The Missouri Standard Science Act was recently brought to my attention and I’ve been making myself sick over it because it absolutely disgusts me. Several of Missouri congressmen, most of which are high school graduates (one with a B.A. in Business, and the other with a B.S. and an M.S in Physical Therapy) and none bearing any kind of “science” degree, want to establish this act that requires equal treatment be given in textbooks and presentation to intelligent design and evolution in the scientific theory of the origin of life in public elementary and secondary schools, as well as in introductory science courses in public higher education.
I think Jefferson said it best in his Wall of Separation Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
Learning about intelligent design is for Church. It requires a faith-based approach. Learning scientific theory is for school. It requires the scientific method, something that is despised (or at least should be) by the Church for reasons such as this article for example, or this one.
There are several things that are wrong with this bill, a few of which I will name here. In the new section 170.018, under part 2(3), they are defining a term “Biological Intelligent Design.” There are several parts in this section where they have several misuses of the word “imply” in a logical, scholarly setting. For example, in part (h) the writers believe “irreducible complexity of certain biological systems implies a completed design and construction at inception rather than step-by-step development.” What individuals that use an irreducible complexity argument fail to do EVERY time is to apply the same logic of irreducible complexity to the “intelligent designer” herself. What is it that makes this extremely complex being work? The irreducible complexity of the “intelligent designer” must imply yet a “more intelligent designer” if we are to adopt this logic. This continues ad infinitum.
When they come back with the idea that the “intelligent designer” has always existed, they fail to see that the same logic could have been applied at the previous setting, in the natural world. The universe has always existed (in one form or another).
A second thing that is wrong with this bill is the frequent use of statements like these two:
- There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism.
- There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth’s species from microscopic organisms.
The writers of this bill presume too much here. These mechanisms or experiments may not exist yet. However, I can safely say that there are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments that prove an intelligent designer of the first independent living organism or the development of earth’s species from microscopic organisms, nor will there ever be.
Although there are several more things wrong with this bill, I will stop with after this third thing. They define biological intelligent design as a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence. I’m sorry, but there is no way to test these hypotheses by inference. You are distorting the scientific method. You must already have the conclusion that there is an intelligent designer, and then most data collected by inference will be ignored. Only the data that may somehow obscurely indicate an intelligent designer will be paid heed. This has no place in an academic setting.
When individuals that are teaching science right now in high school and colleges were going to school, they were not trained in theology. They will be unqualified to teach this faith based material, especially give equal treatment to it. This is discrimination.
I implore all of you to do what it takes to kill this bill. If this bill ever does pass, I would encourage all teachers that have to cover intelligent design, to use sources like “Intelligent Design Made Mankind?” If we threaten to teach intelligent design like this, maybe they won’t be so eager to pass such a bill.