Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Evolution: Intelligent Deception

If you've been following the news recently, a Philadelphia court has banned the teaching of Intelligent Design theories (ID) in public schools. The judge said "that while intelligent design, or ID, arguments 'may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science.' Among other things, he said intelligent design 'violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation'; it relies on 'flawed and illogical' arguments; and its attacks on evolution 'have been refuted by the scientific community'"(MSNBC). These are the same rebuttals the Neo-Darwinians have been throwing in the air for twenty years, but they're just not true. And I find this all the more annoying, being myself a high school biology teacher.

1. "ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science." But there are two ways in which Evolutionists (my name for those who hold to Darwin's theory of "Descent with Modification by Natural Selection") also violate the "ground rules" of empiricism: (1) Things can only be stated as facts that have occurred (1) during the time of experimentation, observation, or recoding. Thus
their absolute claims upon past events prior to, say, the 1870s, are illegitimate. (2) Scientific patterns of cause-and-effect can only conclusively be determined within the boundaries of a controlled experiment. Outside of the exact time and conditions of a given experiment, we cannot make definitive causal statements.

2. "ID relies on flawed and illogical arguments." For an easy way to blow this statement out of the water, one only has to read Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: Touchstone, 1996). His biochemical analyses of "irreducibly complex" biological systems such as the blood clotting cascade make it incredibly difficult to attribute such systems to random genetic changes acted upon by natural selection. Also, his mathematical analyses of the formation of functional classes of proteins sock Evolution in the jaw.

Beyond biochemistry lies the ultimate aim of both ID and, unadmittedly, Evolution: origins. And here is where ID shines or, more accurately, Evolution's demand for scientific naturalism and materialism falls to pieces. Over the past several decades, the Big Bang theory has become widely accepted and confirmed as showing that the universe had an origin in time. Its chief competitor, Steady State theory, has been all but wholly dismissed. (Although nowadays new theories about a "cycling" universe of continual expansion-contraction-expansion are developing.)

You see, any chemist will tell you that if within a system of atoms or molecules, if all the given forces at work are truly balanced, no reaction will happen. The system is at equilibrium. But as soon as there is a disruption, then reactions happen. Now according to laws of thermodynamics, unless outside energy is added to a system (in the case of the Big Bang, the whole of the universe), no reaction will occur within a truly homogenous, stable system. So if the universe's matter just happened to exist in a truly homogenous state with no unbalanced forces, the Big Bang could have only occurred with the assist of a "nudge" from some extra-cosmic Mover, an impetus or source of energy from outside of the universe itself. Or, to look at it from a different angle, if no such "push" occurred, then for the Big Bang to have happened, the universe's matter could never have eternally existed in some homogenous state. So it had to have a creation point. Either way, we see that a Being either had to have existed prior to matter and has brought matter forth (creationism, spiritualism/supermaterialism, and supernaturalism), or this Mover had to exist separate from matter and has acted upon it (supernaturalism and supermaterialism). And I won't even get into the Big Bang and the law of efficient causality.

I'm not saying ID is the answer. From a purely scientific basis, it probably isn't. But the dogmatism with which Evolution is taught and its necessary presuppositions of materialism and naturalism have got to go. Even when we don't have a better answer, we can't say something is true simply because it's "the best we've got."

1 comment:

Ryan P.T. said...

Very good. I'm glad you commented on this, because I think I read the same story as you on MSNBC, and I was fuming. And how about a journalist actually READS something about ID, instead of the glib "the belief the world is too complex to not have a creator" nonsense. Sheesh. If I'm not careful, though, I'm going to start sounding like a fundie.

In other news, you're really smart.