Intelligent Design (ID) is making many headlines these days. You mostly hear from scientisit either for or against. Tonight I read an article on FoxNews by a Catholic Priest chimming in on the issue. He has some good points but get’s there for the wrong reasons. I decided to email him and share some thoughts. Here is what I had to say.
—Beginning of my email—
First off this isn’t hate mail or flame mail so please don’t reject it out of hand, or uh, email box. Second, I know it looks long. It isn’t an attempt to break down your article point by point, it’s just two or three thoughts I tried very hard to communicate clearly.
While I agree with the overall point of your article, I would disagree with the reasoning that led you to your point. For some (not all), trying to get ID into schools may be an attempt to get Biblical Christianity into public schools. For most, I would say that that isn’t their goal. Their goal would be (or at least I think should be) to make evolutionary science more honest with itself. The problem is there is a need to separate or distinguish between operational/empirical science (based on testable and repeatable experiments) from historical science (based on ones presuppositions about the past). Evolutionary theory, whether it be Darwinian or Neo-Darwinian, has mixed the two together and tries to make them the same.
Take for example the Grand Canyon. (I use a geological example instead of a biological example because it was the book Principles of Geology by Charles Lyell that first got Darwin on the long-periods-of-time train and gave his theory room to play.) We are taught that it took millions of years for the observed rock layers to form, and then took millions of more years for the Colorado River to carve out the canyon. That can’t be based on observational science because no one was there to see them form and to tell us how long it took. Rather it is primarily based on historical bias. “The earth must have been around for millions of years so it must have taken a long time for this to happen.” When you approach the same evidence, the same set of facts from an operational science perspective, and try experiments to replicate the result of the Grand Canyon, you find that those layers were in fact laid down rapidly in a catastrophic water event, and the canyon is the result of a secondary event also of a catastrophic nature. Do we have any recorded event in history that would explain this? We do! The flood of Noah (which also appears in the history of 270 cultures around the globe).
You can apply this same method to biology, chemistry, astronomy, information science, etc. If you take away the evolutionary historical science bias (the assumption that there must have been millions of years) and let the observational science speak for itself, you are compelled to lean toward the ID/Creationist camp. Evolutionists and ID/Creationists have the same body of evidence and the same science to work with. The difference is the interpretation of the evidence. This should be the goal of the ID camp; to introduce the idea that the Darwinian/millions-of-years method of interpreting the evidence is not the only way to interpret it. There are other equally valid and scientific ways to do so. Do we want our kids to blindly accept that 2+2=4, or do we also want them to understand why/how it is true? The same things applies to this issue. Do we want our kids to blindly accept that they came from monkeys or do we also want them to understand why/how? If the why/how doesn’t scientifically work then the conclusion can’t be right. What are other possible scientific explanation for where man/life came from? To say there is no other scientific explanation is bad science.
That is what I primarily wanted to say. I’m sure you are going to get a flood of emails from both sides of the issue so I don’t want to take up to much of your time. One last thing though. I was intrigued at your conclusion about the eye and the ID answer being a “down the hall” point. My problem with that is that discerning an intelligent origin for something does seem to fall into observational science and can be tested in a lab, and therefore doesn’t seem to belong down the hall. In fact SETI (the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) is completely devoted to that end. They are scanning the skies for signals from space. Not just any signals of course, but ones that indicate information and intelligence. They have specific criteria for this. When one looks at the eye, or even better, the DNA molecule, it screams of information and intelligence. Can we prove that God made them in the past? No because that is outside of the realm of operational science. You cannot prove or test operationally events in the past. But you can use science to confirm or point to a reasonable conclusion. It’s like finding an article on a website. Can I scientifically prove that you wrote the article? No. Why? Because it happened in the past. But I can look at the evidence (the information, the structure, the grammar, the spelling, etc.) and decide it is reasonable to conclude that it didn’t write itself, that it must have come from some intelligent source. That doesn’t sound very “down the hall” to me.
—End of my email—
I don’t expect to hear back from him, but if I do I will let ya know.