Intelligent Design

Q. My daughter is a freshman in college, majoring in a science field. One of her professors is requiring the students to write essays on “why intelligent design is wrong”. My daughter says he frequently rants about how those who don’t subscribe to evolutionary theory are stupid, and he has posters up supporting his position.

Her faith is strong (thank God), and she thinks his rantings are laughable. She has decided to write the essay he wants, but in a way that shows that these aren’t necessarily her beliefs. She feels if she doesn’t do the paper this way, she might get a poor grade in the class, which would jeopardize her getting into a pre-professional program later. I think her idea is logical, but I wonder if she’s “taking the easy way out”, and if she should stand up for her faith, regardless of the repercussions to her academic career. What do you think?

A. This is a very manipulative essay assignment. If the professor was really teaching his students how to study and learn he would have asked them to write an essay on the strengths and weaknesses of Intelligent Design. Instead he’s making them explain why they agree with him so they can get a good grade.

Given the situation, I think your daughter’s decision to be pragmatic about it is proper. Having chosen a scientific field I can’t imagine her being surprised by the situation, and I presume she knows this won’t be the last time she finds her beliefs to be at odds with those of her instructors.

I think you should do what her professor won’t do, and that’s to encourage her to think for herself. Her study of the subject could cause her to become even more certain of her own beliefs.

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