November 11, 2005
The theory of "Intelligent Design" has brought the state
of Kansas as well as Dover Pennsylvania to the forefront
of news. In Kansas, a school board allows for the
teaching of intelligent design as part of public school
science classes, and in Dover, Pennsylvania, school
board members supporting the teaching of intelligent
design theories are voted off the board in the off-year
Intelligent design is a theory that certain features of
the universe and of living things are best explained by
an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process
such as natural selection. Intelligent design is thus a
scientific disagreement with the core claim of
evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living
systems is an illusion.
Reading this you may first think that God is supposed to
be the designer, but that still remains an illusive
point according to the above definition.
What can we look for in history that sees similar
conflicts in science and faith? The most famous early
controversy was the trial of Galileo in 1633 for
publishing Dialogue, a book that supported the
Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the
sun, rather than as purported by the Church, the other
way around. As we know now, Copernicus was 100% correct.
A November 10, 2005 edict (fatwa?) from "Reverend" Pat
Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town
Thursday that disaster may strike there because they
"voted God out of your city" by ousting school board
members who favored teaching intelligent design. "I'd
like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a
disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just
rejected him from your city."
I have to ask what brand of religion is Pat Robertson
professing. The god of Pat Robertson is not the same God
that I as a Christian hold my belief. My God loves all
his children, and would not reject their prayers. I pray
that Pat Robertson becomes a true Christian.
Now let me state here, that your worthy author is
himself conservative, and a Christian - leastwise I
consider myself one. I believe that Jesus was the Son of
God, and that his death and resurrection is my salvation
after this life.
Reading again, you will see that I used the word
"believe". I believe because I was taught to believe by
my parents who were taught the same, and so forth. There
was no scientific method to my belief, it just is. If I
was born a Muslim or a Jew, I would, like Christians
believe that there is only one God, but the messenger
who I follow would be different. This leads us to then
examine, as stated in the title, what is the source of
in intelligent design theory?
I will also state, that as a Christian I believe that my
God created the Sun, Earth, universe, time...everything.
However that still doesn't explain intelligent design as
a scientific theory so much as a philosophical one. I
think that there are still unexplained areas of science
to which we look for answers. Two-hundred years ago,
cancer was always deadly. It was, in essence, "Gods
will" to call you back. If we as humans don't evolve,
then how come we create cures for cancer, eliminate
diseases from the earth, and visit other moons and
planets? We evolve because our intelligence evolves.
It is ironic that the scientific medical community works
so hard against the notion of "survival of the fittest".
In his book
Angels & Demons, one of Dan Brown's
characters had a philosophy that "science and religion
are not at odds, science is simply too young to
understand"... But...which religion?
Let me pose some questions as to who or what is the
Intelligence behind "Intelligent Design"
1. Does the "intelligent design" theory have to be
2. If we accommodate other religions, can we use
reincarnation as part of the "evolutionary" process? In
other words, if reincarnation, which I do not believe
has any conflict with Christian doctrine, is accounted
for, how does that tie in with the intelligent design
3. Should teachers be allowed to teach alternate
theories of intelligent design? We know that humans
cannot create things like crop circles - so if the
theory that humans were brought to this planet by a race
of hyper-intelligent extraterrestrials - is that a
tenant of intelligent design that needs to be explored?
4. Should we stop all scientific study if they conflict
with the theories of intelligent design? In other words,
if years from now, we are able to scientifically explain
the gaps we consider only possible from an intelligent
designer, which theory should we then follow?
Though the questions above seem tongue-in-cheek, they
are important. If intelligent design is not a study of
religion, then all theories as well as the philosophies
of all religious tenants need to be examined, including
those that conflict with Christian, Jewish, and Islamic
Religion, or the belief of higher beings and power not
of this world are also part of almost every culture and
race on this planet. I do not discount this belief -
rather I embrace it. I would look to cultural
anthropology to help determine the ways that cultural
religion, the power of prayer, and how worship affects
the growth of a society.
To summarize, it needs to be decided what the teaching
of intelligent design is to encompass. If it is merely
an infusion of Christian-only doctrine into public
school science, then it should be discounted. If taken
as an exploration of all theories of an intelligent
infusion into creation, then lets have a go.
Ben Franklin may have had a bit of advice to the folks
of Dover Pennsylvania after the "Reverend" Pat
Robertson's rebuke. As he told his daughter, "Go
constantly to church, whoever preaches ... for the
discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet
and clear waters come through very dirty earth."