amy courts: en route


Upon Further Review and Assessment of Intelligent Design Theory
January 6, 2009, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

davinci-man1Tonight, Paul and I finally saw Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed at a (legal – all licenses paid for) viewing at our church. It’s the Ben Stein documentary promoting the discussion of Intelligent Design among the scientific community at large. Or, more accurately, the refusal to discuss I.D. as a viable opposing scientific theory to Darwinism.

If you remember back a few months ago when the movie first came out, I wrote a blog discussing why I.D. is or isn’t scientifically viable. I don’t want to re-hash that here.

On a side note: I do think the film could have been more effective within the mainstream scientific community (read: among those who don’t buy I.D. and stick to Darwinism or evolutionary theory) had it not so characturized the opposing side or worked to draw such “inevitable” ties between it and the Holocaust. Obviously and indisputably, Hitler used Darwin’s theory to propagate eugenics and promote the total eradication of Jews and the “less evolved” (i.e. mentally or phsyically retarted, etc). But, strictly scientifically speaking, Hitler’s use of “natural selection” to defend Social Darwinism was quite oxymoronic. Anyhow, I think it would have been better received on both sides had it done more to show the reasons why some adamantly oppose I.D. theory, rather than simply presenting them as ranting naturalists.

But after seeing the movie and hearing some of the absurd theories some scientists assert regarding hypothetical explanations for our yet-unproven origins, I have to say: I haven’t really changed my mind.

Here’s why.

While I don’t believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis that asserts the earth was created from nothing just 6K to 10K years ago because evidence shows the earth to be millions – maybe billions – of years old, neither do I believe we came from a single cell organism borne from primordial soup, also because current evidence suggests otherwise. Or at very least, current evidence – that being the most basic of cells – cannot be broken down to a point of honest scientific testing of data in that context.

But both sides have made efforts to explain what they cannot scientifically test or study: Scientists studying from a religious worldview assume a supernatural explanation; natural scientists assume a natural (or at least a non-religious pointing) explanation.

And that’s where the problem begins for me.

See, I wouldn’t mind a science teacher pointing out the complexities of cells to my own children and encouraging them to believe they were designed intelligently by a higher power…i.e. God.

But I would mind – in fact, I’d adamantly oppose and even fight against! – the same science teacher pointing out those same complexities and suggesting to my children that it all started with a crystal lying in such a way on top of another crystal, and the process spontaneously generating from there.

I would take similar issue with said science teacher suggesting to my children that, while our origins are yet unknown and unproven, we were most likely “seeded” here by intelligent life occupying another planet in the universe.

You may think I’m crazy, but both suggestions were made by reputable secular scientists who adamantly oppose the idea of Intelligent Design and its natural end being “God”…a Creator…rather than something natural and untouched by any deity, Christian or otherwise.

So, here’s where I stand; this is the ideal, preferred situation I’d love to see my children learning in: Let scientists be scientists. Let them teach the study of observable organisms and processes. Let them dissect biological and geological matter. Let them ask every question imaginable regarding what they’re observing, and test every imaginable answer.

And when that observation leads to the questions of “how did we come to be…back at the very, very beginning?” and “why am I here?” and “Who wanted me here?” – those questions of purpose and meaning that honest scientific observation inevitably beg but cannot answer, as they are questions of the metaphysical realm – let the science community humbly say “we just don’t know that” and leave hypothesizing to the experts in the fields of philosophy and theology.

Because ultimately, science will never, ever be able to prove (or disprove!) the existence of YHWH, my great unseen God and Creator. But theology – and more importantly, an honest, living, breathing, personal Faith that transforms me daily in an irrefutable way – can, and so swiftly and powerfully does supply answers and peace, in abundance.

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7 Comments so far
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Intelligent design are code words that mean “magic”. It’s a childish idiotic idea, it has no evidence, and it’s not scientific.

“See, I wouldn’t mind a science teacher pointing out the complexities of cells to my own children and encouraging them to believe they were designed intelligently by a higher power…i.e. God.”

A science teacher who invokes God, also known as magic, belongs in Sunday school, not a science classroom.

“evidence shows the earth to be millions – maybe billions – of years old”

What do you mean “maybe”?

The earth is about 4.5 Billion years old, and the universe is at least 3 times older.

It’s very obvious you’re scientifically illiterate. You don’t even know what science is.

“Obviously and indisputably, Hitler used Darwin’s theory to propagate eugenics and promote the total eradication of Jews and the “less evolved” (i.e. mentally or phsyically retarted, etc).”

Obviously? You’re full of it. Hitler was a Christian. He was constantly invoking Jeebus, and he never once invoked Darwin. By the way, do you know what Godwin’s Law is?

Even if it was true that some insane dictator used a scientific fact as an excuse to murder people, that wouldn’t change the facts of evolutionary biology, which are the strongest facts of science.

You’re never going to learn anything from a Christian propaganda movie. The compulsive liars who produced Expelled know nothing about science. You could actually study science, but apparently you would rather spread lies about it.

Comment by bobxxxx

>A science teacher who invokes God, also known as magic, belongs in Sunday school, not a science classroom.

Well you and I will have to disagree about what God is. But I do agree that discussion about God does not belong in a science classrom simply because neither of us can prove or disprove His existence by scientific measures (or at all).

>What do you mean “maybe”?

I mean there’s not a 100% consensus regarding the age of the earth. Wow. You’re defensive, Bobxxxx!

>It’s very obvious you’re scientifically illiterate. You don’t even know what science is.

Never claimed to be a scientist. Simply claimed that, as far as I can tell by what I have read, any discussion involving God or higher powers, does not belong in a classroom.

>Obviously? You’re full of it. Hitler was a Christian. …Even if it was true that some insane dictator used a scientific fact as an excuse to murder people.

I completely agree that Hitler used BOTH Christianity (his own brand – nothing even remotely representative of true Christianity) AND Darwinism (again, his own brand…he took a scientific idea and applied it to a social structure, on I’m sure many scientists would be appauled at) to accomplish his own ends. However, I think that’s as far as we can go. Just as it would be unreasonable for me to argue that Hitler didn’t use God for his own ends (because he most obviously did), it’d be similarly unreasonable to dismiss his use of darwinism in application to a social structure.

>You could actually study science, but apparently you would rather spread lies about it.

Hmmm…Bob, did you actually read my blog? Or did you see the reference to the film and assume I was going to write from a pro-film perspective? Because, if you DID read, you’d see that while I am most certainly a Christian and most certainly will assume a Deistic beginning when no scientific beginning is proven (which even famed evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins admits), I made quite clear that I don’t believe the discussion of implications (which, by definition, are not scientifically testable) belongs in the science room, but best left to philosophy and theology. You’d have seen that, while I may appreciate the idea that some things imply or point to a designer, I don’t believe that’s a conversation or question best answered by science. Next time, please take the time to read the full thing and attempt to hear my perspective rather than jumping for the jugular.

Comment by amycourts

I agree; science should remain science. Let it prove whatever it can, but when it comes to the unexplainable, they need to back off and say “we don’t know that.”

There’s a book out there, and I can’t remember who wrote it or what it’s called (I’m worthless today)… the author believes God created the Earth in 6 days possibly using the big bang. He then goes pretty deep into how space-time could have been bent (due to what was going on with the Earth and how it was being created) causing it to last only 6 days but at the same time being those millions of years that our Earth appears to be.

I realize that makes no sense. If you want to write me off as a wacko, that’s fine. But the book does a much better job at explaining it than I do. If I think of the author/name of the book, I’ll let you know. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in this stuff.

Comment by Bobby

Recently an evolutionary biologist suggested that if the Evolution theory were to be replaced, then it would have to be replaced by a better working model.Great Theory evolution, trouble is it is rather like a 150 year old shopping trolley, which has lost three of its wheels and its is going in circles. Some of the contents are past their sell by date and it just cannot reach the check-out. One famous scientist asked the question has evolution come to an end? What does it predict for the future? Further evolution does not allow for a sensible explanation for the world religions.
If our scientists can do what they are doing, then why should there not be much more advanced scientists in other solar systems? There is a useful working hypothesis,though perhaps it could be called a theory as it offers a prediction,contained in Intelligent Design Message from the Designers. This hypothesis allows everyone to be partly correct
in that the scientists are not entirely wrong, in that what we are dealing with is an artificial evolution of design and the religions have a common sense explanation.Remember the famous scientist who said that man would never land on the Moon. Well as we know it happened, though there is a hypothesis that it did not, but we cannot go into that right now. If this hypothesis is science fiction, then in the words of a famous film star, it ranks alongside the most breathtaking of its kind, but if it is true then it is earth shaking. This hypothesis is paradigm busting in that it allows for other, issues into the debate, such as life in other solar systems and the cyclical nature of the development of a human race, of which there have been many on this very ancient planet In the words of Montaigne, ‘ …let nothing pass the sieve of understanding , through mere confidence and authority.’ I feel that given the prediction given by this hypothesis, there is a certain urgency for this to be at least brought into the debating arena,as soon as possible as it provides a useful solution to diffusing the issue of religion and at the same time allows for a plausible scientific explanation behind the appearance of the so called ‘Ufos’ throughout the millennia, but especially since 1945 . With Hiroshima one can imagine hypothetically,the kind of comments from a lofty scientific perspective, ‘oh my God, the kids have found the matches!’ We have to look at the whole of humanity as a single biological entity with a predictable stages of development, as one would observe a child developing in the womb. Wonder when the penny is going to drop, especially amongst the scientific community.
Finally What if our scientists started creating life in our own laboratories through DNA synthesis? First they would create simple organisms and as they developed their techniques, would design more and more sophisticated models of living art.This would appear like evolution, except it was a progressive design. And if we eventually ended up by designing intelligent humans just like us, then these would surely start arguing amongst themselves as to whether they evolved or were created. The more primitive of them would think we were gods.

if we embed a certain level of variability in each design to enhance adaptability, then it would be almost indistinguishable from evolution

Comment by Michael

Got the book title: Starlight And Time by Russell Humphreys. White hole cosmology.

Comment by Bobby

Amy,

So the micro-evolution vs. macro-evolution distinction doesn’t fly? Your perspective seems not unlike or rather bares ideological similarity to that of John Haught a professor at Georgetown University. He’s the author of “God After Darwin” He has a great interview on Salon:
http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/12/18/john_haught/index.html?source=rss&aim=/books/feature

In other news, I can’t seem to get to your first ID blog post on MySpace. Myspace only directs me to Myspace.com This may be happening to other people.

Comment by compassioninpolitics

Hey Mr. Compassion…thanks for jumping in.

As I understand it, the micro vs macro discussion is actually the crux of this entire debate. While it’s accepted that species change and develop within themselves, it’s yet to be shown or seen that they can change into altogether different species. I get that. I think I’m at the point, though, where that reality doesn’t necessitate or justify speculation, epseicially if that speculation isn’t testable.

Of course, in another discussion of this same blog that happened on facebook, I was introduced to some new perspectives on scientific testing and reasonable conclusions from those tests. Still not sure, though.

I just don’t want my kids to be subject to the crystals-made-it-happen speculation any more than an agnostic wants their kids subjected to the it-had-to-be-God speculation (even though I believe it was God)…

I’ll check out that book. And hopefully the following link will take you to the original blog: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=7660980&blogID=386710019

Let me know if that doesn’t work…

Comment by amycourts




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