Skip to comments.An idea that provoked, but didn't deliver [by Kenneth R. Miller]
Posted on 12/25/2005 11:16:00 AM PST by PatrickHenry
If there is such a thing as home-field advantage in a courtroom, intelligent design should have carried the day in the Dover evolution trial.
Advocates of ID had the support of the local school board, a case presented by experienced lawyers from the Thomas More Legal Foundation, expert witnesses with scientific credentials, and a conservative judge appointed by President George W. Bush. That judge gave them all the time they wanted to lay out the scientific case for ID. And lay it out they did.
But that was exactly the problem.
In the harsh light of the courtroom, ID shriveled and died. As Judge John E. Jones 3d noted in his opinion, he was forced to come to "the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science." After six weeks of watching from the bench as ID's pseudoscientific arguments fell apart, as it advocates admitted they had no positive evidence for "design," and as school board members "testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath," it was clear that the judge had seen enough.
He slammed the Dover school board's "breathtaking inanity," and he enjoined the board from making ID a part of its curriculum at any time in the future. Jones' devastating opinion is written in clear and accessible language and should be required reading for every administrator, school board member, and science educator in the United States. [Here's the judge's opinion.]
So, exposed, discredited and defeated, ID is finished as an anti-evolution movement, right? I wouldn't count on it.
As the Dover trial showed, ID is nothing more than old-fashioned creationism, distinguished only by its advocates' willingness to be disingenuous about its origins, motivations and goals. But that does little to detract from its appeal. Advocates of ID, such as Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), oppose evolution not because of its scientific flaws, but because they see it as a cultural and moral threat.
In an Aug. 4 interview on National Public Radio, Santorum stated that "if we are the result of chance, if we're simply a mistake of nature, then that puts a different moral demand on us. In fact, it doesn't put a moral demand on us - than if in fact we are a creation of a being that has moral demands." In other words, the problem with evolution, in his view, is that it invalidates morality because it does away with God.
Santorum, of course, has recently retracted his support of those involved in the Dover case. But his principled opposition to evolution remains.
That kind of visceral opposition isn't going to respond to scientific evidence, and it certainly isn't going to be affected by a judge's ruling - even from a judge whom the senator himself supported for the bench.
Nationwide, ID is on the march, and Dover notwithstanding, it's winning. The ID movement has rewritten science-education standards in Kansas, gained the support of legislators in more than a dozen states, and regularly pressures teachers, administrators and textbook publishers to weaken the coverage of evolution. Dover represents a substantial victory for science, but the greater war goes on. And, like many wars, this one results from a profound misunderstanding.
The great fiction that powers the ID movement is that evolution is inherently antireligious. By emphasizing the material nature of evolutionary science, ID advocates are convinced that they can force their antiscience ideas into the classroom in the name of balance and fairness. Once there, they are convinced, students in a society as religious as the United States will surely turn their backs on mainstream science, embracing ID and strengthening their faith in God. Any harm in that?
Why, none at all, if we are prepared to abdicate world leadership by raising a generation of young people so mistrustful of science that they turn their backs on the scientific community and abandon science as a way of knowing about the world and improving the human condition.
A deeper understanding of Western religion in general, and the Christian message in particular, would end this war and blunt the attempts of the anti-evolution movement to divide Americans along cultural lines. As conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote last month, "How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein?" What indeed? For just as Darwin said, there is "grandeur in this view of life," and a deeper understanding of the ways in which "endless forms most wonderful and most beautiful have been and are being evolved" can only deepen our faith and enhance our respect for the unity of scientific and spiritual knowledge.
On this Christmas season, I thank the Lord for the wonderful people of Dover who fought for this decision, and I hope the good news of its wisdom will spread throughout the land.
Bold, underlining, and link to the opinion added by me.
... and sure this was the best Christmas gift.
I'm surprised that some enterprising company, say Ford, hasn't adopted "Intelligent Design" in their advertising.
Yep, one down and many, many more battles to go.
Well I guess I just don't understand then...Miller and Krauthammer say that evolution can be blended easily with the concept of God...maybe, but not the Judeo Christian God, only a God who created nature and then set it on its way to no particulary end or direction except what may happen be chance.
Now, if Miller and Krauthammer say that God is directing evolution to a particular end...then we are back full circle to ID...
So, what is it boys...Judeo Christian God...or something else...or pantheism maybe...or what?
Miller mentions Christian message...Christianity is not a message...it is a statement of certain immutable facts about the univers and Man in particular...you can take it as fact and truth and be a Christian, or you can dilute it into Christianity and water which basically has Christ as a philospher and not God become Man....which is my hunch as to what Miller believes.
YEC INTREP -
It's a good thing they don't see gravity as a cultural and moral threat.
Since God is supposed to move in mysterious ways, the particular ends and directions might well be inscrutable, and thus beyond discussion in religious terms. Tertullian used to put it as "credo quia absurdum", right?
"After six weeks of watching from the bench as ID's pseudoscientific arguments fell apart, as it advocates admitted they had no positive evidence for 'design,' ..."
These guys are downright frightening. No "positive evidence for design"? Baloney. There's plenty of positive evidence for design. What these people mean when they say "no positive evidence" is "no absolute proof." Funny how they require absolute proof for design, but not for evolution. When it comes to evolution, superficial plausibility is enough for them.
The initial response of ID-backers has been an ad hominem attack against Judge Jones. His being appointed by Bush appears to be especially grating.
I disagree with the statement that ID is winning. The Dover experience - 8 school board members defeated - should be a wake-up call for conservatives if they seek to make ID an election campaign issue.
Only if God is directing by interventionist means. Remember that ID only flags features which (allegedly) couldn't have been constructed by "natural" means. However most theists believe that God is fully immanent in the world -- that He is the God of ALL of nature, not just the little "designed" looking bits -- and that there is not a single "natural" process that is apart from His governance of nature.
On this view God is not limited to breaking the laws nature in order to govern it. He can direct nature without doing so. Indeed there may be, in the end, no proper distinction between "God's purposes" and the evolution of nature according to it's "natural" course.
In any case the circling back to ID is only implied, or at least only compelled, if you have an essentially "deistic" view of God: that when He doesn't "appear" to be present (is not blatantly intervening in nature) then He is actually absent. If you believe, OTOH, that God's mastery of nature extends to every photon that flys from the sun, or every leaf that separates from a branch, then -- although there might be other/addition reasons for it -- providential theism doesn't inherently require anything ID.
"Since God is supposed to move in mysterious ways, the particular ends and directions might well be inscrutable"
The Judeo Christian God is the God that made man in his image. If this is true then it is incompatible with the creation of Man by chance a la Darwinism. It is compatible though with evolution directed by God...but that is ID...oh well....
Still, we have Pantheism, which is a nice cozy God that lets you do whatever you want because all is God...both good and evil. Its very popular among new agers and compatible fully with Darwinism.
Does the shoe fit?
"On this view God is not limited to breaking the laws nature in order to govern it. He can direct nature without doing so. Indeed there may be, in the end, no proper distinction between "God's purposes" and the evolution of nature according to it's "natural" course."
I am ok with that. Its still ID in my book...maybe not the ID promoted by ID'rs, but still ID.
Of course, in order for the miracles of Christianity to be true, God did have to intervene in a supernatural way at some point....fish don't multiply in a basket...a man cannot walk on water...etc.
And if one does not believe those miracles, then likely they don't believe that God became Man, and we are back to Christianity and water.
""How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein?""
I agree. It seems to be that the assumption of the creationists (aka IDers) is that God was smart enough to figure out a universe where the physical laws fit together to explain things, but not smart enough to make these same laws create the life forms he wanted.
So, after finishing the creation of the physical laws of the universe, he had to begin "fudging" things to create life and then to create the different forms of life.
I don't think so.
Sometimes. We see frequent statements that the observed regularity in nature is evidence (or even proof) of design. But we often see assertions that it's the observed irregularities (like alleged instances of irreducible complexity) that reveal the role of the designer. It's hard to test a doctrine like that.
The only way to believe it is, per Tertullian, because it is absurd. Intelligent design will be happening when the humans master not only reading the genomes, but understanding them and then writing them ourselves. If we write [and then implement] them intelligently, then it will be Intelligent Design. Probably something like year 2150, give or take.
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