Letter: Schools need to teach intelligent design theory

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  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Nov. 14, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    To "Maudine " so you have not read the bible and compared it to the evolutionary theory.

    You are commenting on something without reading or doing any research. Why should I consider anything you have stated?

    You are also wrong about the Law of Gravity being a theory at the same time. The law of gravity includes an equation that yields consistent predictable results. The Law of Gravity explains the orbit of satellites, moons, planets, suns, and galaxies. The Law of Gravity does not change. A theory changes. That simple difference is HUGE.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 12:32 p.m.

    @ Redshirt: The Bible is not science - it is religion. You may believe in a designer, but there is no scientific proof for one.

    And yes, evolution can and has been tested.

    Gravity is both a theory and a law. In science a law is a subdivision of a theory. The law of gravity tells us dropped things fall. The theory of gravity explains interactions between planets and stars and the solar system and galaxies and the universe.

    Trying to misdirect by using terms incorrectly highlights the flaws of your argument.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Nov. 14, 2017 7:19 a.m.

    I don't think the evolutionists here have bothered to read the Bible. If they had, they would see that the Biblical account of the Earth's creation MIRRORS evolution. The only difference between intelligent design and evolution is who is controlling the same mechanism. Is it a completely random event or is it influenced by a being of greater intelligence?

    To "RanchHand" you can't test evolution either., so according to your standards it should't be taught in school.

    To "Ultra Bob" but what is a life form failure? If it grew to be, then the conditions at that time were favorable to its existence. A life form failure only shows us that the Earth's environment has been changing.

    To "unrepentant progressive" if Darwin's thoery is so factual, why is it still a theory? Why isn't it a law, like the law of gravity?

  • GrandpaScott Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 12:13 a.m.

    pragmatistferlife, Looks like Merriam-Webster disagrees with you.

    Information -
    the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence
    2b the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (such as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects
    (merriam-webster.com/ dictionary/ information)

    If the order of the nucleotide bases in DNA were determined exclusively by chemical and physical laws, then the genome of all organisms would by definition, be identical. In that case, you couldn't have evolution, diverse species, or even the slightest difference between you and any other human.

  • Kally Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 2:10 p.m.

    In 1802, William Paley wrote Natural Theology, in which the watchmaker analogy was made famous (it was used previously by other philosophers).

    Paley's description of the analogy is itself an argument against the analogy: He begins by talking about stumbling against a rock and states how he would be unable to say how the rock had gotten there and that for all he knew the rock could have been there forever; and based on his knowledge there would be no proof to the contrary. If, however, he found a watch, he would know that, since it is an artificial object, it could not have been there forever and someone would have had to drop it there and this someone would have either needed to make the watch or get it from someone who had.

    This analogy, in its very telling, differentiates between natural objects and artificial objects.

    Science tells us about the natural world, and how natural objects occur - no designer or creator is needed. This is observably not true for artificial objects. Explanations for artificial objects are not explanations for natural objects.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 12:48 p.m.

    @ GrandpaScott: Contrary to your claim and the claims in the original letter, there are no scientific tests, and therefore no scientific proof, for intelligent design.

    Your inability to accept scientific data does not mean that data does not exist or is wrong.

    Evolution is supported by scientific data and testing. We understand the processes by which it occurs. There are no missing links nor is there “irreducible complexity.”

    While many who support intelligent design claim to have performed tests, these tests do not show what they claim to show and they are not generally applicable (they apply only to that particular circumstance).

    There is no proof for intelligent design just as there is no proof for turtles all the way down. These are not science and do not belong in science class.

  • Argos Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    Intelligent design was conceived by a born-again Christian viewpoint (and now hyper-LDS) who hide their intent by saying it doesn't reference god as the source. This deception denies the repeated admonitions in the Bible not to lie.

    In Utah, there are LDS seminaries and institutes next to every public middle and high school where students can learn about "intelligent design the LDS way." It is enough!

    The constitution allows the freedom of religious choice, including not choosing religion. This is a religious agenda disguised as a science debate.

    Currently, the Utah Board of Education is debating this issue but Lisa Cummins (a homeschooler), Scott Neilson, Michelle Boulter, and Alisa Ellis are pushing intelligent design and stopping progress in our science curriculum by ignoring pleas from science educators. They want "parental/local" control of education which is code for LDS controlled education. They have no shame in pushing their self righteous, "I know what God wants" religious agenda.

    No Utah university, including BYU supports intelligent design. This is not about "science," it is about religious control and access to power through religious bigotry.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 13, 2017 11:15 a.m.

    Grandpa.."Modern biology relies on an understanding of the information encoded in DNA, and how that information correlates to biological function."

    No it doesn't. The information idea is a metaphor (a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.).

    It's a way of understanding the chemical and physical reactions that take place.

    Here..if I have a pan of water that boils at a given temperature..always, then I add two table spoons of salt. Now it boils at a different temperature..always. I have a completely different chemical reaction. Is the salt "information" to the water, or just an agent that causes it act differently?

    If I were talking to a child, it would be reasonable to say that the salt "tells" the water to react differently than normal, when in fact it doesn't "tell" the water anything.

    That's the story of the "information" metaphor. Look it up. It's all over both technical, and popular science literature.

  • 1st avenue New York, NY
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:15 a.m.

    intelligent design can no more be a "known cause," then a fluffy red bunny since neither is observable or measurable. it fails to meet primary expectations for a hypothesis.

  • Dmorgan Herriman, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 8:49 a.m.

    @ GrandpaScott: You said, " In this case, there is only one known cause capable of generating prescriptive information, and that is an intelligent mind."

    How do you KNOW this? Where are your citations of peer reviewed scientific studies that verify that alleged cause? My perception is that this is the classic "God of the gaps" argument. That is a pretty tenuous position to base your "knowledge" on. Regarding intelligent design you state, "But for now, it’s the only viable theory." Intelligent design is a hypothesis at best. It doesn't meet the criteria of a scientific theory by any objective measure.

  • GrandpaScott Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 2:57 a.m.

    No information in RNA or DNA, seriously? Try explaining that to a biologist. Modern biology relies on an understanding of the information encoded in DNA, and how that information correlates to biological function.

    @1st avenue
    The scientific methods used to evaluate Intelligent Design are the same as those for Evolution. It is the same approach used by all of the historical sciences including paleontology, archaeology, geology, and even forensics. Because the historical events that they attempt to understand by definition cannot be reproduced, they use methods appropriate to these branches of science, just as Darwin did. In fact another of Darwin’s major contributions was his clarification of this approach.

    Scientists look to causes that are known to be capable of explaining the event being studied. A hypothesis is falsified when it is shown to not be capable of causation. In this case, there is only one known cause capable of generating prescriptive information, and that is an intelligent mind. Does that prove ID? No, of course not. But for now, it’s the only viable theory. That's testable, falsifiable science that may or may not have religious implications.

  • bernand0 Spokane, WA
    Nov. 12, 2017 10:32 p.m.

    As a science teacher should I teach about the Native American creation story of the hummingbirds creating the stars, or the Egyptian Creation Story that life started with a God spewing semen from his mouth, and it landing like rain on the valley creating all life.

    I have my own faith, I don't want anyone teaching my kids/students what their faith is. Any type of non-evidence based science teaching should never be allowed. When it comes to evolution, I present the evidence and guide students in their OWN understanding. That is what the new sEED standards outline. Obviously the author has not read the revised standards. There is nothing new that was not previously taught in the past standards. The way a teacher is supposed to teach is the biggest difference.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Nov. 12, 2017 10:03 p.m.

    I taught high school biology which included discussions of organic evolution and natural selection. I told them it was a theory, not a fact, but that natural selection was logical and there was a lot of evidence to support it. I wasn't dogmatic but I thought that any educated person should understand what natural selection is. It wasn't unusual for students to bring up something their seminary teacher had said (Fossils were put there by the devil to deceive man) which made them just look silly. Usually, I would just tell them that there are different opinions and they will have to sort things out for themselves. Occasionally, if the setting was right, I would tell them that President McKay said that the LDS church has no position on evolution.

    @ unrepentant progressive -

    "Darwin's theory has yet to be disproven." Explain the Cambrian explosion. Darwin himself didn't have an answer for it.

    Some people look at the complexity of life and conclude that it just couldn't have happened without something creating it. Isn't intelligent design is a reasonable possible explanation?

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Nov. 12, 2017 4:42 p.m.

    "It is based on science and can only be used to imply the possibility of divine intervention, so there are no religion or state issues with it."

    Mr. Baxter,

    I'd strongly suggest you read the ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. In that case Judge Jones stated that:

    "To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect," Judge Jones wrote. "However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions."

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Nov. 12, 2017 12:58 p.m.

    Science classes address the physical processes by which things happen. Intelligent design theory goes in a totally different direction -- postulating about whether (or by whom) the physical processes were made to happen. These are two totally different arenas of discussion. It's best to leave each to it's own arena of study -- the hard sciences to the world of science (since there is clear and overt evidence that physical effects happen) and the "who made it happen" (intelligent design) to the world of philosophy (since there is no clear or overt evidence that anyone made anything happen).

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Nov. 12, 2017 12:45 p.m.

    @ No one: Very few science teachers teach that there is or is not a God, gods, Goddess, or goddesses - they especially don’t teach that science proves such a thing because the very nature of science prohibits the proof of a negative.

    @ GrandpaScott: So you feel evolution is not fully explained by science and therefore think we need to throw in a completely unscientific claim to fill in the blanks? No - that is not how science works.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 12, 2017 10:46 a.m.

    "teaching intelligent design is nothing more than a brief acknowledgement that scientific theories do not preclude the possibility that intelligent life drives nature."

    Basically your wrong. The fact that science explains nature without the need for an outside influence "precludes" the need for an outside force.

    Scientific theories (based on mathematical models) include unknown outside sources all the time. Evolution isn't one of them, because it isn't necessary.

    Evolution is based on chemistry and physics and we know how they work together.

    Where did they come from is basically not germane to the argument. They are they and we know how they work.

    If you insist on an explanation for origin..then explain to me who made God.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Nov. 12, 2017 10:05 a.m.

    @No One Of Consequence - West
    I have no problem with teaching the concept of intelligent design but it belongs proper context which is in a world religions class.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 12, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    Our scientists search the stars for signs of intelligent life yet they recoil at the notion that there may be an intelligence that seeded our earth with life.

    Yes, as Shaun in Sandy mentioned, teaching intelligent design is nothing more than a brief acknowledgement that scientific theories do not preclude the possibility that intelligent life drives nature. Instead we have teachers at all levels who insist on teaching that science proves that there is no God, which is an unprovable negative position.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 12, 2017 9:02 a.m.

    "The problem is that new species require enormous amounts of NEW genetic information, not just small tweaks to existing information"

    That is absolutely and fundamentally wrong Grandpa. There is no information in RNA, and DNA..none. It is all chemical reaction conforming to the laws of chemistry and physics. Therefore, evolution as understood now in combination with time does in fact explain species changes.

    It's the accumulation of new reactions building on themselves, while the old reactions remain the same or change in ways that destroys the original.

    There is no information passed on, only chemical reactions.

  • 1st avenue New York, NY
    Nov. 12, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    Even if your argument were true, A basic tenet of science has always been the absence of evidence of something “new gentic code” is not evidence of something else “intelligent design .” How exactly do you propose to even meet the basic requirements for “intelligent design” to be a scentific hypothesis? Until it can meet that basic threashold we cannot begin the work of repeated confirmation through experiment or observation for it to become a scientific theory. The concept of Intelligent design is by its very essessence untestable and unfalseable and will therefore always belong in the realm of religion not science.

  • GrandpaScott Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 12, 2017 12:59 a.m.

    So much misinformation. No one disputes that natural selection acting on random, heritable changes explains adaptation within a given species (microevolution). Darwin proposed that these changes, as they accumulate over time, account for the diversity of species we find today (macroevolution). What Darwin didn’t know was the exact mechanism responsible for heritable variation. That discovery came decades after his death.

    Now we know that this variation is caused by genetic mutations that result in subtle changes to the information in our genes. The problem is that new species require enormous amounts of NEW genetic information, not just small tweaks to existing information. Darwinian evolution can’t explain even very small amounts of NEW genetic information, let alone the amount required for a whole new species.

    Don’t believe me? Just look at all the competing explanations proposed by modern evolutionary biologists that try to explain away this problem (unsuccessfully I might add). The only thing that can generate NEW information is an intelligent mind. If you want to discount intelligent design you need to provide a better explanation for the origin of NEW genetic information.

  • cthulhu_fhtagn Seattle, WA
    Nov. 11, 2017 11:10 p.m.

    Is this supposed to be satire or something?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 11, 2017 12:48 p.m.

    I don't know how you would even teach intelligent design. It could literally be taught in five minutes, which would useless for a curriculum.

  • Dmorgan Herriman, UT
    Nov. 11, 2017 11:17 a.m.

    1st avenue is correct. There is no place for "intelligent design" in science classes.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 11, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    Back in high school I had a science teacher who as a person of faith felt there was no reason these arguments were mutually exclusive of each other. We know evolution at the micro level exist. We have seen how species have morphed over the millennia. We see how even man has changed with his environment - grown bigger over time as nutrition has become better. These things we know.

    Cross specie morphing hasn't been shown.... but that doesn't mean that God didn't leverage methods like the big bang to do his creation. I say lets teach what we know, then leave it to the learner to draw the lines together to match their belief system. Let teachers teach science, and churches teach things of faith. Smart people can come to the right conclusions....

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Nov. 11, 2017 9:53 a.m.

    Dear Mr. Baxter,
    I would like to tell you that I I have believed in Intelligent Design (ID) even before I knew the term existed. However, as an educator I cannot agree with you that ID should be taught in schools. Schools should teach what our human knowledge can prove or to what our knowledge direct us at this moment.

    I believe in evolution but I also believe in a First Mover . But that is my personal research and my personal path, I cannot teach it as nothing more than a personal opinion. Schools however, may discuss ID if a student brings up the topic.

    @ pragmatistferlife: You wrote:

    "Fact, there were many different near human beings that didn't make it. So for intelligent design to be valid, your God would have to be quite the experimenter, and yes made many mistakes. "
    I find your statement/conclusion very astute and enlighten. If we LDS believe that God once was as we are now and eternal progress, then we should be open to the possibility of experiments and errors. Again, my personal opinion.

  • 1st avenue New York, NY
    Nov. 11, 2017 8:34 a.m.

    Scientific theory is a coherent group of propositions formulated to explain a group of facts or phenomena in the natural world and repeatedly confirmed through experiment or observation.

    A scientific hypothesis is an idea that proposes a tentative explanation about a phenomenon or a narrow set of phenomena observed in the natural world. The two primary features of a scientific hypothesis are falsifiability and testability.

    Intelligent design fails to meet either of these standards and is therefore a belief system not science and should be taught in world religion classes not science classes.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Nov. 11, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    What science is intelligent design based on? What proof do you have and what testing can be done? Who/what is this “designer” and where did he/she/it come from?

    We have answers for evolution - do you have them for intelligent design?

    Nov. 11, 2017 8:10 a.m.

    Evolution is proven every time a child is born containing a mixture of the genetic code of two parents

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 11, 2017 7:19 a.m.

    So your original myth doesn't match up to reality so you denigrate actual facts in order to resurrect it.

    "Specific processes have to take place at specific times and places for life to be possible. Mistakes and natural selection can’t qualify for such processes.

    That statement is in fact religion because of the given in that statement. The given is I am here just like I'm suppose to be..in Gods image, therefore no mistakes could have been made in the process. You dismiss out of hand that you are here just like the process created you and there was no "suppose to be" in the process. Just an "as is".

    Fact, there were many different near human beings that didn't make it. So for intelligent design to be valid, your God would have to be quite the experimenter, and yes made many mistakes.

    Truth be told none of the previous beings were mistakes, just different iterations of the process.

    Intelligent design always starts with the end as a perfect conclusion and works backwards to justify it.

    Sorry nothing in the world works like that.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Nov. 11, 2017 6:30 a.m.


    Darwin's theory has yet to be disproven. In fact, with a tweek or two, it has been proven true for over 150 years. It is our best and proven scientific framework for understanding how life became what it is today on this planet. The fossil record is indisputable. That is evidence!

    Yet, intelligent design, which is really religion with a fig leaf of science, has no such record. Magical thinking does not constitute the scientific method, and certainly not proof of anything.

    Your assertion ("the theory of intelligent design cannot be proven right now, but neither can the theory of evolution be proven") is patently untrue and worthy of scorn.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Nov. 11, 2017 6:21 a.m.

    People who want to teach “intellegeny design” really need to learn the difference between a hypothesis and a theory. The lack of understanding of such basic scientific standards calls into question thier credibility before they even get out of the gates.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 11, 2017 6:09 a.m.

    It's all supernatural. As in the days of Noah. The corruption is coming. People get ready.

  • Emerger Magna, Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 10, 2017 9:36 p.m.

    To Ranch Hand: It is true that the theory of intelligent design cannot be proven right now, but neither can the theory of evolution be proven. Circumstantial evidence does not equate to "proven."

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 10, 2017 8:09 p.m.

    Any study of life forms would probably indicate that for every successful life form there were an uncountable number of life form failures. While that doesn't prove or disprove the theory of intelligent design, it does seem to indicate the normal process of evolution after the first successful life form. There may have been an uncountable number of failures to produce life.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 10, 2017 8:03 p.m.

    Nonsense. If you think kids should learn about it, it should be taught as philosophy. Teach them to seek knowledge, and to seek for themselves what is science and what is conjecture.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 10, 2017 5:43 p.m.

    "Intelligent design is self-evident in the creation of life..."

    -- Nonsense; you can't even test the "theory". Teach it in your churches and leave it out of schools.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 10, 2017 5:18 p.m.

    Intelligent design should be introduced as a possibility to actual science and facts. To put it on equal footing to history and reality would be disingenuous. Equating reality and fiction, regardless of feelings and faith, is still unproven fiction.