I would like to start this question quoting one of the comments to this answer to the question Does Intelligent Design (ID) entail an infinite regress of designers, and if so, is that problematic?.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teach_the_Controversy explains the specific intent of ID and why it is not a "separate theory" that stands on its own feet. [...] a court of law has decided that ID is creationism in disguise, [...]

Did the court of law that judged ID to be creationism in disguise employ philosophical arguments to come to that conclusion?

More generally, are there philosophical arguments for the position that ID is nothing but "creationism in disguise", and if so, what are they?

Addendum on philosophical argument

I will quote the SEP article on Argument and Argumentation (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/argument/):

Argument is a central concept for philosophy. Philosophers rely heavily on arguments to justify claims, and these practices have been motivating reflections on what arguments and argumentation are for millennia. Moreover, argumentative practices are also pervasive elsewhere; they permeate scientific inquiry, legal procedures, education, and political institutions. The study of argumentation is an inter-disciplinary field of inquiry, involving philosophers, language theorists, legal scholars, cognitive scientists, computer scientists, and political scientists, among many others. This entry provides an overview of the literature on argumentation drawing primarily on philosophical sources, but also engaging extensively with relevant sources from other disciplines.


Arguments come in many kinds. In some of them, the truth of the premises is supposed to guarantee the truth of the conclusion, and these are known as deductive arguments. In others, the truth of the premises should make the truth of the conclusion more likely while not ensuring complete certainty; two well-known classes of such arguments are inductive and abductive arguments (a distinction introduced by Peirce, see entry on C.S. Peirce). Unlike deduction, induction and abduction are thought to be ampliative: the conclusion goes beyond what is (logically) contained in the premises. Moreover, a type of argument that features prominently across different philosophical traditions, and yet does not fit neatly into any of the categories so far discussed, are analogical arguments. In this section, these four kinds of arguments are presented. The section closes with a discussion of fallacious arguments, that is, arguments that seem legitimate and “good”, but in fact are not.[2]

I'm interested in more or less rigorous deductive, inductive, abductive and perhaps analogical arguments. Fallacious arguments should be avoided, please.

EDIT: a discussion on whether this question is truly off-topic can be found in the following meta-question: Can question X be on-topic, question Y be off-topic, and X be closed as a duplicate of Y?

  • 5
    Frankly speaking, IMO the fact that "a court of law has decided that ID is creationism in disguise" is totally irrelevant to the philosophical issue regarding ID and creationism. But a different issue is the fact that a court decides about what textbook is worth to be used in public school. May 31 at 13:18
  • 4
    There is no absolute overlap between ID and creationism, in part because there are multiple versions of either. But one could, for example, be a pantheist who believes a universal consciousness to be directing the flow of life throughout itself, with the universe permanently existing of itself instead of having been created from nothingness.Or one could believe that the world was made from nothing, by a being with no concern for how the world develops. May 31 at 13:40
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    Politically, ID was created as a stealth argument for creationism. Philosophically, it stands on its own. There is a detailed answer here on the difference: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/99488/…
    – Dcleve
    May 31 at 15:57
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    I personally have heard the two terms ("creationism" and "intelligent design") used so very similarly that I have never thought of them as anything but synonyms. Is there a difference? May 31 at 20:11
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    reasonnably, you can make a philosophical argument that creationism and intelligent design are close from each other, or point at the flaws of intelligent design that make it a pseudoscience. But to argue that ID is "creationism in disguise" you need to make a judgement about the intention of its proponents (are they trying to make it pass for what it's not). This is where you would be leaving the realm of philosophy to enter jurisdiction of the courtroom and public debate.
    – armand
    Jun 1 at 2:40

7 Answers 7


Since the OP question is not, "Is ID science?" but, "Is ID creationism by another name?" and the question is meant to be answered in the abstract rather than by reference to the historical motives of ID proponents, then I would note that if one takes bare statements of ID and creationism side by side, one will see that they are not identical or even equivalent. They are congruent, so to speak; this much can be granted without overt hostility towards whichever camp of disputants we are speaking with. Wherefore:

  1. Creationism: the physical world is contingent in that it is possible for it to have not existed, and if its actuality was determined from outside itself, then its actualization was its creation. However, as stated, creationism is not even necessarily theistic: perhaps there is some other insentient world that is internally necessary and which has some tendency to birth other, contingent worlds; or nondivine beings in the necessary world, in a lab accident perchance, birthed a new (our) world.

  2. Creation-by-what-means? There are also multiple concepts of creation: typical examples are from-preexistent-matter, from-nothingness, or by-emanation. Exnihilation arguably would only be possible for a being with something like the transcendent power attributed to uncreated (or even uncreatable) deities, but perhaps not. Emanation is usually of one divine being by another, with panentheistic or simply pantheistic manifestations when taken for a world-creating process. If exnihilation requires specific intent, it can overlap ID theory thus far; emanation might be an automatic or "blind" dynamic, however.

  3. What is the intelligence concept being used in bare ID? Once upon a time, for a long time, people imagined that there might be a "world-soul" or animal-like lifeform, with all regions of space and time as its "cells" (not that they knew about cells so much that far back, but so then whatever they might have thought of along that line, in precursor terms). Another theory was that the capacity or faculty of reason in each human being was one thing, not a separate copy of the intellect for each person, but literally a single intellective object to which everyone has access. (C.f. the mystical notion of "Akashic records", or of a collective unconscious.)

Any of those entities, and so beings besides just transcendent gods, could be taken for an intelligent designer. But in fact, is consciousness then required to characterize the intelligence or the design, here? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the use of teleological phrases and images in biology observes:

We use “teleonaturalism” to denote a similarly broad range of naturalistic accounts of teleology in biology that are united in rejecting any dependence on mental or intentional notions [emphasis added] in explicating the use of the teleological terms in biological contexts. Thus, those who reject teleomentalism typically seek truth conditions for teleological claims in biology that are grounded in non-mental facts about organisms and their traits.

Some teleonaturalists analyze teleological language as primarily descriptive rather than explanatory, maintaining that teleology in biology is appropriate for biological systems which show purposive, goal-directed patterns of behavior (for which Pittendrigh (1958) coined the term “teleonomic”). For such views, the primary scientific challenge is to explain teleonomy, not to use teleonomy as explanans (see Thompson 1987). While cybernetics lost its appeal in the latter part of the twentieth century, more recent approaches to living systems that treat them as self-organizing or “autopoietic” (Maturana & Varela 1980) bear certain affinities to the descriptive attitude towards teleonaturalism—although most proponents claim that the concepts developed within these approaches are explanatory.

Summary: creationism in general does not require that its creatrixes purposefully bring worlds about, nor is it confined to one notion of creation in the first place. A bare statement of ID also does not require sentient/sapient purposefulness, nor commentary on the origins of this or any other possible world. The general notion of intelligent design could be instantiated, for example, by a theory which says that there is a life-conducive process that was "built into" the initial expansion of the universe, some "course correction" during the early galaxy-forming stages that reliably led to the development of life. This might appear "purposeful" in some way, but could take place without a transcendent author or even an immanent one. Still, creationism and ID are perhaps less interesting when they do not incorporate something personal or at least quasi-personal into their accounts; but when they are parsed in abstracto, the two theses do not reciprocally imply specific personifications (someone could be a creationist who thinks that an impersonal force caused the existence of the world, while also being an ID proponent who believes that one of the fundamental products of the primordial force was a personal being that actively guides the development of the impersonally sired world).

Clarification: lest it seem incredible that one might be a creationist who thinks that there is only one creator, but this creator acts unintentionally, note that the classical doctrine of divine simplicity would have it that God is, in fact, mindless, at least in our human sense of the word "mind." (C.f. apophatic theology.) And some theists have gone so far as to say that God is beyond both existence and nonexistence and, in a startling turn of phrase, "God may be said not to know anything; his ignorance is the highest wisdom."

  • 1
    The question is about "disguise", which may imply more things than just another name. It implies anything done to make the deceit successful.
    – tkruse
    Jun 2 at 3:47
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    @tkruse that's fine per the historical subquestion in the OP, but they also have a subquestion that is more abstract and for which the reference to a "disguise" is misplaced. They should have worded that part differently, since by asking about abstract philosophical arguments, they nullified the point in using the word "disguise" with its negative baggage. Since they've been given 8 answers, many with a lot of support and many with a lot of details, and since they haven't accepted any of those, it doesn't look like they posted the question in good faith in the first place, though. Jun 2 at 5:33
  • 1
    My point is that nobody claims that ID is a full copy of any single flavor of Creationism but just with different names. Instead the claim is that whatever theoretical background is included in ID, is a collection of ideas taken from creationism, just removing all direct references to god, but keeping the logica, philosophical and scientific flaws of creationism. So the "disguising" process is a bit more complex than just renaming everything, and what is disguised is not easily identifiable as a single flavor of creationism. So your answer does not refute a claim anyone has made.
    – tkruse
    Jun 2 at 6:06
  • 2
    I am not interested in the motives of the OP. You try to compare creationism and ID side-by-side to check if they are identical or equivalent, but the question is about whether one is a disguise of the other, created purposefully to look different when compared side-by-side that way. So the difference in a side-by-side comparison does not show there was no disguise, it can show the disguise is successful in misleading you.
    – tkruse
    Jun 2 at 7:45
  • 1
    @tkruse well, since this SE is not meant to be an open-ended discussion forum but posters are to ask questions with relatively determinate answers that can be substantiated by citations, I myself am more concerned with the OP's motives. You can interpret the word "disguise" however you please, I interpreted it my way and the OP is not giving any indication that they meant it as more than a provocative/weasel word so I don't see that arguing semantics in the comments is a helpful use of this SE (comments aren't for open-ended debate, either). Jun 2 at 14:41

Did the court of the law that judged ID to be creationism in disguise employ philosophical arguments to come to that conclusion? ... More generally, are there philosophical arguments for the position that ID is nothing but "creationism in disguise", and if so, what are they?

Law and Philosophy Have Different Epistemological Requirements

The notion of ID as science has received attention in multiple cases, however Kitzmiller is an important case. Judges largely use case-based reasoning as taught in law school (though some judges are elected without a law degree in the US), and don't make "philosophical arguments" but legal ones. The difference is that civil law in the US is marked by specific epistemological features and requirements, such as a the US FRCP among others. In Kitzmiller, a judge doesn't consider what Leibniz, Bacon, and Kant say, but may listen to contemporary thinkers who are versed in the philosophy of science. The major violations of scientific principle are highlighted by me below. The actual decision is here.

One Judge's Analysis of ID

From the WP summary of the decision:

  • For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child.
  • A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.
  • The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism.
  • The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.
  • Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not 'teaching' ID but instead is merely 'making students aware of it.' In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members' testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. ... an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. ... Defendants' argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just 'teaching' religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion. (footnote 7)
  • After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. ... It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. [for "contrived dualism", see false dilemma.]
  • [T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case.
  • ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.
  • Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause.

I've highlighted the legal reasoning which are major violations of what occurs in science for emphasis. Give how little ID resembles modern scientific thought, it should raise an eyebrow on how proponents can accept it as scientific. One reason is, of course, like in Kitzmiller, proponents of ID often do not have a sold command of contemporary philosophy of science, and are often quite open in regards to their religious faith and rejection over evolutionary theory. With such motivation, it becomes easy to see that proponents are engaged in instrumental rationality (SEP):

Someone displays instrumental rationality insofar as she adopts suitable means to her ends. Instrumental rationality, by virtually any reckoning, is an important, and presumably indispensable, part of practical rationality.

Proponents of ID often claim it is science that has nothing to do with their (overwhelmingly Christian views), and there's some measure of prima facie weight to the claim particularly for non-believers who do engage in exploration in good faith, however, inevitably, like in Kitzmiller, the pseudoscientific nature of ID in conjunction with the obvious political and religious agenda become apparent upon examination.

Why Pseudoscience Persists

Should one take serious claims by self-avowed creationists that they believe ID has nothing to do with religion? I believe many creationists absolutely believe their analysis of evolution and ID is "fully rational" and disconnected from their religious beliefs, but I'd argue that is the mechanism of psychological self-deception given how blatant ID fails to conform to the central principles of scientific belief and practice. Such advocates often refuse to acknowledge modern scientific findings in psychology and behavioral economics that man is not as some philosophers proposed Homo economicus, but rather has deep challenges to rationality as proposed in Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. In modern parlance, people have bounded rationality (SEP):

The perfect rationality of homo economicus imagines a hypothetical agent who has complete information about the options available for choice, perfect foresight of the consequences from choosing those options, and the wherewithal to solve an optimization problem (typically of considerable complexity) that identifies an option which maximizes the agent’s personal utility. The meaning of ‘economic man’ has evolved from John Stuart Mill’s description of a hypothetical, self-interested individual who seeks to maximize his personal utility (1844)

The notion that humans have complete information, perfect foresight, and the logical capacity to maximize personal utility is a fiction, and claims of being perfectly rational and incapable of error are a sign of cognitive bias. People are inherently fallible in their reason (IEP) and the ones who deny it are most suspect. Scientists of course agree on the need for peer review precisely because they recognize this to be the case.

For more information on creationist pseudoscience, see Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism written by Philip Kitcher, an esteemed philosopher of science from the UK. From page 164:

Creation "science" is spurious science. To treat it as science we would have to overlook its intolerable vagueness. We would have to abandon large parts of well-established sciences... We would have to trade careful technical procedures for blind guesses, unified theories for motley collections of special techniques... Nor would there be any gains.


Reasonnably, you can make a philosophical argument that creationism and intelligent design are close from each other and overlap, or point at the flaws of intelligent design that make it a pseudoscience, not in accordance with the modern standards of scientific research. But to argue that ID is "creationism in disguise" you need to make a judgement about the intention of its proponents (are they trying to make creationism pass for what it's not ?). This is where you would be leaving the realm of philosophy to enter jurisdiction of the courtroom and public debate, evaluating those intentions by pointing to those people previous statements, etc.

That is why I voted to close as "not a philosophy question", but for the sake of completion, here are the facts:

The trial in question is Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

The key elements in this trial were:

  • the people who tried to push ID in the classroom just happened to be the same people who tried to push creationism in the past.
  • an elementary school manual promoted by ID supporters, Of Pandas and People just happened to be an edit of a creationist manual, with "creationism" replaced by "intelligent design" (as in, using Ctrl-H).

Those elements conducted the judge to conclude "creationism" and "intelligent design" were, at least in the context of this trial, literally interchangeable terms for the same thing.

  • 3
    If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...
    – Scott Rowe
    Jun 1 at 0:57
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    @ScottRowe, not only that, but it's a well known duck farmer who introduces it while pretending it's actually called a "koopalalah", and presents as evidence a copy of a biology manual where all occurences of "duck" have been replaced with "koopalalah" :-p.
    – armand
    Jun 1 at 1:09
  • 1
    @ScottRowe, it can be a crocoduck! Jun 1 at 8:20
  • 2
    @JD They literally did a search and replace, yes. Jun 1 at 16:06
  • 2
    @JD I wish I was. The relevant links are provided in the answer.
    – armand
    Jun 1 at 20:17

In my view, this question is largely equivocation between a philosophical position that could be called "Intelligent Design" and the fake position advocated in the real world called "Intelligent Design" which is an entirely dishonest position, deliberately crafted by Creationists in an attempt to get their religious ideology into classrooms by pretending that it is a secular philosophical position.

The former is not equivalent to Creationism, and can be assessed on its independent philosophical merits.

The latter is a not even a real position; it is a set of nebulous arguments that are not even believed by the people who put them forward and who simply do not care whether it is supportable or not. It is simply a tissue of lies advocated by Creationists and it is this version of intelligent design that was found by the courts to be simply rebadged Creationism - because that is literally all it is.

  • 2
    This is not an argument; it is a slander. Not appropriate for a philosophy site. Jun 1 at 21:59
  • 4
    And yet it's true!
    – JonathanZ
    Jun 2 at 4:21

I would answer to the first question based on the general question:

More generally, are there philosophical arguments for the position that ID is nothing but "creationism in disguise", and if so, what are they?

Yes, but their validity depends fully on chosen epistemology, because, for example, those that would hold that ID is something contains a problem similar to the problem of "higher AI". That is,

to be intelligent means to be human-like, and therefore higher than human intelligence cannot be consciously attained except by something that simulates an infinite number of human consciousnesses

Or, i.e., no human has the capability to explain it, if such does exist.

-> It is labeled as supernatural.

-> It is useless as information because it's not conceivable by humans.


Darwinism, for purposes of this post, is the position that life spontaneously arose from non-living matter and evolved to its present form by a process involving random changes and natural selection.

Creationism is the position that Genesis 1 is a more-or-less literal account of how the universe and life came to be. The most literalist position is called young earth creationism, or YEC. YEC holds that the earth is only about 6,000 years old and that all archeological, astronomical, paleontological, geological, and radiological data to the contrary is either being misconstrued or has been forged by God.

At the other extreme are those who maintain that the scientific view of origins is broadly correct, and that Genesis 1 must be interpreted as broadly as necessary to bring it into alignment with science. Let's call this position old earth creationism, or OEC. Those who follow OEC are generally not Darwinists because they maintain that life did not arise spontaneously and/or that the changes were not entirely random, and/or that the selection was not entirely natural. They believe that God intervened in one or more of these steps. However, OEC is consistent with what I will call quasi-Darwinism, the position that there is no way to tell from the data that Darwinism is false.

There are people in all three of the major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) who are creationists, but this is not the only view. Many Christians believe that Genesis 1 is not a literal account of origins at all, although they still believe in a timeless God who is responsible for the existence of the universe. I don't know if there's a word for this position, but let's call it quasi-creationism.

Quasi-creationism has two main branches which I'll call quasi-deism and theistic quasi-creationism or TQC. Quasi-deism is essentially naturalism with respect to origins (but you can't be a full-on deist and a Christian). You can expect a quasi-deist to hold to some naturalist account of origins, most likely Darwinism. TQC is the position that God does not constrain himself from acting in the world, but that scripture gives no clue about origins other than the claim that God is the creator.

TQC is is the most liberal, skeptical position, the position that has the fewest prior commitments, and therefore the position most open to impartial evaluation of the evidence. TQC is considerably more impartial than naturalism because it is consistent with any account of origins, while naturalism is forced to consider only naturalist accounts. In modern thought, Darwinism is the only possible account of origins that is naturalist, so any threat to Darwinism is a threat to the naturalist's worldview. Most people do not react well to having their worldview challenged, and naturalists are no exception. By contrast, neither Darwinism nor any other account of origins threatens the TQC worldview, so to those of us who embrace TQC, the question of origins is a purely intellectual issue that we can approach impartially and rationally, without philosophical baggage.

Intelligent Design (ID) is a scientific theory that has two main parts: a critique of Darwinism, and a positive claim that life shows the signs of being designed. ID is consistent with no theistic accounts of origins besides TQC and OEC (old earth creationism). It is not consistent with YEC because it is a scientific theory that embraces all the discoveries of archeology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, and radiology that YEC rejects. It is not consistent quasi-deism because it contains an explicit argument against Darwinism which quasi-deism embraces.

So if ID is nothing but creationism in disguise, then it would have to be nothing but OEC in disguise. But OEC does not imply ID because OEC is consistent with quasi-Darwinism and ID is not. Also, ID does not imply OEC because ID, but not OEC, is consistent with alien source of life or ASL, the position that intelligent life evolved on another planet and that the aliens seeded life on earth and have consequently guided evolution. Since ID does not imply OEC and OEC does not imply ID, they are not logically equivalent.

But the question is not really about logical equivalence. Maybe "creationism in disguise" just means that ID is a stalking horse for creationism, that for those who believe in creationism, ID is just a way to try to make creationism more acceptable. There is no question that this is the motivation of some proponents of ID. In fact, it is not unlikely that this is the motivation of the large majority of of proponents of ID. Since OEC is not scientific, this links ID to an unscientific position.

However, while this may arguably be a good reason for scientists to ignore ID, it is not a philosophical argument; it is an ad hominem argument; it attacks ID on the basis of who is making the argument and their motivations rather than on the merits of the argument itself. Ad hominem arguments have no place in philosophy. Ad hominem arguments are only acceptable as counters to arguments from authority. If someone makes an argument that relies on an expert witness or some other authority, where the competence and candor of the authority is an essential part of why the argument is persuasive, then an attack on the competence or motivation of the authority is relevant. But philosophy is not a subject matter where arguments from authority are suitable, and so it is not a subject matter where ad hominem arguments are suitable.

Another argument that one sometimes sees on this forum is the claim that some court in Texas ruled that ID is creationism. However, this is not a philosophical argument either; it is an argument from authority, which, as I just explained, has no place in philosophy.

So to conclude: ID is not logically equivalent to any form of creationism, and the only other arguments linking ID to creationism are either arguments from authority or ad hominem, and as neither form of argument is philosophical, there are no philosophical arguments for the position that ID is nothing but creationism in disguise.


It's not exactly true, but it's pretty close to being true.

  • "Intelligent Design requires a designer." This statement is true. That's the point. It draws up a set of scientific arguments that are set against natural development and increase in complexity due to the existence of certain barriers.

  • "Intelligent Design is creationism in disguise." This statement is false. It seems like it ought to be true, but it isn't. Here is a well-formed counterexample that was readily at my fingertips: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ancient_humanoid Do not be deceived by the fact that it is a Star Trek reference; for I have heard a proposal like this made in all seriousness more than once. Given this proposal touted in all seriousness along with the claim that "Earth is too inhospitable for life to arise; therefore it was planted here" I would defy any to disprove it without using the common ID tenants of rare Earth and unreasonably difficult life genesis (as this particular ID form doesn't have those tenants).

Rant-like commentary on Teach the Controversy: I once had a proposal to protect the brand of science we would be better off teaching microevolution first (about sixth grade is where the material can really be grasped) and push macroevolution to high school. Reason is twofold. Critical thinking is profoundly better developed by high school as opposed to late elementry school and we have too many people now who believe that evolution is so false that evolving antibiotic resistance is not a thing and I'm tired of it.

  • 1
    I like your suggestion about teaching evolution in stages.
    – Ludwig V
    Jun 1 at 14:16
  • I would like to see a simple recognition that the creation of life almost certainly involved one or more causal factors beyond any that are presently understood, and some of which might possibly never be understood. Without more understanding of such factors , it will impossible to say with any meaningful certainty whether they include deities, corporeal extra-terrestrial beings, sub-atomic interactions which have not yet been identified, or other things that haven't yet been discovered.
    – supercat
    Jun 1 at 20:57
  • It is quite possible that the beginning of life might have involved causal factors that have not yet been identified. As things stand, I couldn't go beyond that. I'll stick with working on the problem with what we've got; it's more likely to pay off than improbable speculation and more likely to lead to discovering those unknown causal factors.
    – Ludwig V
    Jun 1 at 21:03
  • @LudwigV: From what I understand of ID, it pushes too far beyond the aforementioned recognition of unknown causal factors, but on the other side I see many statements made with an unjustifiable level of certainty, and which equate inferences about historical events with science. Science, by its nature, requires formulating theories that can make predictions and then testing those predictions. One cannot, however, use the fact that a theory says something could have happened a certain way to state with certainty that it did happen that way, unless one can show that any contradictory...
    – supercat
    Jun 1 at 22:29
  • ...theory would be inconsistent with available evidence.
    – supercat
    Jun 1 at 22:33

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