Recent wrangling by The Everlasting Man (in the news here and here) shows a passing familiarity with the arguments for Intelligent Design. The mechanical arguments proposed to bolster ID (irreducible complexity, specified complexity, mini machines?!?, poking holes in the fossil record) are not overly convincing, and have not merited publication in a peer reviewed academic journal.
I commend to readers, the words of Augustine:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
Science actually grew from a worldview founded upon the Bible. As our society turns away from the Creator, it has returned to useless superstitions and ignorance of science. It’s ironic that the scientific establishment, bastion of free thought, should be so hostile to dissent.
In this old Civil Unions thread I mused on this very topic:
I spent some time in the university science library trying to reconcile the claims of creationist “science”, against tenets of the Christian faith, and the mountain of evidence for evolution. The only solution that I believe respects both science and the Bible, is the Catholic position of “theistic evolution”.
Like Augustine I deeply regret the pseudoscience propagated in churches and elevated to an article of faith. No doubt it has caused difficulties to many faithful people who understand science. For a long time I struggled to reconcile the revelations of faith I have received, with the unscientific things I was taught by people I respect.
In non-traditional churches particularly, they seem to delight in their “superior knowledge” of theories such as the “discoveries” of Bob Cornuke or Intelligent Design advocates. It’s a pain because I believe the church DOES have a lot of spiritual insight. But a humble attitude in matters of science would be more appropriate, in light of the dedication of hundreds of academic lifetimes spent discovering the secrets of the universe that God has made.
There are a few synthesising thinkers out there, such as John Polkinghorne or Stanley Jaki, but their scholarship is out of reach of the less scientifically inclined. People are like sheep.
Sheer causality takes us back to the Big Bang or whatever is the current cosmological model. While not particularly fond of “God-of-the-gaps” models (theologically, God is transcendent and immanent in relation to creation), this makes a big space for God, the uncaused First Cause.
Just because we can’t detect Dark Matter does not mean it’s not there.
- Evolution does not preclude the existence of God. Evolution challenged the preconceptions of the established worldview. Nowadays the scientific “no divine intervention” assumption, has been extended to assert soulless materialism in every aspect of life, and tear down any claim to transcendent values such as Right and Wrong. The existence of God is by no means a settled debate in philosophy. The life and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most thoroughly attested event in human history (manuscript, inductive, historical), exceeding the evidence for Winston Churchill for example. The Catholic position of “theistic evolution” offers a coherent synthesis between Christianity and Science.
- There are certain assumptions that science makes to work eg. that the creation is an orderly place, that human reasoning can be used as a tool in the search for knowledge of the creation, and so on. Religion, namely Christianity, provides the theological underpinning for these metaphysical assumptions. This is why Europe has seen the longest sustained period of scientific development. (read Stanley Jaki on this – fascinating). All other ancient cultures stagnated scientifically and mathematically because their theology was flawed.
UPDATE: More comments at Sir Humphrey’s and Philosophy, etc. See also the links to the right, under ‘Science’. The thread has also been taken up at Jarrod’s place and Home, Throne & Altar. This subject wears me out …