Thursday, March 12, 2009
I just wanted to say something about Intelligent Design. When people hear about Evolution and Darwinism they seem to lack a fundamental understanding of the way science works. There are facts and there are theories. The term 'thesis' refers to an argument in favour of a particular position or idea. "Anti thesis" refers to the counter position. "Synthesis" follows as an appreciation for both points of view in which the best of thesis and antithesis are welded into a new robust idea. Science rests quite firmly on the three pillars of empiricisim, materialism and determinism. This does not mean that this is all there is to science. Science is much more than that but the three pillars are a foundation and a guide to the formation of theory. Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning were further considerations in the development and provision of evidence to support ideas. Predictability was similiar to prophecy in that proof was evidenced by the recognition of universal physical laws. Gravity seemed to apply to Newton's apple and the house cat tossed through the air.
Empiricism simply meant that an idea was testable and reproducible in the physical sense. Determinism suggested that there were laws of cause and effect at play rather than fate alone per se. Religious argument in contrast began with faith or experience and then explained this based on a set of a priori evidence (factors agreed on beforehand). Indeed without faith it's rather difficult to have a religious experience. And having a religious experience makes it rather difficult to live again without faith. Also if I don't believe in something I'm rather less likely to experience it. In contrast science tends to explore the world with a 'hypothesis' or a mere working idea. The trouble with Evolution is that it became a religion for some supposed scientists. When astro physics demonstrated the age of creation, a fact to most scientists, this fact as facts are want to do royally pissed off the religionists of traditional religious ilk and modern scientist religionists.
The age of Creation was clearly not 7 days as it literally said in the Bible suggesting that perhaps that was a metaphor. Equally the fixed age of creation was too short for evolutions favourite notion that man was an advanced monkey. All computer programs to date show that no monkey could produce Bach based on Darwinian evolutionary principles in the limited time of creation. The greatest scientists of the modern age Newton and Einstein were both religious men. C.S. Lewis said that looking for god in creation was like looking for the architect in the wall of a building. The best we can see was the so called 'footprints'.
Intelligent design merely suggested an alternative to random unintelligent development of the earth based on only man's idea. Maybe there was some other idea or intelligence. This was not disimiliar to the religious cross roads of the Copernican Revolution. Evolution religionists would put man at the centre of the universe and say that he was alone and as much a product of random sorting of forces that popped out us humans and disconnected from all else. Indeed human consciousness may well be a mistake. They also have faith that there is no soul though they've clearly not disproved a soul. They represent the old church that said the sun revolved around the earth.
In contrast Intelligent Design suggested a higher power had some influence on the process possibly speeding up evolution in some way even to make monkeys play Bach. It was an inspired universe or a sacred one in which the earth revolved around the sun.
One was egotistical and perhaps arrogant while the other, Intelligent Design, was more truly scientific in that it puts forward an explanation which interestingly was supported by modern String Theory the latest and greatest of physics theories to date. String Theory didn't say there was a higher power but rather that there was room for one or more importantly that science could not say there wasn't one.
Intelligent Design was therefore a humble but robust post modern theory. The higher power could be Yahveh and Jesus or Krishna perhaps or a dead Elvis for all we knew scientifically. It was just an idea that let real scientists get back to the true job of studying the universe and not denying the existence of God which science never was in the business of doing. Science was truly agnostic and individual scientists were historically allowed the religious freedom to be theist, aethiest or agnostic. For whatever reason overnight a base political revolt occurred in science in which Darwin was no longer seen a scientist but rather a new prophet or some might say the Christ of this new scientist religion. As corporate politics intervened, the doors of science were literally locked threatening a new dark age until Intelligent Design opened the doors and restored religious freedom to scientists.
While I am a Christian I'm also a scientist. I can envision a world of Intelligent Design that has a Men In Black layer with a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy flavour all within String Theory but nonetheless ruled ultimately by a loving God with Jesus as son. It's a multidimensional computer age idea that's a bit beyond the mundane mechanical and darwinian explanations that appeared to work well within species but lacked interspecies validity. Darwinism was imaginative a century or so ago but while the mechanisms and processes of evolution continued to have validity it just simply didn't serve as a God killer. Indeed, if God were to be killed, God wouldn't be God. Even the son of God rose again and the soul was immutable.
However as the Buddhists say, go ahead, if you meet God on the road kill him. Enough said of Saint Darwin. I'm going to enjoy this Easter in peace.