Intelligent Design: a lesson plan

In a letter to New Scientist magazine, Ken Lignar from Chester, Connecticut, offers teachers a suggested lesson plan that would satisfy the desire of the outgoing US president to have “intelligent design” taught in schools alongside evolution. Here it is in total:

“The theory of intelligent design states that an omnipotent being created the universe and everything in it for reasons we cannot, and are not meant to, comprehend. There is no quantifiable evidence to support this theory, there are no hypotheses than can be proven or disproven using this theory, and it offers no predictive ability for any past, present or future events. OK, now let’s move on to the theory of evolution.”

That sounds good to me, though I would change a few words in the above text. For example:

“The theory of intelligent design states that an omnipotent being created the universe and everything in it for reasons we cannot, or are not meant to, comprehend.” [my emphasis]

This would deal with objections from Christian and other theologians who state that we are meant to comprehend the universe, but rely on the ‘grace of God’ as well as rational inquiry. Also, I would not refer to intelligent design as a “theory”. It’s time that we reclaim this term and define it properly, which Lignar has implicitly done in his lesson plan. That is, a theory is a testable hypothesis with predictive power; intelligent design is a statement of belief.