I.D. Vs. Evolution
The last post on the Vatican’s article rebuking Intelligent Design netted a couple of responses one of which is here in part.
“While the curriculum proposed by the proponents of ID in the Pennsylvania case was questionable as to whether it was more religious than scientific, there are numerous counter examples in the geological record, fossil evidence, and other fields of science that call into question many of the assumptions drawn from theory of evolution.
Good scientific method (which by the way was originated by Grosseteste, a Catholic priest) and intellectual honesty demands that all evidence be considered and taught in order to discover and understand the laws governing God's creation. However, current evidence calling aspects of evolution and uniformitariansm into question are not taught in our schools. It's important to remember that science never proves anything; it only investigates and must accept that even one counter-example can call into question a theory that has been accepted for centuries.
Thus, Copernicus and Galileo should have been accepted. So too, should Michael Behe's (a Catholic) work in "Darwin's Black Box", as well as other scientists' work that demonstrates evidence of Intelligent design as opposed to random chance behind the origin of life and the universe, be examined honestly and taught since it adheres to the scientific method.
Aristotle's theory of spontaneous generation and Ptolemy's geocentric model of the solar system was held onto for centuries despite evidence to the contrary simply because of the scientists' reputations and because their theories were accepted by the culture. Our current society is permeated with attitudes derived from Darwin's work (e.g. social Darwinism), uniformitarianism and the so-called enlightenment that pits religion against science when it was the world view of Christianity that gave birth to the scientific method during the middle ages (i.e that we can know God better by understanding His creation). It has been the work of devout Christians that have made great advances in science. (e.g. Bacon, Mendel, Pascal, Einstein, etc.) Will we fall into the trap again of rejecting scientific evidence and thought simply because it bucks established cultural norms that claim that faith and scientific reason are at odds with each other?“
The sentence that most telling is “So too, should Michael Behe's (a Catholic) work in "Darwin's Black Box", as well as other scientists' work that demonstrates evidence of Intelligent design as opposed to random chance behind the origin of life and the universe, be examined honestly and taught since it adheres to the scientific method.
I would refer anyone interested to Michael Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” which seems to be the main text of the proponents of Intelligent Design.
Unfortunately it is published by a science teacher as a scientific text. Reading any of the reviews reveals it is not supported by any proofs what so ever.
My reply to the letter above follows.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. It has challenged me to formulate my thoughts on the subject.
Please indulge me a little time to reply.
I want to review Dava Sobel's "Galileo's Daughter"
"In 1609, when Suor Maria Celeste (his daughter) was still a child in Padua, Galileo had set a telescope in the garden behind his house and turned it skyward. Never-before-seen stars leaped out of the darkness to enhance familiar constellations; the nebulous Milky Way resolved into a swath of densely packed stars; mountains and valleys pockmarked the storied perfection of the Moon; and a retinue of four attendant bodies traveled regularly around Jupiter like a planetary system in miniature.
"I render infinite thanks to God," Galileo intoned after those nights of wonder, "for being so kind as to make me alone the first observer of marvels kept hidden in obscurity for all previous centuries."
If you haven't read this book it is a wonderful account of Galileo and his daughters faith.
Also I refer to this article in Physics Web that discusses the "proofs" of Pythagoras. Pythagoras is, of course, known for the "proof "of the right triangle. The concept of the formula was know well before Pythagoras but it was his "proofs" that set the rigorous scientific standards that were used by Galileo and are still used by our scientific benchmarks today. The right triangle is in some ways an easier "theory" to explore than the more emotional challenge of evolution.
"Thomas Hobbes (1588- 1679) saw a display copy of Euclid's Elements opened to Book I Proposition 47, Pythagoras's theorem. Pythagoras's theorem is important for its content as well as for its proof. But the fact that lines of specific lengths (3, 4 and 5 units, say) create a right-angled triangle was empirically discovered in different lands long before Pythagoras. Another empirical discovery was the rule for calculating the length of the long side of a right triangle (c) knowing the lengths of the others (a and b), namely c2 = a2 + b2. A Babylonian tablet from about 1800 BC shows that this rule was known in ancient Iraq more than 1000 years before Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century BC. Ancient Indian texts accompanying the Sutras, from between 100 and 500 BC but clearly passing on information of much earlier times, also show a knowledge of this rule. An early Chinese work suggests that scholars there used the calculation at about the same time as Pythagoras, if not before.
But what we do not find in these works are proofs - demonstrations of the general validity of a result based on first principles and without regard for practical application. Proof was itself a concept that had to be discovered. In Euclid's Elements we find the first attempt to present a more or less complete body of knowledge explicitly via proofs."
There are no scientific and there cannot be scientific "proofs" applied to belief. We believe because it resides in our "souls".
There can only be "proofs" applied to scientific tenets. Can evolution be "proven" NO! Are "proofs" available to keep the "theory" of evolution the most viable explanation of the origin of species, YES! Should they be challenged vigorously YES!
Do such "proofs" exist for I.D.? I'm sorry no such "proofs" exist, nor does Mr. Behe attempt to provide any. His book is devoid of any scientific "proofs", only opinions that cannot be challenged. The phrase "irreducibly complex" that he uses to define his "theory" merely says "we can't know so we shouldn't try to know".
My thesis is not a debate of evolution vs. I.D. but how believers reconcile their belief in the modern world in the face of scientific exploration. Just as Pope Urban VII censored Galileo's realistic observations of the solar system unjustly, I.D. tries to deny realistic observations of the origins of life. How then do we find God in this? Intelligent Design denies any belief in GOD.
I will argue that belief is not denied by scientific exploration and that observation of the majestic wonder of life will only make our beliefs stronger. I believe that is why Professor Fiorenzo Facchini wrote in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper 'It is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."
In other words IMHO I.D. is a philosophical/religious discussion NOT a scientific one and should be separated from science classrooms. It is this philosophical/religious discussion that should be engaged in the appropriate forum.
Here is food for thought. In the quest for the origins of our species it is widely believed that we (humans) first appeared in central Africa from one common ancestor. Fifty thousand years ago central Africa could have easily been called an Eden. The Leakey's "Lucy" (or one of the early homo-sapiens) could be the "Eve" that we are all descended from. Discounting whether I am a monkeys uncle (sorry) hasn't "science" taken a step towards verifying a crucial part of the first book of the Torah (known to us as Genesis)? Could it be that sound "science" will lead us to our origins rather than an a denial of the real world around us? Could it be that God, who created this so very real world, will in his own time and wisdom reveal it to us through our vigorous scientific exploration?
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