Thursday, December 22, 2005

ID That Debate Once Again

Advocates of 'Intelligent Design' Vow to Continue Despite Ruling by Michael Powell, washingtonpost.com, Dec 22, 2005
A federal judge's ruling in Pennsylvania that "intelligent design" is religious fundamentalism dressed in the raiment of science has wounded a politically influential movement.
This opening statement, I think, misses the point. It's not that ID is a political movement seeking to gain power in the halls of government. It is a scientific explanation based on a theological worldview that is seeking to influence the public square. And rightly so. For evolutionary theory is a scientific explanation based on an atheistic worldview that has dominated the public square for decades. What we see are two competing philosophies debating not only how life came to be, but what that answer necessarily implies.

A "skirmish" in the courts is simply an expression of the cultural debate that has moved center stage. And this demonstrates that, far from being wounded, the ID movement is gaining strength. The article quotes William A. Dembski, a philosopher and Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, who wrote in his blog: "ID is rapidly going international and crossing metaphysical and theological boundaries."

I agree. And I believe this is a good thing. It used to be said of theology that she was the Queen of the Sciences, which means it gives context to all organized collections of knowledge (which is what science really is, btw). Allow me an extended quote from a homily by a Fr. Ray which I came across recently.


"Theology: the ‘queen of the sciences’ who must be re-enthroned."

In years past, theology was known as "the queen of the sciences." "Science" in this context means "an organized body of knowledge" - thus it applies to subjects other than biology and the physical sciences, although it includes those as well.

Why was theology given this title by scholars and saints in prior centuries?

Because these very wise men and women understood a basic truth - a truth which many intellectuals of our generation have either ignored or forgotten. You can express the truth in this way: Good theology, good everything else; bad theology, bad everything else.

For example, if your theology is good (in other words, if your understanding of God and his eternal law is correct), then your morality will be good (in the sense that you will clearly recognize the difference between right and wrong, the difference between virtue and vice).
Good theology, good medicine. Bad theology, bad medicine. (viz abortion)
Good theology, good politics. Bad theology, bad politics. (viz terrorism)
Good theology, good economics. Bad theology, bad economics. (viz communism)
Good theology, good technology. Bad theology, bad technology. (viz Internet Explorer - just kidding, although I do like Firefox :-)

Good theology, good science. Bad theology, bad science. Videlicet, evolutionary theory that is blind to its biases. I'm not saying ID doesn't have a bias. I'm just saying it makes more sense of the observable world than random mutation. It isn't a political movement; it just happens to be a scientific idea whose time has come. And like evolutionary theory before it, it comes with political, social, and religious ramifications.

12/23 Update & Links: Continued Discussion at Extreme Jew and Customer Servant and Espresso Roast.

3 comments:

Saskboy said...

"It's not that ID is a political movement seeking to gain power in the halls of government. It is a scientific explanation based on a theological worldview that is seeking to influence the public square. And rightly so."

Eeeeeeick. Sure I might have a cold right now, but I almost threw up after reading that. ID has nothing to do with science other than it claims to use science to "disprove" evolution. It does no such thing, and ID is not science itself, it's pseudo-science [Like how Bush's wiretaps are "pseudo-legal" - they aren't legal, but he as long as he can get enough people to believe him then they're legal enough.]. Science involves testing hypothesis to show their validity, or falsehood, and ID does absolutely no testing to back itself up, or testing of scientific facts. It would be unwise for an ID backer to test a scientific theory because at best they'd prove something wrong and help science re-examine a question, and more likely they'd fail to prove a fact wrong, and lend more support to scientists working to develop an ever growing body of knowledge about our natural world that is well tested and thus shown to work in repeated experiments.

Joshua said...

ID doesn't try to "disprove" evolution. Not all science invokes testing- one cannot test the big bang or mud to man evolution. According to Kenneth Miller and others, ID CAN be tested...Miller has written a paper claiming to refute IC, the idea from Michael Behe.

Scientists have never tested and repeated experiments in mud to man evolution. That should be pointed out.

ID is a mechanism, like NS. ID doesn't invoke the supernatural, and it doesn't go against evolution- many ID proponents have no problem whatsoever with common descent (others do- it varies).

These misunderstandings are common...sadly a quick visit to any ID site would clear all of these misunderstandings up.

Lyn said...

Thanks Joshua for your comments in response to Saskboy. I enjoy a reasoned dialog on issues such as this. There is a lot of overreacting with regard to evolution (on both ends of the spectrum). Have a great New Year! lgp