Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
By: Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --"Where did we come from?"

It’s a question that’s boggled minds for centuries and fuels a renewed debate between teaching Evolution and Creationism in our schools.  Now, school boards nationwide and here in the Heartland are faced with the controversial theory of Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design is the idea that the Universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power. Critics believe it’s just a way for Creationists to sneak their views into public schools.
But others say the theory raises real challenges to the theory of Evolution.
Sean Meek travels the United States with his Creation Museum. Meek says the museum displays evidence of God’s Creation. Instructors at Cape Christian School hope the message is clear.
“So, much evolutionism is presented as if it were fact,” said Cape Christian School Principal, Beverly Smart. “But, in fact it is theory still. So if you give them the opportunity to see this is just theory this is just what they think you can go back and say Creationism is truth.”
Christian School Leaders say they face challenges teaching Creationism in today’s secular world.
“They heat at church and Sunday School the Biblical account of Creation and that can be very confusing to them,” said Smart.
Science Courses at Cape Central High School Teach the theory of evolution as required by the state of Missouri.
“Evolution is the foundation for a Biology course,” said Pam Schulte. Schulte is a Biology teacher at Cape Central High School. “You can’t truly teach a biology course without addressing Evolution.”
Schulte says she avoids conflicts by explaining that science is simply a method used to understand the natural world.
“I don’t think tis to anyone’s benefit to try and turn religion into a science,” said Schulte. “It’s not.”
While Christian schools stand by their faith, public schools are now faced with the Issue of Intelligent Design.
“The idea of using intelligent design as an explanation is a dead end. You can say okay how does it work. Let's see if we can figure out the processes involved. In that sense science is very different from religion,” said Schulte.
SEMO Biology Professor Dr. Allen Gathman says the debate starts with the separation of church and state. He believes the separation is a good thing for the church, but not necessarily for public schools.
“It also has this bi-product that we’re afraid to say anything about religion in public education.” Gathman said.
Gathman says that leaves students in the dark about the ideas of their faith.
“I have Catholic students who say ‘Well because I’m a Catholic I can’t believe in Evolution because it’s Contrary to my religion,’ and I’m going ‘The Vatican just went on record saying Intelligent Design has no place in a science class.’” Gathman said.
But some Creationist argue Evolution is a religion of its own. “The conflict is not between the Bible and Science, It’s between the Evolutionists and the Bible that’s where the conflict is. They like to pretend Evolution is science but it’s a religion,” said Sean Meeks of Project Creation.
So, where do topics like Intelligent Design and Creation belong? Professor Gathman says they don’t belong in Science Class. He believes the topics are better left for Philosophy or Religion courses. But, you probably won’t find those in public schools.
“I think it would be great to have these kinds of discussions in public schools,” said Gathman. “Although I think school administrators would be terrified to do it.”
Dr. Gathman says it is possible to find some kind of middle ground if people realize that Evolution is simply part of science and it offers no threat to religion.
“It certainly doesn’t do anything to the underlying ideas,” said Gathman. “It doesn’t weaken ideas that there is a God, or God cares about what’s going on it’s just looking at the history of the conflict and how it got started.”