Reader: Poll question only serves to divide neighbors

Posted: Monday, February 06, 2006

What did the Clarion hope to accomplish by posing its sensationally provocative question about Intelligent Design? The poll results in (the Jan. 31) paper illustrate the only possible outcome of such an ill-advised inquiry: Quips like “riddled with lies,” “masquerading as science,” “If you don’t like this country, leave,” “If your religious faith is so weak,” and more accomplish nothing, solve no problems, answer no questions and serve only to pit neighbor against neighbor.

Moreover, the Clarion’s definition of ID as a “religion-based alternative to evolution” is not correct. ID is not religion-based: ID is not Islam-based, Hindu-based, Christian-based, Buddhist-based or any other religion-based. The theory of intelligent design simply holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not by an undirected process such as natural selection.

Additionally, whether ID is indeed an “alternative” to evolution depends on what one means by the word “evolution.” If one simply means “change over time,” or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, an unpredictable and purposeless process that “has no discernable direction or goal, including survival of a species.” It is this specific claim made by neo-Darwinism that intelligent design theory directly challenges.

In my opinion, the Clarion erred by posing a poll question that could only result in dividing neighbor from neighbor. Secondly, the Clarion abused its readers, especially those who hold to a Theistic understanding of origins, by misdefining the Theory of Intelligent Design.

Your readers are better served by innocuous and amusing questions like “Who’s going to win the Super Bowl?”

John Nelson


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