Texas “Intelligent Design” results not quite overwhelming enough.

November 17, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

Less than 1% of the 464 biology and biological anthropology faculty members who responded to a recent survey approved of the following proposition:

“Modern evolutionary biology is mostly wrong. Life arose through multiple creation events by an intelligent designer, although evolution by natural selection played a limited role.”

The biologists included those affiliated with “all 35 public universities plus the 15 largest private institutions in Texas.”  Most of the 1,019 biologists didn’t respond at all, clouding the results, it might seem.  On the other hand, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, which conducted the study was thrilled with the turnout:

This represents better than a 45% response rate – almost unheard of for the remote return of a lengthy questionnaire of this type. The diversity of the response was also surprisingly robust, with respondents participating from 49 different institutions.

The question, of course, is why any biologist would approve.  For more on the problems faced by Texas science teachers, see this same article for several helpful links, or see here, for a DI post on the topic.

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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    Here’s another DI post on Texas and science education:
    Can You Define a Conflict of Interest?

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    It would be best if all students were trained critical thinking and given the arguments of both sides then allowed to decide for themselves. But the No Child Left Behind act has taken that away by forcing the educational system to teach to the test, thus producing students with a wealth of trivial knowledge, but with know understanding of how to use it.

    We are creating a generation of students who are primed for military, in that they do what they are told and believe what they are told to believe.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    Niklaus: "Both sides"? Evolutionary theory is the result of two centuries of critical analysis. Continuously criticized, tested and universally supported by everyone who actually examines the evidence. The theory came to be from trying to explain a fountain of evidence that step-by-step conflicted with the Just-So stories of earlier ideologies.

    Intelligent Design consists of "we don't think so". There is no evidence for Intelligent Design. The proponents don't even attempt to cite any. Check out their many websites.

    "Irreducible complexity"? Each time they trot out an alleged example, biologists quickly find a reduced counter-example from both morphology and genetics.

    The entire Discovery Institute program is to try to pit church trained common sense feelings against hard won evidence. The primary lesson of 20th century discovery is that common sense is a poor match for how things really work beyond everyday human scale. Atoms and smaller particles don't behave like billiard balls. Complex systems are inherently unpredictable, yet not truly random. Thermodynamics implies increasing complexity. There is lots of time for things to have happened in a very big universe.

    Critical thinking begins in the home. Once a child is of school age, they either have been trained by example to accept what authorities say, or to wonder why authorities say what they do. Schools can only do so much.

    For those who just accept ideas on authority, the best known answers need to be clearly taught, especially when it contradicts their innate feelings. For the others, they will examine the other side on their own. It certainly isn't hidden in our culture.

    And one more point: There is more than one "other" side. A quick creation from the mind of a single God is only one of dozens of still remembered creation stories, that all contradict each other in their rich details. But all are equally obsolete in comparison to the simple explanation of natural evolution through application of the known laws of nature.

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    The Discovery Institute has quite predictably responded to this poll. Here is a critical analysis of their response (including a link to it): Disco. Inst. tries to hustle Texans

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