8/18/07

The Darwinism/Intelligent Design debate

I often think of The Christian Century as the theologically moderate and politically left-leaning magazine with the ridiculous name (the magazine was started in the early 20th century which was expected to be the Christian Century) that often has a negative opinion of conservative evangelicals.

SO, I must confess that (because of my own stereotyping) I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the most thoughtful articles that I have ever run across on the Intelligent Design controversy right in the pages of The Christian Century's June 12 issue.

J. Scott Turner, addresses insightfully in a few short pages, the philosophical underpinnings of science in general, the history of the Darwinianism debate and the various historical incarnations of what is now being called "Intelligent Design" (ID).

As a biologist himself, he addresses very well the reaction of scientists which has been too often dismissive, fallacious, irrational and occasionally even a bit histerical: "Rather than simply lament that so many people take ID seriously, scientists would do better to ask WHY so many take it seriously..."

Even more significant perhaps than his calls for intellectual honesty on the part of scientists whe are supposedly committed to impartial investigation and free exploration of ideas, near the end of the article, he addresses the potentially dangerous trend of defering the issue to the lawyers and the courts who will decide what is and is not good science and what constitutes proper education.

These issues are, in my opinion, highly significant to the larger question of how a society engages in reasoned and fair debate so as to make well-informed and wise decisions (or if it does so). So the article is very much worth the read: Click here.

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7 Comments:

Blogger John T. Meche III said...

My problem with intelligent design is that it's a cop out. It's like people got tired of arguing for literal creation and just decided to argue for something "more reasonable" (meaning more digestible by American culture) which is not the God literally created in 7 days but that He was designer behind all of the things that are. It's a nice try, but it's not nearly close enough for me. It's like saying that Jesus didn't really die during the crucifiction so it's completely reasonable that he was alive 3 days later. Sounds reasonable..but it's not true.

11:00 AM, August 19, 2007  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

John Meche III - good to hear from you! We definitely need to get coffee sometime. And when did you become a fundamentalist? I gotta get you off all that Calvinistic stuff...haha!
Maybe a discussion of the relationship between natural and scientific knowledge and revealed knowledge is in order?

9:26 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Stephen said...

Daniel,

I might just win you over yet, I subscribe to the Christian Century, yes label me a liberal, but I find that 95% of their articles are reasonable, well thought out, well researched, and well presented without resorting to conservative v. liberal connotations and descriptions. The subjects are usually much more of the serious fare compared to Christianity Today and other religious serials.

As for the article I thought it was a great commentary, especially his argument about the proper perspective of ID as an emerging criticism of materialism in science and evolution. (i.e. pointing out the flaws of science and evolution) something that religion should be doing and science should welcome as another voice.

Pax,
Stephen

11:52 AM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Hey Stephen,

CC is growing on me, but I'm still a little leery of what seems to me a rather overt political leftistism (that's not a real word - but you know, they did a covery story recently on Obama's home church. Hmm...what about McCain or Guliani (or whomever)? It's like listening to the mainstream media: you'd think the presidential election was down to Obama and Clinton.
But it could be one of those things that it just so happens they are doing that stuff at the very moment I choose to look and see what they are doing, so that my own perspective is skewed. I still (even after 3 years at perkins) am a big fan of Christianity Today - they seem to me to do a good job of trying to be ecumenical and evangelical, thoughtful and pious. And (as is often the case with mainstream Evangelical organizations compared to mainline groups) their website is way cooler and much more useable (i.e. compare Asbury's website with Perkins' - there's no contest: Asbury is clearly on the cutting edge).

12:55 PM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hey mainstream has never been cutting edge, if anything we are a little behind. :)

If you think thats funny check out my alma mater's website (Louisiana Tech) v. your alma mater's website (LSU). I wonder if it is also a money/resource thing?

BTW if you thought they were only in it for Leftist(?) Presidential candidates, the issue I just got has a huge cover story on Mitt Romney and the possibility of a Mormon in the White House. (Haven't got a chance to read it yet)

2:30 PM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger Stephen said...

P.S. And as I just noticed when I opened it has a story about the importance of Latin Mass. (Now I know you will want to read it)

2:36 PM, August 21, 2007  
Blogger Josh said...

You know, I used to be kind of fearful of science mostly because I really didn't understand some of the language and basic concepts. I read some of the creationist stuff out there but found some of the ideas kind of hokey (like dinosaurs in the bible; don't know about that). I later took a biology course at my university and was amazed to discover nothing I learned brought any amount of doubt to my faith.

The reason ID is growing among scientists is that there is really no rational way to explain the complexity of a single cell. It's a universe in itself. Or the reason "why" an organism would evolve.

Those who don't think that ID is compatible have to remember that science doesn't deal with the metaphysical. That's where we come in.

8:17 PM, August 21, 2007  

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