August 22, 2005

Evolution, ID, and WHY We are Here

The New York Times, that stalwart bastion of quality, unbiased reporting, has been taking on Intelligent Design quite a bit.

I don't usually cover this topic, simply because I don't know much about it. Once upon a time, it would have fascinated me. Now, I don't pay as much attention as I probably should. But something in this article made me feel that I needed to say something -- something that has been bothering me.

"One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed," said Douglas H. Erwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution. "That's a fundamental presumption of what we do."

That does not mean that scientists do not believe in God. Many do. But they see science as an effort to find out how the material world works, with nothing to say about why we are here or how we should live.

I've emphasized the part I want to talk about, because as I've been reading both sides of the origins issue, everyone seems to contradict that statement. Evolution does seek to show us why we're here. Actually, what it does is tell us that there is no why. We're the end result of a complex development of amino acids and proteins. Our sentience, our morality, or beliefs -- all the end product of years of development biologically. Evolution is less about how the world works than it is about how the world started working.

This is a fundamental problem in the evolution/ID debate. The evolution side doesn't want to admit that they are doing exactly what the ID folks say they are -- that they are trying to find out how life began. Something that the NY Times article says science doesn't do. The issue that divides us is in that fundamental presupposition that Dr. Erwin mentions -- do miracles happen? Is there something outside the natural world, the closed box that naturalist philosophy insists encompasses everything that exists?

ID says that there is. It doesn't attempt to say what that something is -- contrary to the rabid insistance of its opponents, ID is not necessarily a Christian idea. The fact that it attracts more Christians than it does people of other faiths reflects the fact that origins are important to Christians. The idea that God did the creating, rather than random forces of nature, has a tremendous impact on Christian theology. I've written about that before -- not on the blog, but in a paper I wrote for my Systematic Theology II class last semester. The paper is available here, and it's free. The paper got me a 99 from Dr. Mohler, so it must not be too bad, and it makes my point a lot better than I can here. Go ahead and read it, and let me know what you think.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 04:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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