An Analysis of the Opinions Formed by Intelligent Design Supporters
Where do we come from? This question has disturbed mankind for generations. For a couple thousand years the answer to this question could be found in the Creationist theory. The Bible tells of how 6,000 years ago God created Earth and all its living creatures in seven days. Then in the nineteenth century Charles Darwin published his findings about his theory of evolution in his book On the Origin of Species. This perturbed religious groups and took until the twentieth century to become more widely accepted. The most recent event surrounding this controversy came in a federal court case about the Dover, Pennsylvania school board dilemma on whether to also allow intelligent design to be taught in Biology classrooms. It laid down the platform for various arguments of both the Evolutionists and Intelligent Design theorists. In order to form opinions and solid judgment about these two theories people must form attitudes through various means. Attitudes of intelligent design supporters become clouded and modified by emotion, prior beliefs, ideologies, values, and the mass media, which prove to exhibit good and bad judgment.
Intelligent design supporters have several opinions about evolution and their own theory. The opinions that are most commonly understood are the ones put forth by Thomas More Law and the Discovery Institute during the Dover trial. This trial focused on why intelligent design should be taught in classrooms. Evolution in the context of the trial and as declared by Charles Darwin is best described as the slow gradual genetic change of a population over time. The major underlying argument for intelligent design supporters is that the features of all organisms are too complex to have been simply caused by evolution (Koch). Since these features are too complex, supporters believe that there must have been a designer. They agree with evolution in some instances however. For example, intelligent design supporters agree that small changes like those discovered in the beaks of finches on the Galapagos Island by Darwin are forms of evolution. According to supporters, these changes do not abandon the intelligent design theory because they believe evolution only applies to small changes and that all species originated at some point in time from an intelligent designer due to their complexity (Koch). In order to explain this further, in the Dover trial, they used the flagellum of bacteria as an example. Described as the world’s most efficient motor, the flagellum will not function properly if any parts are missing. David DeRosier, a famous scientist in the trial, stated that it appeared as if the flagellum was designed by humans, which is why many supporters agree that there must be a designer (Koch). According to supporters, this is empirical evidence based on logical inferences (Koch). Another belief is that gaps in the theory of evolution provide enough proof for intelligent design (Koch). Supporters also declare that their theory will benefit society by reverting it towards religion and people will re-adopt their key objective moral standards (Koch). These opinions can be studied further by looking at why and how they came to be.
Attitude formation can be heavily impacted in the affective sense. Emotions play a major role in the way people feel about evolution. Religion can be described as a major contributor to the affection displayed towards intelligent design or evolution. Many religions that are focused around a God use the Creationist theory to explain the formation of species on Earth. Religion usually originates by family acting as some sort of moderator in the relationship. Most parents pass on their religious beliefs to their children, which plays a major part in the way the children think. It is very difficult to alter many attitudes that people have been grounded in for a long time. Therefore once someone reaches adulthood and ages,...
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