Teaching Origins Science In Public Schools
Memorandum & Opinion
John H. Calvert, J.D.
William S. Harris, Ph.D.
Published by Intelligent Design network, inc
Copyright © 2001 by Intelligent Design network, inc..
Subject: Legal Opinion Regarding the Teaching of Origins Science in Public Schools
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The teaching of origins science in public schools involves constitutional as well as practical issues. Because this is of primary concern to persons interested in the intelligent design movement we requested and obtained the attached legal opinion that covers these issues in depth.
The author of the opinion, John H. Calvert. Esq., has engaged in the private practice of law for the past thirty-two years after having initially been trained as a geologist. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association, the American Bar Association and an associate member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Mr. Calvert is a retired member of Lathrop & Gage L.C. and a Managing Director of IDnet. Mr. Calvert has lectured and provided advice to school boards, school administrators, science teachers and the public about the constitutionality of censoring the evidence of design.
William S. Harris, PhD, has reviewed and endorsed the scientific and other non-legal matters contained in the opinion. Dr. Harris, received an undergraduate degree from Hanover College in Chemistry and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. He has been conducting scientific research for the last 20 years and has published over 70 scientific papers. Dr. Harris currently holds an endowed Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Biology and is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. In addition, he serves as the Director of the Lipoprotein Research Laboratory at Saint Luke's Hospital.
Hopefully, you will find the information in this opinion helpful as you develop programs for teaching origins science in a way that will enhance science education in a constitutionally neutral way and that will be pleasing to teachers, students and their parents.
I remind you that the attached opinion is one that has been given to IDnet and may not be relied upon by others. If you would like to have a similar opinion addressed to your specific circumstances, we suggest that you contact Mr. Calvert.
Intelligent Design network, inc.
s/William S. Harris
William S. Harris, Ph.D.
cc: John H. Calvert
Intelligent Design network, inc.
460 Lake Shore
Drive West 913-268-3778
Intelligent Design network,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You have requested my opinion as to how public schools may develop science curriculum regarding the teaching of biological origins (the origin of life and the origin of the diversity of life) in a way that is consistent with the Constitution of the United States. I will refer to this area of science as "origins science."
Fundamentally, there are two competing scientific hypotheses addressing the cause of life and its diversity. One hypothesis is that all phenomena, including living systems, result only from chance and necessity (natural law) and not by design. This is the Naturalistic Hypothesis. The other hypothesis is that life and its diversity result from a combination of chance, necessity and design. This is the Design Hypothesis.
One question which you have asked me to address is:
Is it legal for a school district to permit a science teacher to show students scientific evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis for the purpose of enhancing science education?
In my opinion, the answer is yes.
You have also asked me to address a second question. This question is perhaps the more important of the two questions. It is:
Is it legal for a school district to prohibit or censor science teachers from showing evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis and thereby promote only the evidence which supports the competing Naturalistic Hypothesis?
In my opinion, the answer is no. If the Design Hypothesis is censored so that only the Naturalistic Hypothesis is taught, then the effect of this practice will be to indoctrinate students in Naturalism.
Naturalism is "the doctrine that cause-and-effect laws (as of physics and chemistry) are adequate to account for all phenomena and that teleological(1) [design] conceptions of nature are invalid" (Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 1993). Naturalism is a philosophy and not a proven scientific theory or fact.(2)
A summary of this letter immediately follows the table of contents.
My opinions are based on the matters explained in the balance of this letter and are subject to any existing science standards that may apply to any particular school district that may conflict with or otherwise affect my opinions. I would be happy to review any such standards with the view to either removing this exception to my opinions or to provide further advice concerning the implementation of the suggestions contained in this letter.
I am licensed to practice within the State of Missouri and express no opinion on the laws of any jurisdiction other than the laws of the State of Missouri and the laws of the United States. For that reason, with respect to any other jurisdiction, I encourage you to consult with counsel licensed to practice in that jurisdiction to confirm the conclusions expressed in this letter to the extent that they may be affected by the laws of that jurisdiction and to otherwise advise you on the matter. I would be pleased to discuss my opinions with that counsel more fully and to provide additional information and advice.
Intelligent Design network, inc.
1. Summary .................................................................................................................... 4
Policy Statement for Teaching About Origins....................................................... Appendix A
Notes................................................................................................................. Appendix B
Nature of Origins Science. Origins science and the teaching of origins science demands scrupulous objectivity. This is because it is a historical rather than an empirical science and because it has unavoidable religious implications. The Design Hypothesis supports theistic beliefs while the Naturalistic Hypothesis supports atheistic beliefs. Accordingly, when government seeks to teach origins science it enters a religious arena where it is constitutionally obligated to remain neutral. In my opinion, the best way to achieve constitutional neutrality is to teach the subject with scrupulous objectivity and without religious or philosophic bias.
The Design Hypothesis is supported by abundant evidence. The evidence is easily observed and can be empirically detected using the scientific method and logical analysis. The evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis directly contradicts and otherwise challenges the validity of the Naturalistic Hypothesis, including one of its principal theories that the diversity of life results from Darwinian mechanisms such as natural selection.
Teaching the Evidence is Necessary for Good Science Education and is Not Religion. It is perfectly permissible for a teacher to show the evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis to enhance the effectiveness of education regarding origins science. The Design Hypothesis is not a religion and the evidence and inferences which support it are not religion. The Design Hypothesis does not meet any dictionary or legal definition of religion. I am not aware of any decided case that has held that the Design Hypothesis is a religion or that it is unconstitutional or illegal to show the evidence which supports it in a science class in a public school. The cases which have proscribed the teaching of "creation science" are not relevant to the teaching of evidence that supports the Design Hypothesis. Creation science is science which seeks to prove origins accounts found in the book of Genesis. The Design Hypothesis does not seek to prove anything about any religion or religious text. The fact that the Design Hypothesis is consistent with and supportive of theism does not legally or otherwise render that Hypothesis a religion. In the same manner, the fact that the Naturalistic Hypothesis is consistent with and supportive of atheism does not legally or otherwise render that Hypothesis constitutionally anti-religious. The constitutional problem arises when government censors one hypothesis and thereby provides a monopoly to the religious or anti-religious implications of the competing hypothesis.
The Design Hypothesis is Scientific. Design detection, the evidence of design and logical inferences of design drawn from that evidence fall within traditional definitions of science. It is not logical or scientific to limit scientific explanation to only "natural explanations" in order to censor inquiry, evidence and inference that supports the design hypothesis. Limiting science to only natural explanations of what we observe is inconsistent with traditional definitions of science and criteria provided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Censoring the evidence is also inconsistent with logic, the scientific method, the need of society to know about the evidence and the need of science to provide trustworthy and reliable explanations. The censorship that is presently being practiced results in misinformation and indoctrination.
Censorship Will Result in Violations of the First Amendment. Censorship by a school of the evidence of design in teaching origins science so that only natural explanations may be provided will result in violations of the neutrality required by the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. This is because censorship of the Design Hypothesis while showing only the evidence which supports the Naturalistic Hypothesis will necessarily indoctrinate students in Naturalism. This strategy has no reasonable secular purpose. It will impermissibly promote atheistic beliefs while denigrating theistic beliefs contrary to the requirement that government remain neutral with regard to religion. It will also involve government in an excessive entanglement with religion. The censorship will also result in viewpoint discrimination prohibited by the Speech Clause of the Constitution. The only effective and legal way to promote good origins science is to permit teachers to show the evidence which supports both hypotheses.
Adopt a No-Censorship Policy. For all of the foregoing reasons and for those more particularly explained below, I suggest that schools adopt the attached no-censorship policy statement that attempts to enhance science education regarding origins. I believe implementation of this policy should be helpful to teachers and students, pleasing to parents and consistent with the legal requirements for this sensitive subject.
Other Helpful Materials. A more detailed analysis of a number of the issues covered in this opinion may be found in a briefing book for School Boards authored by David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer and Mark E. DeForrest, "Intelligent Design In Public School Science Curricula," (Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 1999)]. The book is published on the Internet at: http://law.gonzaga.edu/people/dewolf/fte2.htm. A related Law Review article by the same authors may be found at "Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science or Religion or Speech, 2000 Utah Law Review 39 (February 9, 2001).
General. The Design and Naturalistic hypotheses derive from an explanatory concept that an event may have only one of three causes. The three causes are chance, necessity and design. Patterns of events are arranged by one or a combination of two or more of the three causes. The Naturalistic hypothesis assumes that only chance and necessity have operated to arrange the patterns of events that generate life and the diversity of life. The Design Hypothesis postulates that all three causes may be involved.
Events Caused by Design. A designed event is one that is caused to occur by a mind or some form of intelligence. This document consists of a pattern of many events (letters, numbers, characters and punctuation marks) produced and arranged by my mind. The nest of a bird consists of a pattern of events arranged by the mind of a bird. Nature is filled with minds that arrange events by intent into known designs. The Design Hypothesis does not seek to attribute any design to that of a supernatural designer or God. For that matter, any design that is detected could be a product of an alien mind that is currently being searched for by the SETI program (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence - See note 9).
Events Caused by Necessity - Law. Events and patterns of events can also be arranged by "necessity." A necessary event is one that is required to happen due to the laws of chemistry and physics. A salt crystal is an example of a pattern of events arranged only by chance and necessity without any direct input from a mind. When a solution of sodium and chlorine ions becomes supersaturated, the positively charged sodium ions will be attracted to the negatively charged chlorine ions to form a very regular three dimensional crystal lattice in the form of a cube. The mineral that is produced is called halite. A block of sandstone is also a pattern of events arranged by necessity. The size of the grains found in the rock will vary with the strength of the current in which the grains were deposited. In this case the pattern reflects the operation of the law of gravity in an aquatic environment.
Events Caused by Chance. Events can also occur by chance. A chance event is one that (a) can not be predicted, and (b) is not controlled by intent or necessity/law. We all know what chance events are if we have gone to a casino. Assume I have a bag of 26 scrabble pieces, each of which bears a different letter of the alphabet. What are my chances of spelling the word "DESIGN" by blindly putting my hand in the bag and pulling out the correct letters in the correct sequence (assuming that I put each piece back after I have noted the letter pulled)? The chance of pulling the D is 1/26, the chance of pulling D and E in that sequence is 1/26 x 1/26 or 1/676, etc. Thus the chance of spelling DESIGN in sequence is 1/26x1/26x1/26x1/26x1/26x1/26 = 1/308,915,776. Thus, as the complexity of the pattern increases, the probability of its occurrence by chance decreases exponentially.
The Naturalistic Hypothesis has considerable difficulty in explaining the origin of the universe (3) and the origin of laws and constants.(4) It also has had no success in explaining the origin of life.(5) However, once a replicating first cell is established, there is some evidence that the diversity of life could naturally arise by Darwinian evolution. The Darwinian mechanism consists of (a) random mutations in (b) replicating populations that are affected by (c) environmental pressures in order to yield hypothesized increased cellular complexity and sophistication. When coupled with an assumed concept called "the principle of biological continuity,"(6) this hypothesis claims that all living things derive from a very large number of gradually accumulated "adaptations" to the descendants of a single common ancestral cell that somehow sprang into existence in a "primordial soup" of chemicals billions of years ago.
The Naturalistic Hypothesis regarding the diversity of life is supported by evidence showing that natural selection may be effective to produce change at the species level, by a fossil record which shows increased complexity in living systems over time and by evidence of enormous amounts of time for natural selection to operate. Science textbooks typically refer to other evidences of Darwinian evolution at work. The important thing to note is that Darwinian evolution has not been proved. This is because it attempts to explain past events that have occurred millions and billions of years ago. These events can not be observed, the fossil record is incomplete in very important respects, and the events can not be duplicated by experiment. Much of the evidence that is claimed to support Darwinian evolution is also consistent with the design hypothesis.(7) As Harvard evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr has recently noted, evolutionary biology is a historical rather than an empirical science.(8)
The competing hypothesis is that chance and necessity may be aided by the third of the only three possible causes - design. This hypothesis postulates that life and the diversity of life may be designed - may be the product of a mind or some sort of intelligence. This is the "Design Hypothesis." The design hypothesis derives from observations of highly complex natural systems which appear to have purpose or meaning. Since purpose results only by design, the observer intuitively infers design upon observing complex natural systems that have apparent purpose such as the miracle of birth or the structure of proteins - the building blocks of life.
A mind is an exceedingly powerful means for the arrangement of events. It is the aspect of an information processing system that perceives, thinks, reasons, decides and directs action towards a target or object. By contrast, a natural mechanism, driven only by chance and necessity, such as natural selection, can not perceive, think, reason or decide and form a target or goal. It is a mechanism that, by definition, can not create purpose. As mentioned above, minds occur with abundance in nature. They are also postulated by scientists to exist outside our world and our range of observation. The search for extraterrestrial minds is being conducted by scientists based at the University of California at Berkeley.(9)
Designs are empirically detectable in nature and particularly in living systems. One can examine a pattern of events and reliably infer whether the events have been arranged by intent through the use of a mind or whether the pattern is more likely the result of only chance and necessity. An inference that something is designed is not a philosophy or a religion. The conclusion does not depend on religious texts or scriptures nor does it depend on philosophical assumptions. It is merely an inference based on observations and logical analysis of patterns of events that occur in nature, consistent with the scientific method.
Design detection involves three steps.
First: Examine a pattern of events to determine whether it carries a message or has some discernable function, structure or purpose - whether it reflects "specified complexity."
Second: Rule out Necessity as a cause of the pattern.
Third: Rule out Chance as a cause of the pattern.
If you find a pattern that reflects function, structure or purpose and you conclude that it is not likely that it resulted from chance or necessity, then you should be able to reasonably infer that the pattern was designed. - i.e, the product of some mind. This method of design detection is outlined in considerable detail by William A. Dembski who holds Ph.Ds. in mathematics and philosophy in the "The Design Inference."(10)
Step 1 - Finding Purpose. Lets look at the first step - determining whether the pattern reflects "specified complexity." Although this may be an oversimplification of the detailed description in "The Design Inference," generally specified complexity exists when the pattern conveys a message, consists of a direction or performs some function that is independent of the function of each of the events that make up the pattern. Specified complexity reflects an ordering of events by intention. Once function, structure or purpose is observed in a pattern of events, then we have evidence of intention that provides support for a design inference.
For example, assume that the pattern of events to be analyzed is the sequence of nucleotide bases that appear in the DNA sequence of the postulated first cell. Current science textbooks suggest that this sequence was arranged only by chance and necessity operating in a prebiotic soup containing the necessary chemical constituents.(11) The competing Design Hypothesis is that the pattern of events consisting of the DNA together with all the other machinery necessary to the existence of the first replicating cell, was arranged by design.
Using design detection, we would consult with biochemists and inquire whether the DNA sequence has structure, function or carries a message. The answer is that the sequence does all three. In fact the sequence reflects a language. This observation is reflected daily in the science literature. The apparent design exhibited by living organisms is reflected by the words used by modern science to describe cellular systems:
"Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." [Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, at 1 (W.W. Norton & Company,1996)].
Accordingly, the first step in the design detection process is more or less acknowledged by modern science. No one seriously argues that living systems do not appear to be designed.
Step 2, Ruling Out Necessity. The next step is to rule out necessity (physical and chemical laws) as an explanation for the arrangement of the DNA sequence. Scientists interested in design detection note that there is no known chemical or physical characteristic that requires any particular arrangement of nucleotide bases along the sugar and phosphate backbones of the DNA strand.(12) Since there is no required arrangement, law or necessity does not appear to play a role in the arrangement of the precise instructions which provide one of the "blueprints" for the formation of the entire living organism. Scientists have also noted that if there was a law that would require a particular arrangement, it would be impossible for the DNA to have the capacity to effectively carry any biological information.(13) The purpose of this discussion is not to prove this point, but merely to show how design detection works and to also note that it involves observations that are guided by the use of physics, chemistry and biochemistry.
Step 3, Ruling Out Chance. The
final step is to rule out chance as a mechanism for producing a pattern
of events which appear to have been arranged by design. Without getting
into the detail, the estimates of the probability of a simple DNA sequence
coding for a single protein with 100 amino acids by chance has been set
at effectively zero.(14) Recent
scientific studies suggest that the first cell would have had DNA coding
for at least 300 proteins, each consisting of 100 or more amino acids.
Thus, ruling out chance involves a knowledge and use of several scientific disciplines, including statistics, mathematics and probability theory as well as biochemistry. Because probability is affected by the amount of time involved and the number of trials that may be involved, the fossil record comes into play. Darwin postulated that his theory would not work if there were not enough time over which change could be effected gradually in a continuum of numerous small steps. Hence, a design theorist will examine the fossil record to determine the amount of time that exists between changes in the development of diversity. Sharp bursts of development with intervening periods of biological stasis support design theory, while gradualism tends to support chance based mechanisms. Contrary to the popular view that life had "billions" of years to arise on earth, current scientific research indicates that life first appeared on earth at approximately the time that the earth first became habitable to any form of life. This suggests insufficient time for the formation of life through a Darwinian mechanism or other naturalistic process.(15)
Design Detection - Showing Irreducible Complexity in Living Systems as A Direct Challenge to Natural Selection
Chance explanations are also rendered less likely in light of observations relating to the nature of complexity itself. Biochemist Michael Behe has shown that many biological mechanisms in living organisms are irreducibly complex. He uses as an example a bacterial flagellum that requires 40 moving parts. This biological machine is believed to have been a component of the most primitive cell. It will not work at all unless all of the parts are assembled at the same time. Dr. Behe contends that natural selection can not build such a machine because the individual parts have no selective value in isolation. They have selective value only when they become a part of a functional whole.(16) mechanisms of chance and necessity operate merely like sieves. As such, they have no apparent capacity to assemble these highly complex, well matched and interacting macro molecular complexes. Without the ability of a mind to perceive, think, decide and to direct the arrangement and coordination of future events, mechanisms of chance and necessity are creatively impotent in concept alone.
In summary, if a highly improbable pattern of events or object exhibits purpose, structure or function and can not be reasonably and rationally explained by the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry or some other regularity or law, then it is reasonable to infer that the pattern was designed. - the product of a mind. Based on the above it is reasonable to conclude that design is the best explanation for the complexity of the postulated ancestral cell.
Design detection is not a new science. It is used in a number of other scientific disciplines.
* Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence where scientists examine radio waves from outer space in search of patterns of events arranged by a mind by design rather than by chance or necessity.(17)
* Forensic Sciences where scientists examine patterns of events surrounding death to determine whether the patterns were arranged by intent (i.e. murder) or by chance and necessity (i.e. an accident). It is also extensively used in arson investigations to determine whether fires were started by accident or by design.
* Cryptanalysis where scientists examine patterns of characters to determine whether they convey a message or whether the characters merely reflect random and meaningless sequences.
* Archaeology where scientists examine artifacts to determine whether they were fashioned by design or by chance and necessity. Is the rock just a rock or a tool?
* Copyright infringement, plagiarism and musicology where scientists examine patterns of events in writings to determine whether they have been copied from the work of others.
* Reverse engineering where scientists examine the structure of living systems to determine how its structure determines its function. William Harvey used design theory to hypothesize blood circulation in the human body based on the structure of veins and arteries. "The scientists who discovered the nature of the genetic code had coding analogy constantly in mind, as the vocabulary they used to describe their discoveries makes clear.....If, instead, the problem had been treated as one of the chemistry of protein-RNA interactions, we might still be waiting for an answer."(18)
In summary design detection involves a logical and scientific analysis of patterns of presently observed events that occur in nature using accepted scientific knowledge, techniques and methodologies.
Evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis includes:
Apparent Design. The apparent design that is observed in nature and particularly in living systems is the most abundant, best known and perhaps, the most compelling evidence of design. It is the evidence that we detect with our intuition when we see the miracle of birth. It is the evidence that convinced Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Newton, Bacon, Boyle and even Einstein of design in the universe. Apparent design formed the foundation for science until very recently.(19) It is the evidence that leads Richard Dawkins to say: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."(20) A more recent example is reflected in a San Francisco Chronicle interview of one of the scientists working on the Human Genome project:
"Now, with the pressure off, this former University of Arizona professor waxed philosophical on the code his team had cracked.
"'What really astounds me is the architecture of life,' he said. 'The system is extremely complex. It's like it was designed.'"
"My ears perked up.
"Designed? Doesn't that imply a designer, an intelligence, something more than the fortuitous bumping together of chemicals in the primordial slime?
"Myers thought before he replied. 'There's a huge intelligence there. I don't see that as being unscientific. Others may, but not me.'"(21)
Failure of Law to Account for the Existence of Biological Information. As mentioned above, there is no known physical or chemical law or process that dictates the sequence of the nucleotide bases along the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA. If a law did dictate the sequence, DNA would not be able to carry the code which specifies for the seemingly infinite variety of living systems that are apparent in nature.
Furthermore, the semantic or meaningful character of biological information does not appear to be reducible to matter or energy. The only thing known to produce meaning or purpose is a mind. Science has not been able to explain the origin of the semantic or meaningful character of biological information using only natural explanations. For example, the letter sequence SGIDNE conveys no meaning. However the same letters rearranged and having the same amount of matter and energy convey a message: DESIGN. The issue is explained by Paul Davies in "The Fifth Miracle - The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life," at page 60 (Simon & Schuster, 1999) where he states:
"Snowflakes contain syntactic information in the specific arrangement of their hexagonal shapes, but these patterns have no semantic content, no meaning for anything beyond the structure itself. By contrast, the distinctive feature of biological information is that it is replete with meaning. DNA stores the instructions needed to build a functioning organism; it is a blueprint or an algorithm for a specified, predetermined product. Snowflakes don't code for or symbolize anything, whereas genes most definitely do. To explain life fully, it is not enough simply to identify a source of free energy, or negative entropy, to provide biological information. We also have to understand how semantic information comes into being. It is the quality, not the mere existence, of information that is the real mystery here."
The Irreducible Complexity of many biological systems. This is discussed above under "Design Detection."
Statistical Studies. Statistical studies indicate the extreme improbability of complex biological systems arising by chance-based Darwinian mechanisms. This is discussed above under design detection. The statistical improbability of the synthesis of the genetic code is also discussed by Noam Lahav in his 1999 treatise "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," (22) and Dean Overman in "The Case Against Accident and Self Organization," p. 101 (Rowman & Littlefield 1997).(23)
Comparisons of biological information systems with those that are human-made. Scientists are discovering that many biological systems have the same characteristics as human- made systems. One example is how the Morse code is conceptually similar to the genetic code. In fact the latter was discovered using human-made coding systems as an analogy.(24) A falcon is far more complex than the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter that bears its name.(25) The similarity between complex human-made machines and systems and biomolecular machines and information processing systems is evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis but clearly is not a proof.
The abrupt appearance of phyla in the fossil record. Darwin's theory of natural selection is based on the assumption that change in living systems occurs gradually over long periods of time through an accumulation of very small changes. However, the fossil record contradicts this in very important respects. To begin with, the first cell, an enormously complex organism complete with a language and DNA coding for hundreds of proteins through hundreds of thousands of nucleotide bases arranged in a specific sequence is predicted to have arisen at approximately the time the earth first became habitable to any kind of life. Noam Lahav indicated that scientists initially predicted that it would take hundreds of millions to billions of years for life to arise. The appearance of fossil bacteria very close to the point in time that the earth first became inhabitable suggests a sudden rather than gradual appearance of life.(26)
The sudden appearance of over 40 new and distinct life forms is also chronicled in the Cambrian explosion.(27) The abrupt appearance of these major body plans is contrary to the Darwinian theory which supports the Naturalistic Hypothesis on the assumption that changes occur gradually.
The existence of laws, constants and forces essential to life that fall within statistically improbable ranges. Many astrophysicists and cosmologists have recognized for years that the Universe appears to be "fine tuned." "Fine tuned" is simply another, but perhaps less controversial, phrase to describe "designed." The latest discussion may be found in Martin Rees new book "Just Six Numbers - The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe," [Basic Books, 2000]. Rees recognizes that the only two satisfying solutions to the observed fine tuning are either design or the very speculative possibility that our universe might just be one of an infinite number of multiple universes, thereby rendering the existence of our "fine tuned" universe quite probable. Apparently he prefers the more speculative solution since it provides the only "natural explanation." Nevertheless, the evidence of the "fine tuning" that he details in his book is evidence of design in the Universe itself.
Failure of Science to Develop a Coherent Theory of the Origin of the First Cell and Biological Information. "The alarming number of speculations, models, theories, and controversies regarding every aspect of the origin of life seem to indicate that this scientific discipline is almost a hopeless situation" [Noam Lahav, "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," p 303 (Oxford University Press, 1999)].
Failure of Science to Develop a Working Model. Although numerous attempts have been made to develop computer models to simulate natural selection, none have been able to successfully show how natural selection, with no direction, foresight, planning or goal can generate the information processing systems found in nature.
Legitimate Criticisms of Darwinian Evolution. Criticisms of Darwinian Evolution abound. In 1986 Robert Shapiro, a Chemist, published "Origins - A Skeptics Guide to the Origin of Life." Dr. Shapiro's book explained many objections to natural selection as a mechanism for evolutionary change. A more recent work, Icons of Evolution(28) details many misleading teachings about evolution in textbooks used around the country. Although Icons is focused on misinformation, its rigorous analysis points out many significant problems with Darwinian evolutionary theory. A detailed summary of principal criticisms have also been recently catalogued and documented by David DeWolf, Stephen Meyer and Mark DeForrest in "Teaching the Origins Controversy."(29)
Evidence contradicting the Darwinian theory is, by default, evidence that supports the Design Hypothesis. This is because design detection requires the elimination of chance and necessity as the explanatory cause.
Other Evidence. Other evidence of design and its empirical character is discussed by David DeWolf, Stephen Meyer and Mark DeForrest in "Teaching the Origins Controversy."(30)
As a prelude to a discussion of the legal issues, it is necessary to examine the unique nature of origins science. Origins science is different from other sciences in two major respects. It is historical rather than empirical. Origins science also has unavoidable religious implications. "Where do we come from?" is a question fraught with an obvious and critical impact on theistic religions.
The nature of origins science is explained by Ernst Mayr.(31)
"For example, Darwin introduced historicity into science. Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science -- the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain." (emphasis added)
The historical-empirical distinction is critically important. Contrary to purely empirical sciences whose conclusions are held to rigorous objectivity by "laws and experiments" the explanations of a historian are held to no such standard or discipline. This allows the historian's explanations to be subjective. The distinction becomes particularly acute when it is recognized that evolutionary biology and origins science have been driven by Methodological Naturalism - a method which excludes the evidence of design and allows only a natural explanation. This bias - mandate - for only natural explanations - strips the Naturalistic Hypothesis of any objectivity and seriously undermines its credibility.(32) Given that origins science is historical in nature it is especially important that the history be written and taught objectively and logically without philosophic or religious bias, and that all relevant evidence be properly evaluated.
The consequence of not conducting and teaching origins science objectively is reflected in the fact that Darwinism has spawned a growing secular religion that is having an enormous impact on our culture. Recently, the highly regarded ex Christian, Darwinist and philosopher Michael Ruse published a paper complaining that "evolution" has become a religion. In "How Evolution Became a Religion," http://www.nationalpost.com, (May 13, 2000), Dr. Ruse tells about his complaint:
"Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion -- a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint -- and Mr. Gish [a proponent of Creation Science] is but one of many to make it -- the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today." (emphasis added)
Dr. Ruse's reference to evolution being "promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion....with meaning and morality " is reflected in Ernst Mayr's views that Darwinian evolution provides a basis for our ethics and morals:
".....Darwin provided a scientific foundation for ethics.
"To borrow Darwin's phrase, there is grandeur in this view of life. New modes of thinking have been, and are being, evolved. Almost every component in modern man's belief system is somehow affected by Darwinian principles."(33)
Origins science necessarily becomes entangled with theistic and atheistic world views. This is because origins science seeks to provide explanations about where we came from.
Furthermore, the two Hypotheses - the Design Hypothesis and the Naturalistic Hypothesis are necessarily antagonistic. The design hypothesis supports theistic world views while the Naturalistic hypothesis supports atheistic world views. The conflict was recently made clear by Ernst Mayr:
Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations.
The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness
and diversity of the world solely materialistically.
It no longer requires God as creator or designer (although one is certainly
still free to believe in God even if one accepts evolution). Darwin
pointed out that creation, as described in the Bible and origin accounts
of other cultures, was contradicted by almost any aspect of the natural
world. Every aspect of the "wonderful design" so admired
by the natural theologians could be explained by natural selection."(34) (emphasis
A design inference is the foundation for all theistic religions for at least two reasons. A design inference provides support for a belief in a God, because Gods are, by definition, designers - creators. Although minds that produce the designs we see in nature need not belong to a "God," the inference clearly supports belief in a God.
Secondly, all theistic religions claim that humans have an inherent purpose. The reason is that all designs have a purpose.(35) If we are designed or created, then we necessarily have been created or designed for a purpose. If we are not designed, then we have no inherent purpose. If we are designed our inherent purpose is that which is set out by the designer. It then becomes a purely religious or philosophic issue to discern what that purpose might be. Religions and religious texts attempt to explain that purpose. It is not the function of science to deal with that issue. It is the function of science to systematically investigate the natural world and to objectively report its findings regardless of the religious or philosophic implications that may flow from the evidence. It is not the function of science to hide or censor the evidence merely because it may support or lead to a conclusion central to a religious belief.
The Naturalistic Hypothesis - that living systems are not designed teaches either that there is no God or designer, or if there is a God, it is one that does not intervene in the material world to create inherent purpose in living systems. This explanation is inconsistent with the God of most theistic religions which hold that God has intervened in the material world to create humans for a purpose. Accordingly, the Naturalistic Hypothesis supports atheistic and agnostic world views and other world views which are unavoidably antagonistic to most theistic religions.
The conflict between science and religion in our culture today is in part the result of the practice of modern science to censor inquiry, evidence and inference that supports the Design Hypothesis.
The question then becomes: Should we teach only one hypothesis and exclude evidence that supports the competing hypothesis? If we censor the evidence which supports the competing hypothesis, how do we affect the credibility of the protected hypothesis and the religious or anti-religious implications which it generates?
To illustrate the issues assume this hypothetical situation: A science teacher visits the school principal. The teacher has in her right hand evidence which supports the Naturalistic
Hypothesis. The teacher has in her left hand evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis. The evidence supporting the Design Hypothesis in the left hand is of the kind mentioned above. The evidence supporting the Naturalistic Hypothesis in the right hand is the evidence presently found in most biology text books.(36) The evidence in the left hand supports but does not require any theistic belief. The evidence in the right hand supports but does not require an atheistic or agnostic belief.
You are the principal. The teacher asks you: "I am about to go into my science class to discuss the origin and diversity of life. I believe the evidence in both hands is relevant to that issue. What should I do with the evidence? Can I show it to the students or must I hide the evidence in one hand? If I hide evidence of design I will be promoting an atheistic world view and thereby denigrating theistic world views. If I hide the evidence of Darwinian evolution I will be promoting a theistic world view and denigrating atheistic world views. What should I do with this evidence?"
Being a good administrator, the principal decides to pass the question on to a lawyer. So, the principal comes to me and asks this question: Should we let the teacher show the evidence which supports both hypotheses or should we censor the evidence that supports only the Design Hypothesis?
Here are my answers:
Is it legal to teach the evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis? The answer to this question is clearly and unequivocally yes.
Generally school authorities are permitted to establish school curricula except where the curricula impinges on basic constitutional values [Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968)]. The only constitutional objection that I am aware of regarding the showing of evidence consistent with the Design Hypothesis is the erroneous assertion that such teaching involves the establishment of religion in violation of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. This is an invalid objection for a number of reasons.
The First Amendment provides:
"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; of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Supreme Court has held that by virtue of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment also applies to any state or local government or subdivision thereof. This has been construed by the Supreme Court to mean that the "principal or primary effect" of a state action must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion [Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 243, 88 S.Ct. 1923, 1926 (1968)].
The question then becomes whether a logical inference that natural objects may be designed based on scientifically gathered and analyzed evidence constitutes a religion. The seemingly obvious answer is that an inference is not a religion - it is merely an inference. However, we should explore the issue in more detail to confirm that conclusion.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1993) defines religion as:
"1: the personal commitment to and serving of God or a god with worshipful devotion, conduct in accord with divine commands esp. as found in accepted sacred writings or declared by authoritative teachers, a way of life recognized as incumbent on true believers, and typically the relating of oneself to an organized body of believers <ministers of ~>."
A design inference simply does not meet this definition in any respect. Nor does it meet the definition of religion used by federal courts that have addressed the issue of what constitutes an establishment of religion. The definition used by the court in Alvarado v. City of San Jose, 94 F3d 1223, 1229 (9th Cir. 1996) states:
"First, a religion addresses fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters. Second, a religion is comprehensive in nature; it consists of a belief-system as opposed to an isolated teaching. Third, a religion often can be recognized by the presence of certain formal and external signs."
A design inference does not meet any of the three tests mentioned in this definition.
A design inference does not "addresses fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters." It is merely a logical conclusion drawn from scientific analyses of patterns which occur in nature. The inference is not dependent on or guided by any religious text. The inference does not require a conclusion that the design is that of a God or of a "supernatural being." A design inference is entirely silent on these issues. Design detection methodology is focused on the detection of direct causes and not on the detection of ultimate causes.(37) The evidence which design theorists show to support a design inference is no different than the kind of evidence that the SETI program seeks to find with radio telescopes.
As to the second part of the Alvarado definition of religion, a design inference does not contemplate or advocate any belief system, moral code or system of ethics.
Finally, a design inference is not associated with any formal and external signs such as a clergy, a structure, an organization, religious texts, or any similar sign.
Contrary to statements made by those who wish to censor the evidence of design, there are no cases where a court has held that intelligent design theory is a religion or is inappropriate for discussion in a science class. The cases which the censors cite are all cases which deal with "creation science." An inference that design exists in nature is not "creation science."
Creation Science was first fully described and defined in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F.Supp 1255 (E.D. Ark 1982). In that case, the Arkansas district court found that a statute that mandated the teaching of "creation science" was unconstitutional. As defined in the statute, "creation science" included a number of tenets relating to the age of the earth, a world wide flood and similar matters found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. The Court found that this definition was, in effect, a restatement of those provisions of Genesis and that teaching this material would have the effect of promoting a particular religion or religious view. A similar "creation science" statute was held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573 (1987). The holding in Edwards was based on the same reason - that the statute had the effect of promoting a particular religious view - the Genesis account found in the Bible.(38) Subsequent cases that have found against teachings relating to origins have all been based on a finding that the position being promoted was one designed to promote the Genesis account.(39) None of these cases have involved a teaching of the evidence of design or criticisms of Darwinian theory. In particular, the Edwards court noted that its decision was not intended to proscribe the teaching of scientific critiques of evolution(40) or other theories about biological origins:
"In a similar way, teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction."(41)
As has been shown above, a design inference says nothing about the validity or invalidity of the Genesis account. It does not promote any particular religious doctrine or viewpoint. As mentioned below a policy that permits the showing of the evidence of design has a number of clear secular purposes. It assures that teachings about origins science are consistent with logic and the scientific method. It implements the requirement for constitutional neutrality in a religious arena. It is protective of the rights of teachers, students and parents that teachers be academically free to provide scientific viewpoints not driven by religion or philosophy on issues relevant to the subject matter of the forum. These secular purposes are designed to avoid indoctrinating students in naturalism and generating the kinds of misinformation that such a dogma spawns. Indeed, a showing of all the relevant evidence regarding origins science is necessary to provide a comprehensive teaching with the scrupulous objectivity that is required in this religiously charged historical science that permits wide latitude for subjective rather than objective explanations. Adherence to such a policy will enhance the overall effectiveness of teachings about origins science.
If there is any question about whether a design inference is a religion, it should be noted that secular humanism and other broad concepts that generate religious implications have been held to not constitute a "religion" for establishment clause purposes. [Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, 37 F3rd 517, 521 (9th cir 1994): holding that secular humanism is not a religion; and Alvarado v. City of San Jose, 94 F. 3rd 1223, 1230 (9th Cir 1996) finding that "New Age" beliefs are not a religion for establishment clause purposes]. Furthermore, the courts have ruled that the establishment clause is not violated simply "because the material to be taught happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions."(42) Thus, a design inference does not become a religion simply because it happens to support theistic beliefs.
If implications of a teaching generated a violation of the establishment clause, then Darwinism would not be permissible since it supports the view that life does not result by design and thereby denigrates religion. This denigration was published with prominence in the July 2000 issue of Scientific American. A six page article focuses on the way that Darwinism has changed "Modern Thought" by replacing theistic religion with a Darwinian basis for our morals and ethics.
Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations.
".....Darwin provided a scientific foundation for ethics.
"To borrow Darwin's phrase, there is grandeur in this view of life. New modes of thinking have been, and are being, evolved. Almost every component in modern man's belief system is somehow affected by Darwinian principles."(43)
As indicated below, the only neutral way to deal with these religious implications is to allow teachers to show relevant scientific evidence that relates to both the Naturalistic and Design Hypotheses. If the evidence supporting the Design Hypothesis is censored then Darwinism, protected by the censoring mechanism of Naturalism, is indeed a religion as Michael Ruse has so eloquently stated.(44)
Based on the above, it is my opinion that it is clearly legal to allow a science teacher to show students evidence which supports the design Hypothesis, consistent with the attached Policy Statement for Teaching About Origins.
Most of the opposition to the showing of the evidence of design in a science class is based on the argument that a design inference, even though it may not be a religion, is outside the domain of science.
This argument is not based on the ground that design theorists fail to use proper scientific methodology. Nor is it based on traditional and proper definitions of science. Rather the claim is based on a naturalistic definition of science that has been developed to specifically exclude the Design Hypothesis from consideration.
It should be evident that scientific criticisms of Darwinian evolution of the kind described in Icons of Evolution(45) are appropriate for discussion in science classes. In addition, there should be no reason why a teacher should not explain the historical nature of origins science and how it differs from purely empirical sciences. Finally, it would appear critically necessary to explain to students how methodological naturalism has driven origins science to exclude objective consideration of the competing design hypothesis. These disclosures reflect underlying assumptions, the disclosure of which are critical to an accurate, complete and objective understanding of the credibility and trustworthiness of Darwinian explanations. Even the new Kansas Science Education Standards state the need of students to "identify their assumptions, use critical and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations."(46)
It is hard to imagine any genuine and valid scientific or secular reason for censoring any teaching of this kind. Indeed, any such censorship would have the effect and the appearance, if not the objective, of promoting a belief in naturalism. As mentioned below, any such censorship would appear to clearly conflict with the Establishment and Speech clauses of the First Amendment.
Since methodological naturalism can not serve as a basis for censoring criticisms, the strategy usually used is to attempt to assign religious motives to the critic. This is a hollow claim that avoids the substance of the criticism and is inconsistent with the recognition by the Supreme Court that the establishment clause is not violated simply "because the material to be taught happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions."(47)
Once students are advised that the Design Hypothesis exists, that it is embraced by a number of credentialed and qualified scientists, and that the evidence for the hypothesis has been given no objective consideration due to its censorship by methodological naturalism, students will necessarily be led to ask: Well, what is the evidence for the Design Hypothesis? How can we form a belief as to the Naturalistic Hypothesis if we are not also informed about the evidence that supports the competing hypothesis?
To withhold answers to these questions seems absurd. The Kansas Science Standards place teachers and students in this very dilemma. Those standards have been written to censor (in my opinion, improperly) any discussion of design. The standards further direct teachers to advise students to take questions that are "outside the domain of science" to their "family or other appropriate source."(48) The drafters of the standards advise that design inferences are not natural explanations and that the evidence which supports the Design Hypothesis is therefore outside the domain of science. The difficulty is that scientists are the only persons qualified to systematically investigate, analyze and properly explain the extent of any evidence of design that occurs in nature. Accordingly, in Kansas the questions of the students will remain unanswered - they will be led down a blind alley to family members and "other appropriate sources" consisting of non-scientists for answers to questions that only scientists can answer. The effect of this practice is merely to indoctrinate students in a belief in a naturalistic world view.
The point of this discussion is that, assuming necessary disclosures are made about the nature of origins science and the naturalistic limitation on explanation, it would seem impossible for a teacher to teach origins science with the necessary candor and scrupulous objectivity without allowing the teacher to answer the questions about the evidence of design or other wise show the evidence in anticipation of such obvious questions. If the evidence is withheld, the obviously one-sided presentation of the evidence supporting the Darwinian "historical narrative" will not deserve the respect of students and will only serve to undermine the authority of science, the teacher and the public institution that fosters the indoctrination.
This conclusion is also expressed by Larry Laudan, a philosopher of science critical of philosophic limitations on the study of origins science, and in particular the naturalistic definition used by the court in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F.Supp 1255 (E.D. Ark 1982)]:(49)
"The victory in the Arkansas case was hollow, for it was achieved only at the expense of perpetuating and canonizing a false stereotype of what science is and how it works. If it goes unchallenged by the scientific community, it will raise grave doubts about that community's intellectual integrity. No one familiar with the issues can really believe that anything important was settled through anachronistic efforts to revive a variety of discredited criteria for distinguishing between the scientific and the non-scientific." (emphasis added)
Science is generally defined as follows:(50)
"Science....3.a......accumulated and accepted knowledge that has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws : knowledge classified and made available in work, life, or the search for truth: comprehensive, profound or philosophical knowledge; esp knowledge obtained and tested through the use of the scientific method;"
"Scientific method..."the principles and procedures used in the systematic pursuit of ..... knowledge and involving ..... the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and if possible experiment, the formulation of hypotheses, and the testing and confirmation of the hypotheses formulated." (emphasis added)
In the Federal district court case of McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F.Supp 1255 (E.D. Ark 1982)], Michael Ruse, a distinguished philosopher of science testified to a different definition of science to promote a position that "creation science" was not science. Dr. Ruse's definition was described by the Court as:
"More precisely, the essential characteristics of science are:
It is guided by natural law;
As one might note, the Ruse definition is critically different from the definition cited by Webster's. Rather than being a body of knowledge developed in a search for general truths using the scientific method, the Ruse definition consists of a list of exclusionary criteria that have the effect of limiting scientific investigation, analysis and explanation to a strictly empirical and falsifiable domain that permits only "natural explanations." The Ruse limitation has profound effects on the conduct of origins science and has been harshly criticized by highly regarded philosophers of science.(51) Indeed, even the Ernst Mayr description of evolutionary biology seriously conflicts with the Ruse definition since Mayr acknowledges that evolutionary biology is a historical science that can not always be tested against the empirical world and is not falsifiable:(52)
"Many biologists and philosophers deny the existence of universal laws in biology and suggest that all regularities be stated in probabilistic terms, as nearly all so-called biological laws have exceptions. Philosopher of science Karl Popper's famous test of falsification therefore can not be applied in these cases."
Recently the Ruse definition of science evolved with the aid of national science organizations(53) into a new species that retains the naturalistic portion of the Ruse definition while eliminating the requirement for falsification. It is contained in new Kansas Science Education Standards that were adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education on February 14, 2001. The new definition provides that:
"Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us."(54)Prior to February 14, 2001, science had been defined in Kansas as:
"Science is the human activity of seeking logical explanations for what we observe in the world around us."
The effect of this change in the definition is to remove logic from origins science and replace it with what amounts to a philosophy of naturalism.(55)
When logic is removed from origins science and replaced with naturalism, Darwinian evolution does indeed provide the foundation for a new religion. This is because its historical narrative is protected from criticism by naturalism so that it achieves a virtual monopoly on the scientific answer to a question that is fundamental to religion. It is interesting that the very philosopher who first suggested this dogmatic definition of science is also one who has recognized that Darwinian evolution has become a religion."(56)
The limitation on explanation to only natural explanations rather than logical explanations is intended to specifically exclude a design inference from science. This was made clear by the authors of this definition in their testimony before the Kansas State Board of Education on January 9, 2001.(57) In that testimony, the Board was told that a "natural explanation" does not permit a design inference and if a student were to raise a question regarding a design inference the teacher was directed to censor any discussion of the question by telling the student to take the question to the student's "family and other appropriate sources."
The naturalistic definition of science adopted by Kansas on February 14, 2001, merely reflects the "unwritten rule" that has pervaded science within the last fifty years. That rule censors scientists who suggest that natural objects may be designed. The existence of the rule was noted by a popular science writer in 1988:
"He [a computer scientists who broke the rule] is generally insensitive to the unwritten rules of scientific conduct, one of which is to scrupulously avoid even the faintest teleological [design] overtones." (58) (emphasis added)
The rule is also articulated by Robert Wesson as follows:
"The important point is that there can be nothing purposive or teleological in evolution; any notion of inherent purpose would make nature less amendable to objective analysis. For a biologist to call another a teleologist is an insult. Even orthogenesis, is disliked. The sole force for change must be adaptation."(59)
Further references to the existence of the gag rule may be found in the notes to remarks of the undersigned to the Kansas State Board of Education on July 13, 1999.(60)
The driving force for excluding design does not derive from logical or secular considerations, but rather from the desire to eliminate any scientific basis for a belief in God:
"Eliminating God from science made room for strictly scientific [naturalistic?] explanations of all natural phenomena: it gave rise to positivism; it produced a powerful intellectual and spiritual revolution, the effects of which have lasted to this day."(61) (bracketed phrase added)
Eugenie Scott, a primary spokesperson for the Naturalistic Hypothesis explains it this way:
"The National Center for Science Education is concerned with science as a way of knowing. You are confusing the necessity for science to operate in a rational fashion only dealing with natural phenomenon, only explaining natural phenomenon using natural processes, avoiding the supernatural. I mean you simply have to avoid the supernatural in your explanations if you are going to play by the rules of science..... When you practice science you can't explain what is going on by recourse to the supernatural - that is a very fundamental tenet of modern science. That may have been the case 300 years ago, but in the 20th century science this is absolutely essential."(62)
The reasons given by Ms. Scott for the unwritten rule are not persuasive. Her arguments ignore the fact that (a) a design inference does not entail a supernatural mind, (b) science had done quite well for thousands of years without a naturalistic limitation on scientific investigation, analysis and inquiry, (c) origins science seeks to explain historically what has happened and not empirically about "what is going on," (d) the limit as applied to origins science violates logic, the scientific method and the neutrality required by our constitution, and (e) only scientists are qualified to thoroughly and properly investigate, analyze and explain the evidence of design.
Design inferences have been drawn by scientists since the beginning of civilization. Indeed science was driven by teleologists until the recent move of modern science to eliminate design inferences with the "unwritten rule." As noted above,(63) the foundations of science were laid by men who acknowledged the design inherent in nature. William Harvey discovered the way in which the Blood Circulation system functions using design theory.(64) Indeed the structure of the genetic code was determined by analogy to human designed coding systems.(65) Design inferences are developed through the observation of patterns appearing in nature and the use of the scientific method. The inferences are tested against the competing Darwinian hypothesis. All of the work is done by scientists. It takes biologists, microbiologists, biochemists, chemists, physicists, paleontologists, geologists, astronomers, astrophysicists, information theorists and computer scientists and those working in other scientific endeavors to investigate, observe and analyze the evidence necessary for a design inference. As indicated in Section 2.33, design detection methodology is used by a number of scientific disciplines, including the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Accordingly, design theory has been and continues to be within the domain of science that is focused on a search for general truths via the scientific method.
is No Reasonable Secular Purpose for Using a Naturalistic Definition
Given the fact that the Design Hypothesis meets the traditional and commonly accepted definitions of science, is there any reasonable secular and non-religious purpose for changing the definition to a naturalistic one so as to censor the investigation, analysis and explanation by scientists of the evidence that supports the Design Hypothesis? If there is no such purpose, then reason and our Constitution require that no such definition be adopted or employed, at least as to origins science.
4.331 Censoring the Evidence is Inconsistent with the Need of Society to Know About the Evidence - Only Scientists Are Qualified to Develop it. Society has a legitimate interest in knowing the extent of the evidence that natural objects are designed. It also has an interest in seeing that the truth about this issue is not skewed so that the only answer permitted is that life is not designed. If science is defined so as to exclude legitimate investigation, inquiry and explanation regarding the issue, society, rather than getting closer to the truth about the matter, will necessarily be misled. As indicated by the Webster's definition, science is a search for the truth.(66) Obviously, if only a natural explanation is sought, the search for the truth is abandoned. For this reason alone, the naturalistic definition is wholly inappropriate.
Cultural reasons also abound for the elimination of a purely naturalistic definition of science. These are discussed in our January 5, 2001 letter as well as in the attachment to a letter we issued on June 8, 2001 to each of the 304 Kansas School Boards.(67)
4.332 Censoring the Evidence is Inconsistent with Logic and the Scientific Method. The logical problems with permitting only a natural explanation go to the root of the problem. As an example, consider the way an arson investigation would be conducted if only natural explanations were allowed. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the true cause of a fire. Was it the result of only chance and necessity or did it happen to be designed - deliberately started. The arson investigator seeks to analyze a pattern of historical events and arrive at a best logical explanation as to the true cause. Suppose our arson investigator goes to a burned down house and finds empty gas cans in the bushes and a trail of accelerant leading from the bushes to the center of the house where it appears that the fire started. Assume also that the owner was deeply in debt due to a gambling addiction and had increased the insurance on the home a week before the fire. Assume that the fire occurred on a cloudless night free of lightening and thunder storms. If the arson investigator is permitted to give only a natural explanation for the cause of the fire, then all of the evidence of design will be ignored and the best logical explanation will never be achieved.
This example reveals the inherent difficulty with a definition of science that seeks to limit explanation to only causes that can be described in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry and chance. In the case of a fire there are essentially two hypotheses (a) design and (b) chance and necessity - the fire was started intentionally or was caused by some form of accident. In the above example, the problem with the limit on explanation is that it leads the investigator to fail to test one hypothesis against the other. Since it seeks to explain by only one of the two hypotheses it fails to test that hypothesis against the evidence that supports the competing but ignored hypothesis. The effect of this methodology is to violate logic and the scientific method. The scientific method requires that a proposed hypothesis be tested against the competing hypothesis. When that test is not performed and when the evidence supporting it is ignored and censored one will necessarily generate an unreliable and untrustworthy explanation. This results in a failure of logic.
An investigation regarding the cause of life and its diversity is no different than an arson investigation. There are essentially only two hypotheses. If you arbitrarily exclude the Design Hypothesis and allow only the Naturalistic Hypothesis, then you have violated logic and the scientific method. This is not consistent with any secular purpose for a definition of science that seeks only natural explanations.
4.333 Censoring the Evidence Precludes Any Falsification of Darwinism. Another concept ingrained in science is the desirability of being able to falsify a scientific hypothesis. If the hypothesis can not be falsified or ever proven wrong under any set of circumstances, then it is a hypothesis of dubious value. The Supreme Court has noted the desirability of being able to falsify a scientific hypothesis.(68)
In the case of evolutionary biology and the Naturalistic Hypothesis, Ernst Mayr acknowledges that evolutionary biology is not falsifiable.(69) This is true even without the limit on explanation which reflects the assumption that living systems are not designed. However, with the censorship of design, Darwinian evolution can never be falsified. Because scientists are not allowed to test Darwinian evolution against objective consideration of the evidence that supports the competing Design Hypothesis, Darwinian evolution becomes immune to any attempted falsification. Why should we believe Darwinian evolution so long as it is protected from criticism and testing by a Naturalistic definition of science that excludes the Design Hypothesis?
The need to understand the strength of Darwinian theory requires that it be tested against the competing Design Hypothesis and that objective consideration be given to the evidence that supports the Design hypothesis. No secular purpose is apparent in protecting the Darwinian Hypothesis from falsification.
4.334 Censoring the Evidence Results in Misinformation and Indoctrination. Another compelling reason for including the evidence of design in any discussion regarding origins is that it is inherently misleading to exclude it.(70)
If searching for the truth is abandoned in principle by predetermining the outcome one is bound to misinform the students. The problem is readily apparent in the new Kansas Science Education Standards that permit only natural explanations. Although those standards tell students that science requires identification of any assumption upon which a theory or hypothesis is based, the Standards themselves fail to even require that teachers explain the naturalistic assumption that underpins evolutionary theory. This failure is not due to any oversight. The request that the assumption be stated was ignored when the Standards were adopted on February 14, 2001, without incorporating this suggestion.(71) Teaching without stating or explaining material assumptions not only is misleading, it amounts to nothing more than indoctrination.(72) There is nothing wrong with teaching evidence which supports the Naturalistic Hypothesis, but to censor the evidence which directly contradicts that hypothesis is indoctrination.
Biology textbooks are also notorious in their omission to adequately explain the subjective nature of origins science as a historical science and the way in which it is protected from criticism by the use of methodological naturalism. For example, one 10th grade biology text goes to great length to explain the scientific method, various modes of reasoning and how to conduct experiments. However, there is no discussion of how methodological naturalism is used to limit inquiry, analysis and explanation relating to its competing hypothesis. Nor, is there any discussion of the historical nature of origins science and how that may affect the objectivity of the narrative accounts that are constructed in explaining Darwinian evolution.(73) With regard to the origin of life, rather than discuss the evidence that supports the Design Hypothesis, the text only mentions the religious notion of Divine Creation and describes it as a "belief rather than a scientific theory, because it is accepted on faith."(74) At the same place in the book, the discredited Miller-Urey experiment(75) is shown as the "cornerstone of the theories of the origin of life." Although Divine Creation depends to some extent on faith, the Design Hypothesis is based on scientific investigation and observation, logical analysis and reasonable inference after testing the hypothesis against the competing hypothesis. Faith is not involved in that discipline. Of course this is not mentioned. Nor is it mentioned that the Darwinian theory is not tested against the competing Design Hypothesis.
Perhaps the most misleading statement in the textbook is this one:
"The most widely held view among scientists is that life arose by natural processes."(76)
The reason it is misleading is that the student is not told that methodological naturalism permits no other "view among [the] scientists." Indeed, the real status is that scientists don't have a clue as to how life could arise with only physical and chemical processes.(77) At the same time abundant, but non-disclosed, evidence exists that the first cell was an irreducibly complex information processing system that is best explained by the Design Hypothesis. What secular purpose is served by omitting to state this critical, but highly relevant information?
However, even stating the Naturalistic assumption will not be effective to avoid misinformation and indoctrination if the only evidence being presented promotes the protected hypothesis. We can not expect our children to understand or even remember the assumption. The only antidote is to permit teachers to teach objectively and without bias all of the relevant scientific evidence which bears on the issue of biological origins.
4.335 A Naturalistic Limitation on Origins Science Has Been Criticized By Scientists and Philosophers of Science. The inherent problems with a naturalistic limitation on explanations for the origin of life and its diversity is consistent with the views of philosophers of science that have criticized definitions of science that focus on rigid demarcation criteria.(78)
Although the unwritten rule of modern science to censor design inferences has been extremely effective, many scientists are rebelling both publicly and privately. An IDnet January 5, 2001 letter to the Kansas State Board of Education was focused primarily on eliminating the Naturalistic definition from the science education standards for the reasons mentioned in this letter. During a two week period prior to the Board's action on February 14, 2001, we sought endorsements from scientists and educators for this viewpoint.(79) The results of that very limited solicitation are explained in our letter of February 8, 2001. More than 58 persons holding doctoral degrees agreed that a logical rather than a naturalistic definition be used. This includes fifteen holding doctoral degrees in the biological sciences (biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, neurobiology, microbiology, plant pathology and zoology), eleven holding doctoral degrees in chemistry or physics and eight holding doctoral degrees in medicine. The endorsers included 34 college professors and nine research scientists.
4.336 A Naturalistic Definition is Inconsistent with the Supreme Court's Definition of Science. Finally, the Naturalistic definition of science is inherently in conflict with the recent views of the Supreme Court on how science should be defined [Daubert v. Merrill Dow Corporation, Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and Kumho Tire Co., Ltd., Et al. V. Carmichael Et al. 119 S.Ct. 1167 (1999)]. In these cases the Supreme Court has ruled that the definition of science used with respect to any given scientific discipline should be controlled by the question being asked and not by rigid demarcation criteria. In particular the Daubert and Kumho cases stand for the following points regarding the definition of science.
1. The definition of science must be "flexible" to fit the circumstances of each case.(80)
2. The definition used should focus on the "evidentiary relevance and reliability - of the principles that underlie a proposed submission [explanation]."(81)
3. In determining evidentiary reliability the focus should be "on whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony [explanation] is scientifically valid, and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue."(82)
4. "The focus, of course, must be solely on principles and methodology, not on the conclusions that they generate."(83)
A naturalistic definition of science violates all four of these criteria.
As to point 1: If the question is the cause of life and its diversity, than a naturalistic definition that a priori excludes one of the only two possible answers is not one that is "flexible" to fit the circumstances of this inquiry.
As to point 2: A naturalistic definition rather than focusing on evidentiary reliability focuses on the explanation to be given.
As to point 3: A naturalistic definition has a focus on one explanation rather than on whether the reasoning and methodology that gets to a Darwinian explanation is scientifically valid. Indeed, the methodology used by a naturalistic definition is not valid because it ignores and otherwise censors the evidence which supports the competing hypothesis.
As to point 4: A naturalistic definition that seeks only a "natural explanation" focuses on the conclusion rather than on the principles of logic and method that form the basis for the conclusion.
For all of the foregoing reasons, a logical and reasonable inference of design drawn by qualified scientists from scientifically conducted observations of patterns that exist in nature and properly tested against the competing hypothesis is scientific within any proper definition or "domain" of science that studies the origin of life and the diversity of life.
There also appears to be no reasonable secular purpose in applying a naturalistic limitation to censor a teacher from discussing the evidence of design to enhance the effectiveness of teachings about origins science.
the Design Hypothesis to Promote the Naturalistic Hypothesis Conflicts
As indicated above, use of a definition of science that permits only a naturalistic definition of science has the effect of promoting an ideology, a dogma, a philosophy of Naturalism. It teaches that a design inference is not valid and that all natural objects reflect no actual design or purpose.
Perhaps one of the better examples of where this teaching leads us is reflected in benchmark 3 of Standard 5 for fourth graders contained in the new Kansas Science Education Standards:(84)
"By The End Of FOURTH GRADE
"STANDARD 5: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
"Benchmark 3: All students will distinguish between natural and human-made objects.
"Some objects occur(85) in nature; others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life." (notes and emphasis added)
Under this teaching a fourth grader is taught to learn that the distinguishing difference between natural objects and human-made objects is that natural objects just "occur" or just "happen" and are not designed. The teaching seeks to show that only nonnatural or human made objects are "designed" and made for some purpose. Since humans are "natural objects" it is safe to assume that the child will come to conclude that humans just occurred or just happened without design and without inherent purpose. Since the child is a human, it is safe to assume that the child may also conclude that he or she has not been designed. Since purpose only derives from design, the fourth grader will be led to conclude that he or she is in the nature of an accident without inherent purpose.(86) Even without this particular benchmark to focus our attention, a teaching that permits only natural explanations of what we observe in the world around us will lead to a similar conclusion. When we observe ourselves and seek an explanation for our own existence we are led only to a natural explanation that excludes design and purpose.(87)
The assertion that we are not designed is not a scientific fact or even a theory. It is nothing more that a philosophic limit on scientific investigation, analysis and explanation. It is a world view that happens to be seriously inconsistent with the available evidence and all theistic religions.
This kind of teaching seeks,
at least by effect, to indoctrinate children at a very impressionable
age. It is not calculated to enhance the effectiveness of teachings about
origins science. It is not calculated to teach evidence gathered per
the scientific method and rigorously
Although this benchmark is not a standard that applies to schools outside of Kansas, it enunciates a teaching that is the logical consequence of a definition of science that permits only natural explanations.
As previously mentioned, although a design inference does not entail a God, it clearly supports theistic world views. Also, although Darwinian evolution does not entail no God, it clearly supports atheistic world views. This is unequivocally articulated by Ernst Mayr's discussion of the matter as mentioned above.(88)
Neither of these views standing alone results in a religion or constitutionally prohibited denigration of religion. However, when one of the views is censored, the censorship promotes the non-censored view and thereby denigrates the competing viewpoint. I believe this results in a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution when government becomes the censor [Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 96 (1968)].
The Establishment Clause provides that the federal government will impose no law or regulation "respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The court has also held that by virtue of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment also applies to any state or local government or subdivision thereof. This has been construed by the Supreme Court to mean that the "principal or primary effect" of a governmental action must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.(89) Similarly, the Supreme Court has held that a state institution that encourages open discourse on a subject may not censor single or multiple viewpoints without violating the Free Speech clause of the constitution.(90)
The neutrality required by the Constitution is articulated by Justice O'Connor in her concurring opinion in the Rosenberg v. Rector, et. al, at page 846 (2525 S.Ct.) as follows:
"'We have time and again held that the government generally may not treat people differently based on the God or gods they worship, or do not worship.' [Citations omitted]. This insistence on government neutrality toward religion explains why we have held that schools may not discriminate against religious groups by denying them equal access to facilities that the schools make available to all. [citations omitted]. Withholding access would leave an impermissible perception that religious activities are disfavored. 'The message is one of neutrality rather than endorsement; if a State refused to let religious groups use facilities open to others, then it would demonstrate not neutrality but hostility toward religion.' [citations omitted]. 'The Religion Clauses prohibit the government from favoring religion, but they provide no warrant for discriminating against religion.' [citations omitted]. Neutrality, in both form and effect, is one hallmark of the Establishment Clause." (emphasis added)
A Supreme Court case which applies this view of the constitution to hold unconstitutional the censorship of evidence in a school context to promote an ideology is the case of Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 96, 107-09 (1968).
In that Case, Ms. Epperson was a biology science teacher that wished to teach the evidence in support of Darwinian evolution. A state statute prohibited a Darwinian explanation of the cause of the diversity of life. The statute was similar in effect to the new Kansas Science Education Standards which prohibit the teaching of design explanations. The court found the statute to be unconstitutional because a scientific teaching was censored to promote religion:
"In the present case, there can be no doubt that Arkansas has sought to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to the belief of some that the Book of Genesis must be the exclusive source of doctrine as to the origin of man."However, in reaching this holding the court noted that just as a state can not censor a scientific teaching to promote a religious viewpoint, neither can a state censor a scientific teaching to promote a doctrine, dogma or orthodoxy. Naturalism is not only a doctrine, dogma and orthodoxy, it also happens to be one that is antagonistic to theistic religions. In the latter respect, the Epperson Court made it clear that government can not act in a hostile manner toward religion. Government "must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice."
These views were expressed by the Court as follows at page 103-106:
"Government in our democracy, state and nation, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, or foster or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against the militant opposite. The First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.
"As early as 1872, this Court said: 'The law knows no heresy and is committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect.'"
"Judicial interposition in the operation of the public school system of the Nation raises problems requiring care and restraint. Our courts, however, have not failed to apply the First Amendment's mandate in our educational system where essential to safeguard the fundamental values of freedom of speech and inquiry and of belief.....'[t]he vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools,' Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 487 (1960). As this Court said in Keishian v. Board of Regents, the First Amendment 'does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom.' 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967)."
".......the State may not adopt programs or practices in its public schools or colleges which 'aid or oppose' any religion. Id. at 225. This prohibition is absolute. It forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma." (emphasis added)
Thus, Epperson holds that a state may not forbid the teaching of a theory simply because it is "antagonistic to a dogma." In this case the theory is the design theory and the dogma is Naturalism. Accordingly, design theory may not be suppressed simply because it is antagonistic to the Naturalistic Hypothesis.
Epperson, also holds that the state may not adopt a practice that "oppose"s or is "hostile to" religion. The state "must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine and practice." As a consequence, the state may not adopt the practice of teaching only a Naturalistic account of origins since this will necessarily be hostile rather than neutral to the theory, doctrine and practices of all of the major theistic religions.
Consistent with this discussion the Supreme Court in the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) adopted three criteria for determining whether a governmental practice violates the establishment clause. If any of the criteria are violated, the establishment clause is violated. The test is described in Alvarado v. City of San Jose, 94 F.3rd 1223 (9th Cir 1996) as follows:
"Establishment Clause principles have been 'refine[d]' into the three-part 'Lemon' test named for the Court's decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, [citation omitted]. [County of ]Allegheny [v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S.573 (1989)] 492 U.S. at 592, 109 S.Ct. at 3100. 'Under the Lemon analysis, a statute or practice which touches upon religion must have a secular purpose; it must neither advance nor inhibit religion in its principal or primary effect; and it must not foster an excessive entanglement with religion." (emphasis added)
The use of a Naturalistic definition of science to censor the evidence of design, which provides the foundation for all theistic religions, violates each of the three prongs of the Lemon Test.
As indicated above there is no reasonable secular purpose for censoring the evidence of design in origins science. Although it might be reasonable in strictly empirical sciences such as physics and chemistry as explained by Ernst Mayr, there is no reasonable secular rational for using it in origins science, a historical science that is unavoidably subjective.
The principal or primary effect of the Censorship clearly inhibits religion. Children are led to believe in school by "qualified scientists" that design does not play a role in their existence. When they attend churches, synagogues, or mosques, clergy who are not scientists teach belief systems that are predicated on an entirely conflicting view. Why should the children believe the clergy regarding an issue of scientific fact? As William Provine once said:
"'You have to check your brains at the church-house door if you take modern evolutionary biology seriously.'"(91)
The removal of God as a cause of life is not only the principal effect of the censorship, it is the acknowledged intended effect. As explained by Eugenie Scott and Ernst Mayr the focus is to remove God from science.(92) Accordingly, the intent to affect religion is clear.
Censorship also fosters an excessive entanglement with religion. The debates over whether there is a conflict between science and religion are legion. There is a widespread and justifiable perception that public school curricula is anti-religious. This results in government entanglement with religion that is so excessive that parents are fleeing public schools in favor of private institutions or home schooling. The one sided teaching of Darwinism has been a significant contribution to this perception. The only way to eliminate the entanglement is to allow the two Hypotheses to compete fairly and openly in all government sponsored programs. This is the only way for government to be neutral regarding this issue.
For all of the above reasons I believe that a direction to a teacher to censor the evidence of design in connection with teachings about origins so as to permit only natural explanations of origins would constitute a violation of the Establishment Clause.
Censoring the evidence also violates the academic freedom of teachers and their constitutional right to express a legitimate viewpoint on an issue that is properly the subject of classroom discussion. When a school decides to discuss origins, it must accommodate a variety of scientific viewpoints. The opinion of the Supreme Court in Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of University of Virginia, 115 S.Ct. 2510, 2516-18 (1995) indicates that it would be inconsistent with the Speech clause of the First Amendment to censor a teacher's showing of the scientific evidence that supports a design inference in a science class focused on the teaching of origins science.
"The government must abstain from regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rational for the restriction."
"Once it has opened a limited forum, however, the State must respect the lawful boundaries it has itself set. The state may not exclude speech where its distinction is not "reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum." (emphasis added)
"If the topic of debate is, for example, racism, then exclusion of several views on that problem is just as offensive to the First Amendment as exclusion of only one. It is as objectionable to exclude both a theistic and atheistic perspective on the debate as it is to exclude one, the other, or yet another political economic or social viewpoint." [Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of University of Virginia, 115 S.Ct. 2510, 2516-18 (1995)]
In light of the previously stated logical, scientific and constitutional difficulties with the censorship of the Design Hypothesis, there appears no reasonable justification to restrict the teaching of origins science to only those viewpoints that promote a Naturalistic Hypothesis.
The Court has also made it clear that viewpoint discrimination is not justified due to a misplaced fear over incurring an establishment clause violation. That was the case in both Rosenberger v. Rector [Refusing to fund the publication of a religious publication when funding was provided for nonreligious publications] and Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384, 394 (1993) [Refusing access to a religious group to show a film series addressing various child-rearing questions from a "Christian perspective."] Applied to the Design Hypothesis, viewpoint discrimination would not be justified simply because a school feared that it might lead to a violation of the establishment clause by a poorly supervised teacher.
For the foregoing reasons, I believe that any censorship of discussions about the evidence of design under the circumstances contemplated above, is inconsistent with the Establishment and Speech clauses of the First Amendment. Accordingly, I would allow the teacher to go into the class room with the evidence in support of both the Naturalistic and Design Hypotheses. To direct the teacher to hide the evidence of either would reflect improper governmental bias rather than governmental neutrality in a constitutionally protected area.
Adopt a Constitutionally Neutral Policy Statement for the Teaching of Origins Science. The essential teaching of Epperson, Rosenberg and Lambs Chapel is for government to adopt a neutral policy regarding the teaching of origins. This requires that schools allow teachers to show scientific evidence which is relevant to both the Naturalistic and Design Hypotheses so long as the evidence is being shown and discussed objectively, consistent with the scientific method and for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of science education. Attached to this letter is a one page policy statement which could be used by a School District.
Develop Curriculum for Showing the Evidence relating to the Design Hypotheses. Although I am not aware of any accepted curriculum for use in discussing the evidence of design, efforts are being made to develop constitutionally neutral curriculum which would be consistent with the Policy Statement. I expect curriculum may be available within the near future. I will provide copies as soon as it becomes available.
I encourage school districts, school teachers and school administrators who have a desire to develop curriculum, to do so. I believe IDnet can put them in touch with scientists and educators who could provide assistance.
Seek Advice from Objective Experts and Advisors. Most scientists in the field of biology have sat under the tutelage of the unwritten rule and believe that they can seek only natural explanations for what may be observed in the natural world. Accordingly, obtaining advice only from naturalists about the development of constitutionally neutral curriculum may not yield satisfactory results. This is due to the disfavor that they will likely receive if they "break the rule." According to Robert Wesson, they will be insulted ["for a biologist to call another a teleologist is an insult"]. For this reason, I strongly suggest that school authorities develop a group of design theorists, naturalists and other neutral or objective scientists who are committed to a policy of neutrality to work together to achieve a satisfactory result for students.
Very truly yours,
s/ John H. Calvert
John H. Calvert, Esq
I have reviewed and endorse the scientific and other non-legal matters contained in the foregoing opinion. I express no opinion as to any of the legal matters contained in the opinion.s/William S. Harris
William S. Harris, PhD
Any teaching about origins has religious and philosophical implications. This is particularly true with respect to teachings about the cause of life and its diversity. A naturalistic teaching that life and its diversity results only from mechanisms of chance and necessity, such as Darwinian evolution guided by random mutation and natural selection, implies that no intelligent agent or god has intervened in the process. Accordingly, the implications of that teaching are consistent with atheism and inconsistent with theistic religions founded on the belief that a God does intervene in the material world. A teaching that life and its diversity may result from design implies the intervention of an intelligent agent. Accordingly, the implications of that teaching are consistent with theism.
Good science education about origins issues should not censor the teaching of evidence of any of the possible causes of life and its diversity so long as the evidence is reliable, is relevant to and logically supportive of the issue, and being presented to enhance the effectiveness of science education rather than to advocate a particular religious or philosophical belief. In particular, scientific teachings about the cause of life and its diversity should not be based on a philosophy of naturalism nor should they be based on any religious text or belief. Naturalism is "the doctrine that cause-and-effect laws (as of physics and chemistry) are adequate to account for all phenomena and that teleological [design] conceptions of nature are invalid" (Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 1993).
If a teacher is censored from discussing evidence of design so that the teacher may only teach a theory based on mechanisms of chance and necessity, then the school may be causing the state to promote atheistic beliefs in a way that has the effect of denigrating theistic beliefs. If a teacher is censored from discussing evidence of Darwinian evolution based on natural selection and random mutation so that the teacher may only teach a theory based on design, then the school may be causing the state to promote theistic beliefs in a way that has the effect of denigrating atheistic beliefs and religions which are not theistic.
Teachers should also not be censored from teaching evidence that tends to criticize any theory of origins for the same reasons. Censorship of evidence critical of any theory of origins will tend to promote the protected theory and its atheistic or theistic implications. Censorship of the evidence will also undercut the credibility of the protected theory and will be inconsistent with the fundamental principle of science that all theories should be held open to testing and criticism.
Any conclusions expressed by a teacher regarding the weight of the evidence supporting any particular theory should be formed objectively and tentatively, based on the strength of the evidence and not on any religious or philosophical view or belief. The tentativeness of any such conclusion is important since ultimate answers to the issue of the origin of life are currently unknowable based on available technology.
Teachers should also be encouraged to explain to science students an objective history of the philosophy of science and how that philosophy changed with the advent of Darwinism to a philosophy of naturalism. Science teachers should carefully explain that naturalism is merely a belief or philosophy and that explanations of origins may be affected by this belief or philosophy.
1. Teleology is "the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature," [Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1999)].
2. Many contend that science does not practice philosophical naturalism, but rather practices only methodological naturalism. In practice the two have the same effect in the area of origins science and therefore I do not believe any theoretical distinction between the two is relevant to my opinion.
3. Martin Rees, "Just Six Number - The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe," 148-151 (Basic Books, 1999); and Paul Davies, "God and the New Physics," 189 (Touchstone, 1983): "The seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design."
4. Paul Davies, "God and the New Physics", 217 (Touchstone, 1983)
5. Noam Lahav, "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," at 303 (Oxford University Press, 1999).
6. Ibid at 144.
7. For example, "Biology: The Dynamics of Life" (Glenco/McGraw-Hill 1998) at page 20 states: "The paws of cats, the feet of frogs, and the hands of people, although appearing different on the outside, contain similar sets of bones. This suggests that these animals all share a common ancestry." However, the evidence is also consistent with a common design that has simply been modified to fit similar but different purposes.
8. See Section 3.2.
9. The SETI program is conducted by a group of scientists who are searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. The SETI home page on the Internet is: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ Additional information about its design detection methodology may be found at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/about_seti/about_seti_at_home_4.html.
10. William A. Dembski, "The Design Inference," p.36-66 (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
11. Alton Biggs ,Chris Kapica and Linda Lundgren, "Biology - The Dynamics of Life," p. 410-414 (Glenco/McGraw-Hill (1998); Jonathan Wells, "Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth, Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong," 9-28 (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000).
12. Stephen C. Meyer, "Word Games, DNA, Design & Intelligence," p. 48 (Touchstone, July/August 1999).
13. Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton, "The Soul of Science", p. 238 (Crossway Books, Wheaton Ill, 1994); Dean L. Overman, "The Case Against Accident and Self Organization," p. 87 (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).
14. Consider the DNA sequence for just one gene that codes for a single protein containing 100 amino acids. The probability of the random formation of this sequence has been calculated to be around 4.9 x 10 - 191. This is a mathematical impossibility [Walter L. Bradley and Charles B Thaxton, "Information and the Origin of Life" in the "Creation Hypothesis," p.190, ed. J.P. Moreland (Downers Grove, Il.; InterVarsity Press, 1994)]. A number of similar probability calculations by a number of scientists have been collected by Dean L. Overman in "A Case Against Accident and Self Organization" at 58 - 65 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997).
15. See notes 26 and related text and Hans D. Pflug, "Earliest organic evolution. Essay to the memory of Bartholomew Nagy." [Precambrian Research, Vol. 106, (1-2), pp. 79-91 (2001)]. "On the basis of such studies, the interaction of microorganisms with the formation of minerals can be traced back to early Archean times, 3800 million years ago. There is no indication supporting the assumption that some kind of prebiotic evolution took place in the recorded history of the Earth. The origin of life is open to alternative explanations, including extraterrestrial phenomena."
16. Michael J. Behe, "Darwin's Black Box - The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," p. 69-73 (The Free Press, 1996).
17. The methodology is explained at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/about_seti/about_seti_at_home_4.html.
18. John Maynard Smith, "The Concept of Information in Biology" [67 Philosophy of Science 177-194, at 183-184 (June 2000)].
19. John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" at p. 29-82 (Oxford University Press, 1986), where the authors chronicle the use of design theory until the advent of Darwinism.
20. Richard Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker," at 1 (W.W. Norton & Company, 1996).
21. Tom Abate, "Human Genome Map Has Scientists Talking About the Divine. Surprisingly Low Number of Genes Raises Big Questions," [San Francisco Chroniclel (February 19, 2001)].
22. Noam Lahav, "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," at 209-211 (Oxford University Press, 1999): "The first speculation about the origin of the genetic code was suggested by Gamow (1954). In spite of a continuous effort by hundreds of scientists since then, the problem of the origin of the genetic code has not been solved as yet. In retrospect this is expected, in view of the complexity of the protein synthesis machine. Given such a complex system, containing more than a hundred components (Lacano, 1994), it is not surprising that Moras (1992) noted with much pessimism that "the absence of direct link between the anticodon loop and the site of aminoacylation suggests that the search for a simple stereochemical correlation between the three letter genetic code and the amino acid or the synthetase (associated with the idea of a second genetic code) is hopeless."
"Based on statistical analysis of the sensitivity of the different properties of amino acids to point mutations in the DNA, several authors have suggested that the genetic code did not originate through a frozen accident."
23. Dean Overman, "The Case Against Accident and Self Organization," p. 101 (Rowman & Littlefield 1997): "Without evidence for a method of generating sufficient information content in the limited time available, self-organization theories for the formation of life from inert matter are not plausible at the present time."
24. See note 18 and the related text.
25. See http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/Jody's%20Art.htm for a discussion of the machine living system analogy.
26. Noam Lahav, "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," at 158 (Oxford University Press, 1999) and note 15.
27. Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., "Icons of Evolution - Science or Myth" 37-42 (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000).
29. "Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science or Religion or Speech, 2000 Utah Law Review 39, 49-56 (February 9, 2001).
30. Ibid at 59-66.
31. Ernst Mayr, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," p. 80, (July 2000, Scientific American). Dr. Mayr is described in the biographical sketch that accompanies the article at page 83 as "one of the towering figures in the history of evolutionary biology."
32. See the end of Section 4.31 and the quotation of Larry Laudan.
33. Ernst Mayr, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," p. 82-83, (July 2000, Scientific American).
34. Ibid at 81. Dr. Mayr's concession that one "is certainly free to believe in God if he wants to" suggests disdain for one who would hold two inherently contradictory views of nature.
35. The verb "design" means: "3. to intend for a definite purpose." [The Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.(1999)] A design is merely a pattern of events arranged by intent.
36. Biology textbooks do not generally contain any evidence against Darwinism because "modern science" has effectively censored any discussion of the evidence of design. The mechanism used is called Methodological Naturalism. If the evidence of design is censored by the Principal or the School Board, it will have the effect of indoctrinating students in a naturalistic world view. For a discussion of how Naturalism is being incorporated into Kansas Science Standards see the letters of Intelligent Design network, inc. dated January 5, 2001 and February 8, 2001, at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/6thdraftrevisions.htm and http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/Feb8letterKSBE.htm.
37. A salt crystal exhibits a pattern that may be ultimately caused by a mind. However, the application of design detection methodology would not be able to rule out chance and natural law as the direct cause of the pattern. This would defeat a design inference as to the direct cause of that pattern.
38. "Here, it is clear that religious belief is the Balanced Treatment Act's 'reason for existence.' The tenets of creation-science parallel the Genesis story of creation,4 and this is a religious belief." 107 S.Ct. 2588.
39. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education, et. al. v. Freiler, 185 F3rd 337, 346 (5th Cir 1999), cert. den. 120 S.Ct. 2706 (2000), (prohibiting a disclaimer which had "the primary effect of protecting and maintaining a particular religious viewpoint, namely belief in the Biblical version of creation."); and Webster v. New Lennox School District # 122, 917 F2nd 1004, 1006 and 1008 (7th Cir 1990); (prohibiting discussions of religious issues and "creation science" teachings to rebut textbook statements that the earth is over four billion years old).
40. Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573, 2582 (1987); "We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught."
41. Ibid. at 2583.
42. Ibid. at 2588; Alvarado v. City of San Jose, at 1232 and Fleischfresser v. Directors of School District 200, 15 F3rd 680, 689 (7th Cir 1994).
43. Ernst Mayr, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," p. 81-83, (July 2000, Scientific American).
44. See Section 3.2 and the comments of Dr. Ruse.
45. Jonathan Wells, "Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth, Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong," (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000).
47. Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573, 2588 (1987).
48. "Kansas Science Education Standards," note 46 at 5.
49. Larry Laudan, "Science at the Bar: Causes for Concern," in Michael Ruse, Editor for "But is it Science" at 351, 355 (Prometheus Books 1996).
50. Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993).
51. See note 49 and related text. Larry Laudan, "Science at the Bar - Causes for Concern," in Michael Ruse, ed., "But is It Science? (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988), 351-355; Philip Quinn, "The Philosopher of Science as Expert Witness," in "But is It Science" at 367-385; David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer and Mark E. DeForest, Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion Or Speech," 2000 Utah Law Rev. 39, 68-75 (Vol. 2000).Home
52. Ernst Mayr, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," p. 80 -82, (July 2000, Scientific American). See also Section 3.2.
53. American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association who held copyrights with respect to much of the material contained in Science Education Standards recently adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education. See Page 4 of the Kansas Science Education Standards, Adopted February 14, 2001. The copyright privilege was withheld in 1999 after the Kansas State Board adopted a definition of science that was based on logic rather than Naturalism. The permission was subsequently granted when the definition of science was revised from the "activity of seeking LOGICAL explanations" to the "activity of seeking NATURAL explanations."
54. Ibid at 5.
55. The censorship of the evidence of design amounts to an indoctrination in naturalism, particularly where the naturalistic assumption is not disclosed. This is explained in the IDnet letters of John H. Calvert, William S. Harris and Jody F. Sjogren, to the Kansas State Board of Education, dated January 5, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/6thdraftrevisions.htm and February 8, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/feb8letterksbe.htm. See page 2 for the definition of naturalism.
57. John H. Calvert, William S. Harris and Jody F. Sjogren, Letter to the Kansas State Board of Education, dated February 8, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/feb8letterksbe.htm.
58. Robert Wright, "Three Scientists and Their Gods," 70-71 (1988)]. See note 1.
59. Robert Wesson, "Beyond Natural Selection," 10 (1991). "Orthogenesis....b. a theory that the evolution of a species in a continuous, nonbranching manner is due to a predetermined series of alterations intrinsic to the species and not subject to natural selection." [Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1999)].
60. Remarks of John Calvert to the Kansas State Board of Education on July 13, 1999; http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/7139rem.htm.
61. Ernst Mayr, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," p. 81, (July 2000, Scientific American). All of the reasons mentioned for eliminating God are philosophical or religiously based.
62. Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science, in a debate with Phillip Johnson on Wisconsin Public Radio in 1992 .
63. See "Apparent Design" under Section 2.34.
64. John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" at p. 52-53 [Oxford University Press, 1986].
65. John Maynard Smith, "The Concept of Information in Biology" [67 Philosophy of Science 177-194, at 183-184 (June 2000)].
66. "'Science and lies cannot coexist," said [Bruce] Alberts, [current president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences] in May 2000, quoting Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, "'you don't have a scientific lie, and you cannot lie scientifically. Science is basically the search for truth." [Jonathan Wells,"Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth, Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong," at 1 (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000).
67. John H. Calvert, William S. Harris and Jody F. Sjogren, IDnet letter to the "Board of Education of Each of the Unified School Districts of the State of Kansas," dated June 8, 2001, at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/June%8%letter%to%Boards.htm.
68. Daubert v. Merrill Dow Corporation, Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 590 (1993); "Ordinarily, a key question to be answered in determining whether a theory or technique is scientific knowledge that will assist the trier of fact will be whether it can be (and has been) tested. 'Scientific methodology today is based on generating hypotheses and testing them to see if they can be falsified; indeed, this methodology is what distinguishes science from other fields of human inquiry.'"
69. See the quotation of Dr. Ernst Mayr in Section 4.32 and the related note 52.
70. As mentioned in Section 2.34 under "Apparent Design," biologists recognize that living systems appear to be designed for a purpose. As previously discussed, an enormous amount of other empirical evidence supports the claim that the apparent design is not merely an illusion, but represents actual design. To date science has not proven that this apparent design does not reflect actual design. The omission to state this fact in connection with teachings that systems are the product of only chance and necessity is a failure to state a material fact necessary to make the teachings not misleading. This amounts to misinformation and indoctrination.
71. John H. Calvert, William S. Harris and Jody F. Sjogren, IDnet Letters to the Kansas State Board of Education, dated January 5, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesign network.org/6thdraftrevisions.htm and February 8, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/feb8letterksbe.htm.
72. "Indoctrinate....1. to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
73. "Biology: The Dynamics of Life" (Glenco/McGraw-Hill 1998) at 20-35.
74. Ibid at 413.
75. Jonathan Wells,"Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth, Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong," 9-28 (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000).
76. "Biology: The Dynamics of Life" (Glenco/McGraw-Hill 1998) at 413.
77. See Noam Lahav, "Biogenesis - Theories of Life's Origins," at 303 (Oxford University Press, 1999) where he describes the state of origin of life by natural explanation as seemingly "hopeless."
78. See Section 4.31 and the quotation of Larry Laudan at the end of that Section.
79. "The 104 endorsements included endorsements issued by 58 persons holding one or more doctoral degrees, 14 holding terminal master's degrees and 27 holding terminal bachelor's degrees. Fifteen of the doctoral degrees were granted in the fields of biological sciences (biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, neurobiology, microbiology, plant pathology and zoology), eight in medicine, eight in law, six in chemistry, five in physics, 4 in philosophy, two in mathematics, two in education, including science education, two in psychology, one each in astronomy, oceanography, history of science and engineering, and two in other fields. The 14 masters and 27 bachelor terminal degrees were granted in a wide range of fields, including four in geology and earth sciences.
"The endorsers are employed or retired from employment as college professors (34), research scientists (9), attorneys (6), physicians and health care professionals (8), K-12 school teachers (9), business or technical managers or specialists (24), members of school boards (3), graduate students (6), pastors and religious ministers (3) and other activities (2). Most of the responses come from throughout the United States. A few have come from Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, indicating the global perspective of this issue." [John H. Calvert, William S. Harris and Jody F. Sjogren, Letters to the Kansas State Board of Education, dated January 5, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesign network.org/6thdraftrevisions.htm and February 8, 2001 at http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/feb8letterksbe.htm.]
80. Daubert v. Merrill Dow Corporation, Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 592 (1993)
81. Ibid. at 590.
85. "Occur....1. to happen; take place; come to pass: When did the accident occur?" Webster's Random House Unabridged Dictionary (1999).
86. This is consistent with the teaching of leading evolutionary biologists. George Gaylord Simpson, claimed that "Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned." [George Gaylord Simpson, "The Meaning of Evolution," at 344 (rev. ed. 1967)]. The issue is more fully discussed in David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer and Mark E. DeForest, "Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion Or Speech," 2000 Utah Law Rev. 39, 87-90 (Vol. 2000).
87. See Section 3.3.
88. See Section 3.3.
89. Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 243, 88 S.Ct. 1923, 1926 (1968).
90. Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 831-2, 115 S.Ct. 2510,2518 (1995).
91. Phillip E. Johnson, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," 189 (Inter Varsity Press 1995).
92. See Section 4.32 and notes 61 and 62.