Essay:Motivation for the Hypothesis of Intelligent Design
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A number of sysops thought that, while they may question my motives, this should stay. This is meant to mirror/parody the article on Essay:Motivations for the Theory of Evolution. I wish to reiterate, this is in no way meant to mock the author of the related essay. This is simply a rhetorical exercise to spur discussion. That is why it is an essay, and not an article.
There are several unique incentives or motivations for promulgating the hypothesis of Intelligent Design. These fall into four categories:
1. Financial incentives.
2. Ideological incentives.
3. Political incentives.
4. Historical incentives.
Despite these significant incentives, nearly all scientists believe the hypothesis to be false, except in its most general, deistic sense.
While judicial interpretations of the Establishment Clause prohibit any funding of religious arguments, positions or beliefs, the Theory of Evolution enjoys millions of dollars in annual funding by government, just as physics, chemistry, and computer science do.
This means that millions of persons, from university professors to graduate students to government researchers to public school teachers, receive paychecks funded in whole or in part by continued support for accepted scientific theories. If Congress or the President embraced a view that the theory were false, and cut off that funding, then the paychecks of these thousands of persons would decrease or disappear entirely.
In addition, non-profits groups such as the Focus On The Family rely on private donors to defend and promote the Intelligent Design. The salaries of individuals such organizations could decline if the hypothesis were declared to be false. In litigation over Intelligent Design in Dover, Pennsylvania, the court ordered a payment of over $2 million to the lawyers who defended the Theory of Evolution, wasting taxpayers' money that could have been better spent teaching science.
Many graduate students in theology and related fields need topics and funding for doctoral work, and the Intelligent Design fills that need. If the hypothesis were recognized to be false, then these graduate students would have to find legitimate jobs.
The financial incentives may exceed $1 billion annually, and will cause a greater support for the theory, particularly among academics and government workers benefiting from the money, than would exist in the absence of these incentives.
Some true religious believers and a number of disingenous politicians have an ideological need for the Intelligent Design. No amount of evidence contrary to the theory would convince someone who believes, first and foremost, that God created heaven and Earth. This is an ideological motivation for Intelligent Design: it has to be true because the belief system of the person does not permit any other explanation.
The converse is not true for scientists. Scientists are quick to claim that any theory or hypothesis might allow for a Creator. Whether that is actually true is debatable but there is no such freedom of belief for a strict Creationist.
The artificial increase in support for Intelligent Design out of necessity by the right wing of the political spectrum is directly proportional to the amount of money the wish to siphon from churches that might otherwise use it for good works.
There is a very high correlation between belief in Intelligent Design and:
- opposition to the Establishment Clause (nearly 100% correlation)
The more a state allows the teaching of science in its schools, the more liberal that state votes on Election Day. Tennessee is an example of a state that kept evolution out of its schools for most of the 20th century, including winning the Scopes trial to ban the teaching of human evolution. It has consistently been one of the most conservative states on Election Day, and even rejected its own native son Al Gore in 2000, causing him to lose the election.
Indiana is an example of a state that was traditionally conservative, but after embracing the teaching of evolution in its schools became increasingly liberal (or perhaps vice versa). This state elected Dan Quayle, one of the most conservative senators, in 1980 and 1986. But now it has a Democratic senator in his place and in 2006 it lost 3 conservative Republican incumbent congressman, more than almost any other state. Conservative congressman John Hostettler lost by a 61%-39% margin.
Nearly all Americans are taught accepted scientific theories in school, and religious ideas in Church, before critical thinking is developed. Once accepted for years, it can become difficult for some people to question that as an adult and admit that they were misled by people they trusted, or admit that they were wrong for much of their life.
When a student does well in secular or Sunday school, then it can become even more challenging to look at what he learned objectively and critically. The good school performance becomes an essential part of his self-esteem, and to admit that his self-esteem is based on a falsehood is simply too difficult for many people.
Since the time of the Scopes "Monkey" trial, the First Amendment has come to be interpreted to prohibit religious instruction in public schools, and creationism has been forced to beat a slow retreat. Scientific creationism was developed to seek equal time in the schools with evolution, but it only offered criticism of the latest science without putting forth any falsifiable theories of its own. Finally, Intelligent design was developed, anticipating the legal objections that had been raised over scientific creationism. Proponents of Intelligent Design declined to identify a specific deity or being who established the parameters of our universe, and focused instead on a God of the gaps approach that examined certain observations that are currently unexplained. However, the Dover School Board decision, justifiably or not, delivered the same legal blow to ID that knocked scientific creationism off its feet.
With special thanks and apologies to User:Aschlafly