schools, it only means that evolution is a bogus theory that should also not be taught.

Science is empirical based, so theories divorced of such should not be taught, evolution, relativity, ID, anything.

Which is why I agree with your resolution prima facie since ID should have fair treatment, and IS being given fair treatment.

If you want to debate me on intelligent design, with any resolution I will quickly accept it, I wanted tot make this debate but the resolution was very unclear, and we both agree with it except as believe it says 2 different things.
Posted by Aithlin 7 years ago
Okay, then.

Is the first round reserved for acceptance on my behalf, or do I begin arguing immediately?
Posted by GJCorban 7 years ago
Again I see no problem, I found the source of your definition and agree to it. I have changed the resolution as necessary, however it must be remembered that I am not claim ID replace any current theory, but is simply included among them.
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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