Intelligent Design Debate Revisited

One of the things I love about blogging is that not only do I have the opportunity to provide my unsolicited opinions on things but I have the opportunity to solicit knowledge from other bloggers about subjects that I have little knowledge. I’m going to start doing it more often, but I want to return to a subject that we had several months ago on Intelligent Design.

I am bringing the subject up again because of what took place in Dover Pennsylvania. The entire school board that voted to teach ID in the school was voted off the school board. This tells me that the subject of ID is still very controversial and its resolution is still a long way off.

So what are conservatives trying to accomplish with the introduction of ID in science curriculum? Most of us already come to the table with some belief in God and are familiar with the teachings in Genesis. Many of us already believe that the world as we see it was created by a higher power. Therefore, the only dispute is whether life randomly evolved through natural selection or was it designed as we see it. Does the belief in some form of evolution contradict a belief in a high power? Based on the comments of Pat Robertson, I have to believe that there is more to the ID push than simply wanting to provide a more well-rounded education for high school students.




Dell Gines said ...

…I guess my ultimate point is this, evolution
doesn't necessarily contradict the idea of an intelligent designer. Evolution
doesn't account for 'the first cause'. Evolution does n't provide a solution to
the dilema of life coming from non-life (IE a clump of lifeless cells evolving
into the complexity we see today) and I can go on and on. So believe in
evolution takes an equal if not more amount of faith than belief in God…



In one of Dell’s post he mentioned the holes in the theory of evolution. Now, I am sure there are holes in the theory as it is impossible to truly reconstruct the earth’s past conclusively. But at some point don’t scientist make an “educated” guess about those holes. I liken it to a trial of a defendant based solely on circumstantial evidence. The jury does not have the absolutes of the case but have enough to make an educated guess to render a verdict. I believe the same goes for science.

The good thing about science is that as more is learned, those findings are tested against a scientific method and the educated guesses are then rebuked or verified. There doesn’t seem to be a place for that in the ID model. After all, our belief in the Bible is a condition of faith and the Bible states in Hebrew 11: 1-3 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." I am a firm believer in those words but they don’t seem to make for a good scientific model.

But are the supporters of ID trying to introduce the literal interpretations of the Bible to the science class? We know that in Genesis that God created the earth in six days. But is it six days as we see it or six days as God sees it? If it is six days as we see it then doesn’t the scientific evidence showing the earth is millions of years old contradict the existence of God? If it is six days as God sees it, then how do we scientifically prove what six days actually are without using scientific methods of dating? On the contradictions, there were several posts that discussed this.



Dell Said…

I guess my ultimate point is this, evolution doesn't
necessarily contradict the idea of an intelligent designer. Evolution doesn't
account for 'the first cause'. Evolution does n't provide a solution to the
dilema of life coming from non-life (IE a clump of lifeless cells evolving into
the complexity we see today) and I can go on and on. So believe in evolution
takes an equal if not more amount of faith than belief in God.




Cynthia Said…

For me evolution doesn't contradict God. If God
created everything and he/she gave us the tools to understand the creation in
human terms, then I think it is the will of God to do so.

You can't
reconcile ID with the bible if you do it literally. If you believe in ID - then
you must also conclude that the bible shouldn't be taken literally period. This
is why I think they are treading on thin ice with this ID theory.




Kansasscott Said…

In the Hebrew language (language of the Old
Testament) days can be translated periods, as in periods of time. Those within
the ID camp vary greatly on whether 6 days is literal or not. The key for me is
two verses in Genesis, "in the beginning God created", is the first one. How He
created is not revealed, nor is it important, only that God is the creator. The
second phrase is stated after something is created, when it says, "and they
produced after their kind." Nothing evolved into a totally different species.
There is evolvement within species types, though.

The gist of this debate is whether or not the theory of evolution should have a counter point and what should that counter point consist of when presented to students. To say evolution is a theory and there are other theories makes no sense if you are not going to introduce those theories to a scientific method. After all, it is a science class.

We know that by faith people are healed. God does heal people. However, we don’t teach God's healing in medical school. When you go to a doctor to check your cholesterol, you’re not expecting him to tell you to pray to God and He will bring your cholesterol down. It’s not to say that God is not capable of healing high cholesterol, but a healthy diet and exercise is a scientifically proven method and that is what we expect from doctors. Is that now what we expect from science? If evolution is a theory open for challenge, is not the idea of a Intelligent Designer open for being rebuked or verified?

The question is, how many different theories to the evolution of earth are there? Are the supporters of ID looking to introduce all of them or just the one based on Biblical principles? If it is not all of them, then one has to ask if the introduction of ID is simply a way of proselytizing in the public schools. Is the ID model only for the evolution chapter of science class or integrated within all phases of biology, chemistry, physics and earth science?

And what is so wrong with saying that evolution is just a theory but not the only theory? Most kids already know that by the time they reach high school.

The comment are is open for another non-pc discussion.

UPDATE: There is a post on Reve's Take discussing this issue. She comes from the perspective of a supporter of ID.

 

20 Responses to Intelligent Design Debate Revisited

  1. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 14 05

    Hey James:
    I think I said my piece on Revka's blog already, but will rephrase here. God has infinite tools and ability. There is no reason why he couldn't have used evolution as one of them. Next, Dell's comment shows true ignorance. Unfortunately many people have those unsubstantiated and ill informed notions. He negates physics when he says that evolution doesn't have a first cause. INCORRECT! And like you said, he is trying to deconstruct the legitimacy of evolution with no substantive criticisms. I don't know of any other theories floating around besides evolution in the scientific community. But the word evolution means so many things to folks in science other than biology. As a physics student, evolution of a wavefunction (describes state of a system) is deterministic and can be caluclated (however ugly it can be done in principle). Now, in terms of the big bang theory, that is a first cause to me. Hey, I don't wanna ramble cuz I gotta go to lunch but...Good post!
  2. Cynthia Says:
    James,

    If ID is to be taught, then someone will have to come up with some experiments that can test whether God exists or not. Once that happens, then anyone should be able to repeat those experiments and get the exact results. If this doesn't occur, then one has to question the validity of the results. In the scientific community when this occurs, people have to retract their data. This is why when you talk about ID in this light, it will be very difficult to prove that there is a God that created everything because what experiments can be used to determine the existence of something higher than ourselves.

    Having said all of this, I don't think if you want to believe in God, there is anything necessarily wrong with it. But this is belief or faith, not science.
  3. James Manning Says:
    Thanks for the comments. Mahn, what about theories floating outside of the scientific community. ID being on but I would assume that there are others. Are those in support of ID looking to add all of those theories or just the one based on the book of Genesis? How do you incorporate ID into the study of physics?
  4. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 14 05

    James, I will say it again:Physics supports the idea of the Big Bang and how THAT IS THE CREATION! Whether or not the creation can be attributed to a creator is something else, but many physicists actually DO believe in something greater than themselves.

    Cynthia: you haven't incorperated the physics into your discussions. Why I wonder? Physics is the basis for all the sciences, even Linus Pauling said so. I wonder why everyone is so focused on biology. Without the Big Bang none of us would be here, so that is where I begin discussions about the origin of the Universe!

    And although I see the point about proving whether God exists via an experiment, we all have acknowledged that such an experiment is impossible, as God is something that transcends time, space and our tangible universe. God is more of a philosophical concept that has to be discussed in philosophical ways,not scientifically. But yet, you can speak of God's creations because they are tangible.

    In science Cynthia, you know how much we have to take on faith. Neutrinos having mass wasn't because they were directly observed, that discovery was made by looking at collsions with other particles that had a certain amount of energy release, we INFERRED that nuetrinos had mass it wasn't directly observed. This is because we have no real way of detecting single neutrinos right now. That is the point, religion deals with faith and some aspects of science are also faith based.

    Needless to say, if we focused on the physics, I betcha this debate wouldn't even be occuring. I see flaws with the ID implementation in schools because of how they want to introduce it; as an alternative to evolution. I feel that they are two sides of the same coin...
  5. James Manning Says:
    Mahn, this is the first time that I have ever heard anyone inject physics into the equation. I believe the reason we focus on biology is because that is where students are first introduced to the theory of evolution. physics is an advance high school subject and most states only require two years of science so most students don't get to that point.

    Are you saying that there is no way to introduce ID to a physics class making it pointless to introduce to any science class? Also, what I am most confused about is that one could make an arguement that evolution picks up where creation stopped.

    So if physics proves the big bang theory then we could simply say that it was God who initiated the big bang and the rest is history.
  6. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 14 05

    I know it sounds strange James, but one could argue that point; that the creation of the universe via the Big Bang was evidence of something that caused it to happen! Circular reasoning, I know especially given the fact that spacetime began during/after the Big Bang. So to speak of something existing before the BB makes no sense. But whatever caused it to happen is out of time and out of the realm of human conception. One of my finest physics professors just said: "The universe was designed that way..." when someone asked him about all the symmetries in the universe. My theoretical physicists believe in something bigger because they see patterns and symmetries everywhere! So much order isn't random, and even in chaotic systems there is order. So to me, God is THE CREATOR or the CREATION however you wanna look at this. But in terms of ID, I still am unsure how it could be implemented in a class room setting. Rather I think the CONCEPT should be discussed. One of my first science teachers said: " For those of you folks who believe that God created the universe, don't let this stuff (evolution) bother you. Just think of it as a way that God created!" So that is my take and I think that is how evolution should be taught. Because after all, one always wonders about the why and how and what caused the big bang etc. OK I am now rambling.

    And to speak to your statement about physics in high schools, I find that utterly shameful. Physics is the basis for ALL sciences-chemistry, biology, computer science etc. Math and physics are one in the same discipline, IMO. So it bothers me that more folks don't discuss physics and that it isn't a requirement at all high schools!
  7. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 14 05

    OH BTW: I should add that I don't think creation stopped and evolution took over; No siree! I believe that the creation engendered evolution and other means of developing in the universe!
  8. Cynthia Says:
    Mahndisa,

    I'm not about to argue the physics of ID since I'm not qualified to do so just like the people who are arguing for ID to be in school can’t argue their point based upon biology which they are trying to refute.

    I do know how to test things scientifically based upon a biological point of view. And I do understand biological systems even how those systems affects homosexuality. And people found this difficult to follow or accept.

    Biology is the extent of my argument - it would be foolish of me to argue from a physicist point of view.

    I would love to read an argument against ID based upon physics, but this girl is not qualified to start a discussion like that.
  9. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 14 05

    Hello Cynthia:
    I feel you on that. I similarly am not qualified to speak on the minisule knowledge I have on biology. I simply think that there is truth in the middle of all of this. Just look up how spacetime began commensurate with the Big Bang. That will either give you evidence for a God, or against a God depending upon how you read it. Being that I am a theist, I take the former view:)
    And like I said, we can't know whether or not God exists via an experiment. That is better left up to the province of faith and philosophy. Good discusion!
  10. Cynthia Says:
    Even if you have two courses in physics in college, which I have, you will not be able to discuss ID from a physicist point of view no more than people can talk about the genetics of homosexuality.

    Even in the video "what the bleep do we know" illustrates that people always tend to discuss the various phenomenons in terms they understand.
  11. Cynthia Says:
    Mahn,

    I agree - this is why God should be left out of schools. Some things should be left alone.
  12. Malik Says:
    You know, one of my principles in life has been, "when two people argue about religion, they're both wrong." I think I have a new corollary to that principle: "When two people argue about science and religion, they don't understand either."
  13. bold as love Says:
    It's been said, 'science is the blueprint of God's work', I tend to agree along those lines- With that said let me say I welcome theories, even ones I do not agree with- evolution has flaws, but I believe it is trying to resolve these flaws is what will bring understanding- I don't like the attempt to force religion on anyone- it's hypocritical of conservatives to try(I believe putting forth the intelligent design theory in the manner in which they did is just a veiled attempt to do so)especially when we are trying to destroy terrorists that are trying to force their faith upon us. In the end good science always emerges, mysteries are solved, splitting atoms is an example- argued over, dismissed by some, but it came to be. Looking at the issue from the view point of physics is a great idea.
    Later'
  14. Jaimie Says:
    The truth is that no living human being on this planet knows the origin of life and the universe. No one really knows.
  15. Dell Gines Says:
    "Next, Dell's comment shows true ignorance. Unfortunately many people have those unsubstantiated and ill informed notions." - Mahndisa

    Mahndisa, what is the personal beef you have with me besides our disagreement over homosexuality? I have noticed many pot shots lately. I personally don't have a beef with you so what's up?


    My second question is this, do you realize that even though you are attempting to counter my quote, you are actually validiting it's premise?

    " There is no reason why he couldn't have used evolution as one of them." - Mahndisa

    "Physics supports the idea of the Big Bang and how THAT IS THE CREATION! Whether or not the creation can be attributed to a creator is something else, but many physicists actually DO believe in something greater than themselves." - Mahndisa

    "…I guess my ultimate point is this, evolution doesn't necessarily contradict the idea of an intelligent designer. Evolution
    doesn't account for 'the first cause'. Evolution does n't provide a solution to the dilema of life coming from non-life (IE a clump of lifeless cells evolving into the complexity we see today) and I can go on and on" - Dell

    You correctly state that physics doesn't deal with the cause of the big bang, but simply uses the big bang (theory) as a way to explain genesis. My quote corresponds directly with this as it says evolution and intelligent design, depending on the outlook of the theorist are not incompatible concepts.

    The difference would be from that particular outlook that from an intelligent design position, it asserts that an intelligent creator produced the big bang to implement his design through evolution.

    Now being that that is all you can gather from the limited quote that James put up, and since you have agreed with the premise of that quote in your statements on this thread...

    Does that mean we are being ignorant together :)?
  16. Cynthia Says:
    It appears whenever people try to mix science and biology in this fashion the result is that someone will take a pot shots if they can't convince you of their point.

    These types of conversations never turn out to be a productive exercise because everyone is always too quick in saying the other side is ignorant when they don't agree with their argument.
  17. Cynthia Says:
    I meant to say religion and science.
  18. Kathleen Callon Says:
    Great posts. The comments are fun, too. It's hard to understand how so many people can have such strong opinions about that which no one can really truly be 100% certain. Peace.

    Kat
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