Thursday, August 25, 2005

Monkeyshines


“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”

- Albert Einstein


About three weeks ago George Bush made a statement about the Darwinism/Intelligent Design controversy. This is what the President said:

“Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about,” he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: “Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.”

Judging by some of the responses to his remarks, you’d have thought that the world was coming to an end. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, for example, weighed in with this:

“Bush's comments were “irresponsible,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He said the president, by suggesting that students hear two viewpoints, “doesn't understand that one is a religious viewpoint and one is a scientific viewpoint.” Lynn said Bush showed a “low level of understanding of science,” adding that he worries that Bush's comments could be followed by a directive to the Justice Department to support legal efforts to change curricula.”

Here in Kansas we’re no strangers to the controversy. We’re right in the middle of it. We’ve learned that the moment you question Darwinism you can count on responses like Barry Lynn’s and more. “Reputable” scientists describe us as knuckle dragging Neanderthals who are dangers to humanity. Humanists paint us as wild-eyed fanatics bent on the destruction of science, people who are trying to prop up our weak religious beliefs on the back of noble science.

What I find interesting is that a few years ago a notable politician made the same observation as the President did a few weeks ago and the ones many of us Kansans have been making for some time. On June 13, 2001 the U.S. Senate passed a sense of the senate resolution that read:

“Good science should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and (2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students understand why this subject generates so much controversy and should prepare students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.”

One of the champions of the resolution, a man that Barry Lynn and Darwinists would consider to be a role model of their ideology, was none other than Edward Kennedy. In his support of the amendment, the senior senator from Massachusetts sounded down right heretical:

“Senator Kennedy enthusiastically agreed with Senator Santorum, urging all senators to vote for the amendment because “we want children to be able to talk about different concepts and do it intelligently with the best information that is before them.”

What I find even more interesting is that Mssr. Lynn et all never said a word about Senator Kennedy’s support. Apparently he’s the one ray of sunshine in an otherwise crowded universe of no-nothings.

What is it that has made us doubters such an anathema? It’s this. We want the two sides to debate. It’s as simple as that.

Recently, two scholars of note, John Angus Campbell and Stephen Meyer, wrote an op-ed for USA Today. Campbell and Meyer, who hold differing views on Intelligent Design, both agreed that the debate needs to place and that Darwinism, like any theory, should be subject to questioning and debate:

“The two of us disagree about the status of Darwin's theory. Even so, we think there is a way to teach evolution that advances science education, fosters civil discourse and also respects public opinion. We encourage teachers to present the case for Darwin's theory of evolution as Darwin himself did: as a credible, but contestable, argument. Rather than teaching evolution as an incontrovertible “truth,” teachers should present the arguments for modern neo-Darwinism and encourage students to evaluate these arguments critically. In short, students should learn the scientific arguments for, and against, contemporary evolutionary theory.”

It would be very easy to throw these two under the bus, but their opponents would also have to make it a mass movement:

“Recently, 400 Ph.D.-level scientists, including a distinguished embryologist and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, signed a statement questioning the creative power of the natural selection/mutation mechanism.”

“In May, 15 such doubting scientists from universities such as Cornell, Wisconsin, Georgia and Italy's Perugia came to encourage the Kansas board to let students learn about the evidence challenging (as well as supporting) evolutionary theory.”

“Some scientists also doubt the Darwinian idea that living things merely “appear” designed. Instead, they think living systems display indicators of actual or “intelligent” design. Prominent scientists such as biochemist
Michael Behe and biophysicist Dean Kenyon have cited intriguing evidence to support this theory, such as the presence of digital code, complex circuits and miniature motors in living cells.”

“Additionally, mathematician
William Dembski has developed a statistical method for identifying tell-tale signs of intelligence. Dembski's method of design detection confirms our common sense intuition that digital information — including that found encoded within the DNA inside the cell — points to an intelligent source.”

Opponents of Intelligent Design have been using the same trump card over and over. Like cave men, they club the public incessantly with the notion that, while Intelligent Design proponents are packaging their theory in new wineskins, it’s nothing more than a shell game to introduce the dreaded “G” word into the debate. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, put her objections this way:

“Like creation science, ID was presented as a scientific “alternative” to evolution, though its scientific content was intentionally vague. Its proponents claimed to have a method to identify natural phenomena that are, supposedly, incapable of being explained by evolution. ID advocates contend that "irreducibly complex" structures such as the bacterial flagellum can only be explained by appealing to the action of an intelligent agent.”

“To secure a wide base of creationist supporters, ID advocates are coy about when and how such actions occurred. Because creation science, which insists on a 6,000-year-old Earth, is still the dominant form of anti-evolutionism, ID can't afford to take a stand to the contrary. Nonetheless, the mainstream of the ID movement is sympathetic to what theologians call progressive creationism, where God creates in fits and starts over time, rather than in six days. It's still creationism, and so is ID.”

There you have it. Intelligent Design proponents are nothing more than regurgitated “young-earth” creationists. While she doesn’t directly say that ID proponents are dangerous, she cleverly found a way to defend Darwinism by marginalizing ID proponents.

Now I’m not a scientist or a science junkie, but I do have some of the same questions that a growing number of ID proponents have. There are two in particular that intrigue me. First, how can Darwinists and neo-Darwinists continue to claim that their interest is the purity of science and the good of our children?

Really? I thought science was all about testable hypotheses. Yet I hear a lot of information coming from evolutionists who, upon observing that the universe “seems to” have some intelligent design or purpose behind it, invent new theories to explain that in the infinite number of universes out there that the one we inhabit came into being by “chance.”

It sounds as much like metaphysics to me as it does to science, doesn’t it? It certainly looks like there isn’t a shred of hypothesis in the idea. What it appears for all the world to me is like the old theory that if you had an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time and an infinite number of universes that sooner or later one of the monkeys would write King Lear.

But there’s an even more important question I’d like to get an answer to. What in the hell are the Darwinists so afraid of? I thought science was all about inquiry and rigorous scrutiny. I even think Darwin himself believed that. Could it be that “Their logic seems to have been that the many persons with impressive scientific credentials who have expressed skepticism toward the theory of evolution must not really be scientists, since they have expressed skepticism toward the theory of evolution. More important, the Darwinists educators cannot afford to acknowledge to either their students or the public that there is a distinction between the testable theories of science, on the one hand, and philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science on the other. All Darwinist propaganda depends on blurring that distinction so that a credulous public is taught to accept philosophical naturalism/materialism as inherent in the definition of “science.” On that premise scientific knowledge is deemed the least implausible naturalistic mechanism for creating complex life and therefore true. Sometimes Darwinists say that their naturalism is merely methodological and makes no claims about reality, but of course the method is thought to be sound because it is deemed to reflect reality.”

The reasoning is about as circular as circular can get. The Darwinists “make no claims” about reality. But the minute someone challenges them they retreat into their nihilistic webs and cry “foul.” “No religion allowed in the debate.”

School has started here in Kansas and to the best of my knowledge the universe hasn’t imploded on us. Kansas students are learning. At the same time, Darwinists are avoiding the debate, hoping that the ID proponents will go away. While they hope, they're also banging feverishly away on their typewriters, praying that in their infinite universe with an infinite number of universes as neighbors, one of them may wind up being science’s immortal bard.

11 comments:

Jay said...

Kansas is considered the laughing stock for the rest of the country when it comes to this issue.

Oh well....it takes attention away from Phelps.

Helen said...

I am posting this, in part, tonight but here's one on the same line from Mahatma Gandhi - one of his "Seven Blunders of the World" (his opinion, but who could disagree)
5. Science without humanity
Peace.................

James Fletcher Baxter said...

The scientific totalitarianism of the 'evolutionists' would shut down evolutionary progression - if it were true. It isn't. It is a humanistic metaphysical/religion based on fear, and ridicule - and ignorance. An obvious confession.

The patty-cake group is building a whole collection of theories of Final Answers. Evolution, homosexuality, and...no Creator allowed...carnal lifestyles first priority?

Evolution science is an oxymoron.

Patty-cake?

parated2k said...

Science is man trying to figure out how God did it!

Since scripture isn't an exhaustive study on the physical world, and science has not yet learned how to quantify the spiritual world, why would we look to either to explain the other?

James Fletcher Baxter said...

Good question.

Science as we know it (Western), is based upon the Biblical denoted causal process.

Most all major categories of science were founded by Bible-Believing Christians.(Homework)

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176

semper fidelis

uhohseven said...

Don't people in Kansas take their children to Church? Or is Kansas so depraved that they must force religion on an unwilling public? I think parents who want their children to learn about Intelligent Design should take them to church.

Churches aren't illegal in Kansas, are they?

Phil Dillon, Prairie Apologist said...

Seven (or whoever you are)

No, churches aren't illegal in Kansas.

You apparently didn't get what I was trying to say. Let me spell it out - "Let's have a debate." That's all I was saying.

Brush up on your syntax and grammar a bit and perhaps we can have an intelligent discussion.

Choicemaker said...

They'd rather play patty-cake.

Ed Darrell said...

We had a debate. It started in about 1790, and in 1858 Darwin and Wallace discovered a process that explained why the various forms of creationism were wrong, and which was based on the scientific evidence of geology which disproved creationist geology, and which led to the scientific evidence in biology which disproved creationist biology.

We had a fair debate in Arkansas in 1981. It's enshrined in Judge William Overton's decision in McLean v. Arkansas. Evolution is science. Creationism in all forms, including intelligent design, is religion.

Public schools don't advocate religious dogma. It offends the Constitution.

Choicemaker said...

The public schools advocate dogma of humanism. That is why the evolutionists are so fearful of a questing debate with Intelligent Design scientists and religionists.

What is scientific about Totalitarian control and 'Final Answers?' A gutless nothing!

Patty-cake Dogma? HA!

Ed Darrell said...

Choicemaker, I invite you to tour public schools today, as they are. They don't "advocate" humanism (though some righteously advocate care for humanity and other humans). I don't think they ever did -- but all I know is what saw in textbooks that have been used in this nation since 1650.

Go see what schools really do. Please.