Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Intelligent Design

In an article in last week's Forward, David Klinghoffer discusses the current controversy about Intelligent Design and asks "Where, I wonder, are the scholars of Yeshiva University, Orthodoxy's flagship educational institution that was founded to make Torah confront the issues raised by modernity? On Intelligent Design, Y.U. is so far AWOL." I contacted a professor at YU and offered to allow him to write a response on my blog, but he declined. So I'll take the opportunity to do so myself with the following important caveats:

1. I have no connection to YU
2. My biology education ended in ninth grade
3. I only took one philosophy course in college
4. I don't know what I'm talking about

With that said, the main point of contention currently is whether Intelligent Design should be included in public schools' science curricula. Those in favor of including it point out that there is good reason to believe that it is true. Those opposed argue that it simply isn't science.

I, in my ignorance, think that those who claim that Intelligent Design is not science are correct. After all, this is not a testable theory that can be either proven or disproven. But they are wrong if they say that this is just religion. It isn't. It is philosophy. The question, then, is not whether religion belongs in the science classrooms of this nation's public schools, but whether philosophy belongs there. Personally, I don't see why not as long as it is made clear that it is philosophy.

Science class is not just about teaching scientific methods. It is also about teaching truth and truth-seeking. We want our nation's scientists to be not only powerful but also moral, and that requires studying philosophy and ethics along with science. So if it were up to this ignorant man, I'd allow philosophy and ethics into the science classrooms, and that includes Intelligent Design.

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