“Taking a Stand for Science”

“Taking a Stand for Science”



“Taking a Stand for Science”

The association between science and religion has elicited different arguments that either facilitate the integration of both or establish both aspects as different schools of thought. Nonetheless, science and religion pursue information via disparate methods and techniques of reasoning. One of the arguments currently affecting the academic context involves the notion of intelligent design. Intelligent design has been classified as a pseudoscience due to its rebuttal of natural selection as the process responsible for the development of certain traits among living things and within the universe. The article, “Taking a Stand for Science”, by Colleen Flaherty examines the recent decision held by Ball State University regarding the elimination of intelligent design from courses aligned with science instruction. However, the decision to establish intelligent design as a religious-driven and speculative worldview and subject invokes other sociological aspects currently evident in American context such as the constitutional segregation of the State from the church and the disregard of cultural relativism.

The disinclination of Ball State University from intelligent design provides a sociological view of the different aspects that currently affect considerably advanced societies. In overview, the notion of intelligent design has elicited debate that ultimately establishes a relationship between science and religion. By refusing to accept the process of natural selection, intelligent design asserts the involvement of a higher intelligence in the development of certain aspects within the universe and among living beings. Hence, the deviation of the course from scientific theories such as natural selection has positioned it as a pseudoscience. However, the main issue regarding intelligent design is based on its supposed similarity to creationism. By introducing a ‘higher intelligence’, this concept apparently assumes a stance that is directed towards religion rather than scientific facts.  This elucidates the actions taken by Ball State University with respect to the removal of intelligent design as a science course with reasons attributed to academic integrity (Flaherty, 2013).

Aside from reasons of academic integrity, the constitutional separation of the church from the State also stands out as another reason for judging the rationality of intelligent design. The respective concept supports for the creation of a secularized setting that restricts religion in order to establish an equal environment among individuals. The eradication of intelligent design is associated with the State-church separation. This is based on the assumption that the respective perspective introduces a religious viewpoint that further restricts the facilitation of rational worldviews regarding different aspects such as the development of human beings and the universe. Furthermore, intelligent design’s dependence on supernatural causation, irrational arguments, and rebuffs on evolution establish it as a violation of the regulations of science. As such, the course is an immediate rebuttal of science and the larger secularized community due to its support for the supernatural.

However, as asserted by Ball State University’s President Jo Ann Gora, intelligent design is a worldview that speculates the origins of life (Flaherty, 2013). In this respect, rejection of the course reveals a certain deviation from cultural relativism. Cultural relativism establishes that cultures influence a person’s convictions and activities. In this respect, intelligent design may be a derivation of cultural beliefs. In this case, is it rational to suggest that it is wrong? Moreover, is it reasonable to allege that intelligent design is wrong because it possesses conflicting moral or scientific convictions? Such questions represent the conflict evident in the society due to socialization values that influence thoughts and behaviors towards science and religion. The concept of the State-church separation is also responsible for the socialization of the wider society towards science and deviation from religious beliefs.

By viewing the separation of the church and the state as a medium of social order, it is evident that repudiation of intelligent design from main academia acts as a tactic for maintaining the long-standing order created from establishing a barrier between the fields of science and religion. In addition, the rejection of intelligent design within academic circles offers a look into the potential evidence of social control. Undeniably, socialization and social control maintain close relations with each other. In fact, social control comprises an imperative constituent of socialization. This is usually seen in the socialization process. As it takes place via agents within the social context, social control, as a process, also takes place in line with the former. Eventually, it becomes effective due to the application of definite processes that sustain the social order.

In this respect, the state acts as an agent of socialization. By facilitating laws that continually separate religion from scientific circles, a secularized order is maintained. As such, intelligent design and other worldviews that reject the presumptions presented in scientific theories are rejected through various institutions. In this respect, Ball State University operates as a secularized organization based on institutions (secularized laws and regulations) supported by the socialization agent (the State). In this respect, the rejection of intelligent design as a science course reveals a wider process of social control. For the sole objective of sustaining order, intelligent design and its supporters (deviants) are rejected and viewed as conflict agents that seek to introduce chaos by supporting religion over science.

In conclusion, the decision to remove intelligent design from the natural sciences in Ball State University provides a complex sociological view of the organization and the wider society. In this context, the respective action is viewed as a means of social control supported by the State’s (socialization agent) facilitation of secularization over religion. Hence, social order is maintained by ensuring that the school of thought is disregarded as science and more in the lines of religion.


Flaherty, Colleen. (2013, August 1). Taking a stand for Science. Inside Higher ED. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/01/scientists-applaud-ball-state-presidents-position-intelligent-design

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