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www.IntelligentDesignnetwork.org

SUGGESTED CURRICULUM STATEMENT RELATIVE TO TEACHINGS ABOUT ORIGINS IN SCIENCE CLASSES

Any teaching about the cause of life and its diversity has religious and philosophical implications. A teaching that life and its diversity results only from mechanisms of chance and necessity, such as 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 has evidentiary reliability, is relevant to and logically supportive of the issue and is not being presented to advocate any 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 belief or teaching about creation. 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).

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 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.


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