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Anyone mind critiquing my case in favor of including ID in science class?

  1. Dec 7, 2005 #1
    So I'm on my school's debate team. The topic we're preparing for is stated as the following: "Resolved: In the United States, public high school science curriculum should include the study of the Theory of Intelligent Design." This is my case affirming the resolution, I'm arguing ID should be taught in science class. When I say "we" in the case, I'm referring to me and my partner, as it's a team debate.

    So here's the case:

    "Science and faith are nearly exact opposites, and I think our opponents will agree with us that science curriculums should not tell students that they must accept anything on faith. For these reasons, we must affirm, that Resolved: In the United States, public high school science curriculum should include the study of the Theory of Intelligent Design.

    We’ll start out with some basic definitions.

    To have faith in something requires no testing, no experimentation, faith simply is. Even though you might scientifically disprove an article of faith, it won’t shake the true believer, for faith is beyond logic or reason, it is felt deep down in one’s psyche, one’s soul, or whatever one would call it.

    Science has nothing to do with faith. The word “Science” is derived from the Latin scientia, which means literally “to know,” or, “to have knowledge.” Science seeks to understand natural phenomena through rigorous testing. Part of the scientific method we all learn in school is that for an experiment to be accepted as valid, it must be shown to yield the same results over and over again. For any phenomena, there have been many different theories postulated, and the only ones accepted today are those which have shown to be most accurate in comparison to other theories. The comparison of different theories is the only scientific mechanism for accepting one theory over another. Scientists do not accept anything as a given unless it has been proven the most accurate and thorough of all available theories.

    In Science class, we learn about many different theories relating to the same topic. For instance, in Earth Science, my class was taught about the geocentric model of the solar system. Our teacher taught us about the individuals who provided evidence for the geocentric model, and taught us about that evidence. Then, of course, our teacher taught us about the heliocentric model of the solar system, and the evidence for that. My teacher didn’t just tell us about the heliocentric model, which is of course the correct one. My teacher made sure to tell us about the other theories about the mechanics of our solar system, and made sure to explain why they are wrong, and why the accepted model of heliocentrism is correct. Without contrasting it to the geocentric model of the solar system, there would be no scientific reason for any of the students to accept the heliocentric model of the solar system as correct, they would have to take it as a matter of faith.

    The same principal is applied to most concepts. In Chemistry, I was taught about many famous chemists who provided totally inaccurate models of the atom. In biology, I was taught about the theory of spontaneous generation; that life could simply spring up out of nothing. Without juxtaposing the currently accepted theories with ones which have been disproved, there is no reason to accept what you’re taught; accepting it would be a matter of faith, and our science classes should not teach students to accept things on faith.

    Let me make this clear right now; my partner and I do not advocate Intelligent Design as a valid theory by which to explain anything. We recognize the overwhelming evidence pointing towards evolution, and the near complete lack of positive evidence supporting Intelligent Design. However, that doesn’t mean Intelligent Design should be excluded from our Science curriculum.

    Advocates of Intelligent Design are becoming more and more apparent, and appear to be very well funded in their media war against evolution. Without being taught, in a scientific setting, why Evolution can be proven a far more valid theory than Intelligent Design, why should our students trust Evolution? It would be asking them to take Evolution on faith without comparing and contrasting it to alternate theories, and it’s plain that Science classes shouldn’t expect that anyone take anything on faith.

    We need to teach students about what Intelligent Design postulates, and explain exactly why Evolution is the superior theory. Naturally, to discuss Intelligent Design, it would have to be included in our Science curriculum. Science textbooks are filled with details about scientists and scientific theories that were dead wrong, and the point is to explain why they were wrong, and why the accepted theory is correct. Doing otherwise would be contradictory to the methods of science. For these reasons, we affirm."

    Any critiques would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2005 #2


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    Oooooh, you sneaky devil! You've found the solution we've all needed. When they insist on teaching ID in science classes, go ahead and teach why it's wrong! :devil: Your opponents will be dumbfounded...I doubt they're going to expect that tactic at all! :biggrin:

    Okay, I'll go back and re-read to see if there's anything that needs spiffing up. I just skimmed for the gist of the argument and couldn't wait to comment on how unexpected the argument was based on the topic and side you said you were arguing. :biggrin:

    I read through the second time now...nothing jumps out as problematic. You make a logical, convincing argument.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2005
  4. Dec 7, 2005 #3
    Personally I would try not to use absolutist statements. For example you might refer to the strength of a theory and the strength of the evidence as opposed to using the words right or wrong. This would help stay consitent with your idea that these theories should be taught regardless of right or wrong but to show the progression of thought and the merits of theories in comparison to one another. While your opponent may not prepare for your particular argument if I were to be rebutting this I would quickly latch on to the matter of whether the theory is right or wrong and whether or not we should be teaching theories that are "wrong". Your focus on "right or wrong" gives him/her a focus for attack.

    Also you may want to consider arguing that the very fact that the issue is hottly debated and gained so much prominence makes it obvious that educational curriculum should treat the subject instead of shunning it.
  5. Dec 7, 2005 #4
    :rofl: ........
  6. Dec 7, 2005 #5
    Thanks, I'll definately go back and work on that.
    Actually, I kind of touch on that in my case against including ID in the science curriculum. I say that just becuase something is hotly debated, doesn't mean it should be included in the science curriculum. It should be taught, but in a social studies setting, since it's all part of the "culture war," it's really got nothing to do with science.
  7. Dec 7, 2005 #6
    Actually, now that I think of it, debating is more about persuasive argument so including the absolutist statements works well for being persuasive but I would still try to balance that with the strategy of your position.

    But the issue has become the subject of a "culture war" due to the lack of understanding the science behind the debate. Would there even be any political turmoil or need to have this debate if the science of the matter was taught in schools and people understood the issue? :wink:

    Sorry. I'll leave you alone now.
  8. Dec 7, 2005 #7
    Oh, things can be taught in school all right. How do you join that clause with the clause that follows?
  9. Dec 7, 2005 #8
    Disagreement is 99% misunderstanding.
  10. Dec 7, 2005 #9
    Waste - I like it a lot, it is a viewpoint I haven't heard but is presented and thought-out very well.
  11. Dec 7, 2005 #10
    Oh I don't know. I guess I just assumed that people would be more likely to understand something if they were taught about it at some point.:tongue:
  12. Dec 8, 2005 #11
    I suppose some people might learn and gain understanding - but are they statistically significant? You could as well say, that people are equally likely to understand something whether or not they're ever taught about it, to within our tolerance of uncertainty...
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