So here is an entry by a doctor in Texas, who innocently posted some random musings about how he doubts Darwin, and next thing he knows, he’s in an argument with Ben and I about evolution and its place in science class. He makes appeals to the fact that he has a life outside of his blogging, so it is hard for him to keep up with the conversation. Fair enough. Everyone knows that all I do is sit on my ass an eat bon-bons, right? But anyway, on to the matter at hand.
Read the whole thing, but what I am going to comment on is his final point:
Debates go on within science class about various aspects of the natural world. Debates also occur in philosophy class about the nature of man, the nature of god, etc. But what happens when a student asks the same question in each class and is given a different answer?
This is what the current Great Debate is about. When the science class and the philosophy class disagree, who decides which is right? It would be helpful if the two classes could talk to each other to see whether the differences can be reconciled. Personally, I feel this is what the Intelligent Design movement is attempting to do. But as long as we insist upon keeping the two disciplines separate, claiming that any mixing would contaminate the other, then we'll simply keep fighting until someone gives up or until one side conquers by force, never really knowing if we were right.
I believe that Religion will often give different answers than science because science and Religion have different rules (the good doctor uses the word philosophy, but I think that is not the word to use.)
Whatever Intelligent Design is attempting to do, there is little that it CAN do without breaking both the rules of science and the rules of Religion. Long-time readers will recall that I originally gave Intelligent Design a fair consideration, much as the good doctor is doing, not because I doubted that Evolution and Natural Selection could make the changes shown in the fossil record from a single ancestor, but because I am a Deist.
So I liked the thought that maybe there were elements to design that could be discovered in our world and nature that could indicate a creator.
But further reading was very disappointing. Instead of the idea that the world functioned according to consistent and functional rules, the purveyors of Intelligent Design go on and on about how the “randomness” of creation could not give rise to the kinds of changes seen in the fossil record.
What had at first appeared to be an attempt to explore the Deistic rhetorical device of “creation implies a creator” or of God being the “first cause” that started the universe spinning and expanding, turned out to be a misappropriation used to force the God of Creation back into the Bible.
The God of intelligent Design did not create a universe of perfection and majesty. The Creator described by Intelligent Design threw together a hodge-podge of wacky elements that don’t work without his constant interference and adjustment.
While the Intelligent Design people may begin the discussion like Deists, they inevitably end it like Medieval Priests, skulking and bowing before a capricious God who doesn’t know what he wants, muddling about in creation continuously, throwing in an eye here, and foot there and giving appendixes and taking them away at a whim without rhyme or reason.
Like the God of the Bible that started out ordering genocides and eradicating the whole world in a flood (only to show regret later), but then changed in the New Testament to a God that wanted us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek; the God of Intelligent design gets his hands in and mucks about changing this, changing that, intervening and interfering in his work like a mechanic that can’t leave well enough alone.
The God of Intelligent Design is not the one that created the world and said “It is good”. There is no seventh day for the God of Intelligent Design.
The God of Intelligent Design does not do things for reasons that humans can understand. His ways are mysterious and unpredictable. What we know of how the world functions is meaningless because he can just reach in and change things at a moment’s notice. Add another eye, turn a fin into a leg here, or subtract a tail there for no other reason than that he wants it that way.
If there is, indeed, a way to get religion and science to talk to each other, Intelligent Design is not the way. It understands too little of science, nothing at all of philosophy, and bows and scrapes too much to the absurdities of Religion, while at the same time contradicting them.