CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The New Inquisition

Apr 19, 2008

It is very risky business indeed to seek to cross the atheist/materialist/Darwinist camp. If anyone dares to question the conventional wisdom here, the inquisition immediately snaps into place, the storm troopers are unleashed, and the heresy trials begin.

Science is supposed to be about free inquiry and the pursuit of truth. Evidence should be followed wherever it leads. But scientism is a different story. It comes complete with a set of materialistic presuppositions, and any challenges to the ideology are treated as heresy or apostasy.

A great example of this is the reaction of the atheists and the anti-supernaturalistic scientists to the new film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Expelled was released today in the US. It is a documentary produced by Ben Stein about how those who even think about questioning the materialistic assumptions of Darwinism find themselves becoming persona non grata in the universities and scientific community.

Specifically it is how those who think there might be some scientific merit to the concept of Intelligent Design are hounded out of our schools and treated like Nazi scum. This is a documentary, in other words, about censorship, anti-theistic bigotry, and the witch hunts of scientism.

The film was released in some 1200 cinemas, the most for any documentary. In it Stein interviews both proponents of ID, and its critics. But already the atheist websites and magazines are running hot, claiming the film is simply propaganda, that Darwinists were deceived into appearing in the film, and making all sorts of other nasty charges about Stein and the film.

Indeed, it is the typical case of ad hominem attacks by the atheists and Darwinists. Instead of actually dealing with the issues, better to simply assault the messenger. Some of the articles are less bitter and ugly than others, but all are intent on crucifying the man and his message.

Consider the review of the film by Ronald Bailey. Writing for Reason magazine, he makes clear his dislike of the whole project. He is not quite as pugnacious and cruel as other reviewers, but he does his best to dissuade people from even seeing the film.

Yet there are a few very interesting admissions found in his critique. For example, he actually admits on a number of occasions that Stein is right, and people are losing their jobs because of their scepticism of Darwinism.

Take this representative sentence: “But ID proponents in the academy are not being dragged off to concentration camps by goose-stepping Darwinist thugs – the worst thing they suffer is the loss of their jobs.” Thus he in fact concedes the case of the film, that there is censorship going on and people are being kicked out of their positions. But he simply dismisses all this as not being as bad as what might have happened in Nazi Germany.

He also claims that ID is “all worldview and no evidence”. Many would argue that this is certainly true of philosophical naturalism, scientism, and much of Darwinism. Assumptions are made without evidence, and everything else is meant to fit into that preconceived mould.

Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin expressed this well: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs . . . because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Such quotes can be multiplied at length.

Such is the animus against God, that many intellectuals have simply ruled him out a priori. They would rather believe in any nonsense instead of God. Thus one often needs more faith to be an atheist, because of some of the bizarre scenarios posited by the anti-theists.

Stein for example asks these true believers how they believe life emerged. Dawkins “incautiously” (as Bailey phrases it) brings up the notion that aliens may have seeded life on earth. Of course this is the old “directed panspermia” idea promoted by Crick and Orgel in 1973, one which seems to require as much faith as any other theory of life’s origins. But because it does not entail God, secular scientists are quite happy to latch on to it.

And despite the criticisms, the words of scientists make up a good portion of this film. As Chuck Colson explains, “Many distinguished scientists were interviewed for this film and given the chance to express their views. Just like their Darwinist counterparts, the advocates of intelligent design and their supporters who are interviewed are there to talk about science, not to dismiss it. These are people like Cambridge physicist John Polkinghorne; Oxford mathematician and philosopher John Lennox; journalist Pamela Winnick, who has received hate mail for covering the issue; and biologist Caroline Crocker, who was fired from George Mason University for discussing intelligent design in the classroom. Some of them are religious believers; some are not. But what they share is a commitment to science and the unfettered pursuit of truth. Expelled is not anti-science; it is anti-censorship.”

The truth is, everyone has a worldview. The evidence that is available to examine is the same evidence which atheists or theists look at. Atheists and reductionist scientists may not like the way Intelligent Design theorists assess the evidence, but the IDers have every right to at least be allowed to make their case.

Militant atheist Michael Shermer, in his denunciation of Stein and the film, simply ends his piece by saying that we must “build up that wall separating church and state”. Again, as Colson reminds us, not all who are critical of Darwinism or are supportive of ID are religious, yet Shermer just tries to make this a battle between religion and science, a typical atheist trick that does not get one very far.

Indeed, this is simply playing fast and loose with the truth. The Darwinist camp itself admits that their commitment to evolution is often as much an article of religious belief as sound science. Thus even Dawkins, in one of his more candid moments, can confess, “Natural selection – well, I suppose that is a sort of matter of faith on my part since the theory is so coherent, and so powerful.”

Or as Michael Ruse could admit, “Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity. . . . I must admit that in this one complaint . . . the [biblical] literalists are right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Thus the old science verses religion myth must be put to rest. The Darwinists who insist on their reductionist materialism are every bit as religious and faith-based as any Christian. But most do not want to admit this, and thus they take cheap pot-shots at anyone who dares to challenge their ideological hegemony.

But Stein’s film deserves a wide hearing. Truth matters, and the evidence should be heard. It is hoped that later this year the film will be released here in Australia. In the meantime, trailers of the film are widely available, including here: www.getexpelled.com/

And for more information, discussion and reviews of the film, see this site: www.discovery.org/expelled/

[1185 words]

66 Responses to The New Inquisition

  • Bill,
    Thanks for the very informative and excellent review. The atheist/Darwinist/materialist should be reminded of the world-class atheist, A.J. Ayer, who in his near death experience saw a red light, “exceedingly bright, and also very painful”, his encounters with the “ministers” of the universe, and his frustration as he tried to cross the river “Styx”. After the experience, he had the courage to admit doubt about his conviction on postitivism. His wife, Dee, said that he became “so much nicer” after the near death experience. Why can’t people who call themselves “scientists” be more like Ayer in honesty and courage?
    SK Leong

  • Bill, thanks again for crystalising the real issue – a choice of world view, first proposed to Eve by the Serpent.
    Stephen White

  • Panspermia, apart from the obvious credibility gap in having to invoke aliens from outer space, simply shifts the question of the origin of life away from the earth and onto some alien planet. So it therefore in no way helps the evolutionists case.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • I live in an extremely liberal city and I was afraid that I might have to wait for the DVD. I’m planning to go see it this week!

    It will be good to see the candid responses of Darwinists like Dawkins and others on screen about these issues. Too often we hear polemics and malicious sound bites that misrepresent ID. I think that anyone accusing the producers of misrepresenting these scientists (and I’ve heard much complaining and carping from Darwinists) hasn’t seen the documentary, nor do they care about the facts surrounding the issue.

    Victoria Demona

  • I think the ID’ers are just experiencing what creationist have been suffering for the last 150 years. Being a “YEC” myself I tend to see ID proponents as allies (in the sense of the enemy of my enemy scenario). We certainly don’t agree on everything at all but the core of both movements is a war on materialism – in particular in science but not limited to science. Can I recommend the following resources to those interested in YEC/ID view of science:

    http://creationontheweb.com/ (Main YEC website).
    http://www.salvomag.com/ (Great magazine generally).
    http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2008-02-04T15_39_42-08_00 (Id The Future podcast about expelled and some of the claims being raised)

    Michael Mifsud

  • Thanks for your review Bill.
    The big problem I see with this debate is the issue of science versus religion. Evolutionists choose to religiously believe their theory rather than look scientifically at the evidence, or at least enter into a scientific debate. To me, science versus religion isn’t evolution versus christianity, it’s actually science versus evolution. Throughout history, science has constantly done battle with “scientists” more concerned with backing their theories than following the evidence.
    Jeff Robertson

  • Michael Mifsud

    http://www.salvomag.com/ (Great magazine generally).

    I’ve heard that, but it was publishing junk by Hugh Ross, who has also attacked the Expelled movie in a WFJ (Wimp For Jesus) way because it is not nice enough to the science establishment.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • A simple question Bill, are you calling all of the scientists who claim to have been decieved into being the film liars, or otherwise, does this kind of decption not concern you?
    Chris Mayer

  • Thanks Chris

    And just how many scientists exactly are claiming such deception? Of the few who have, the response is straightforward. All the scientists – on either side of the question – knew what the interviews were for, and they were all given the questions in advance. Also, all of the interviewees signed release forms allowing the filmmakers to use their comments. And they were paid for their appearances as well.

    Sorry Chris, but this is just the usual atheist bag of tricks: attack the messenger, ignore the message, and make reckless charges to take the heat off oneself. All so very predictable.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • SK Leong said, “Bill, thanks again for crystalising the real issue – a choice of world view, first proposed to Eve by the Serpent.”
    Some might question my handling of scripture but I see Satan’s tempting Jesus Christ in the wilderness, right at the beginning of his ministry, as a revisit to this first temptation. The turning of stones in bread, the hurling of himself from the top of the temple and the viewing of all the kingdoms of the earth were likewise a threefold challenge to the epistemological, moral and ontological basis of the biblical world view.

    I often hear Christians say that we should not argue with atheists/materialist/humanists/secularists/Marxists etc. but simply read scripture back to them. In other words intellectual argument never won hearts and minds. But at least in arguing and debating in the sure and confident faith that Christianity is reasonable and not irrational, we can silence one by one their objections and draw them to that wonderful place of disillusionment – that place to which we Christians are also forced to return, time and time again, after we too have been led astray by Satan and our own wishful thinking. The Christian is just as guilty as the evolutionist in frequently saying, ”I like to think the Bible is saying this or that”. We too need to be disabused of our own vanities. We must not demonise Richard Dawkins but remember that he also, like us, is a sojourner, a refugee, a displaced person, just passing through.

    David Skinner, UK

  • I can’t wait to see this movie – I’m tipping I’ll find it really funny to hear the same voice that said “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…” in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and “Go as yourself… and as the Mask. Because they are both one and the same beautiful person.” opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask exposing the double standards of the many in the scientific establishment. There’s just something wacky, subversive and yet intelligent about that.

    Actually, for something completely off-topic, the bloke who works in the servo down the road looks like Ferris Bueller… He says he gets that all the time…

    Mark Rabich

  • Oh yeah, Dawkins and Pee-Zed Myers were tricked into revealing what they really think about Christianity. How dreadful that Expelled reveals what prominent evolutionists think! It doesn’t help the evolutionary establishment’s game plan to trick the church into thinking that evolution is no threat to Christianity.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • You didn’t directly answer my question of course, but to read through the lines you are calling them liars, which was all I wanted to know.
    Chris Mayer

  • Thanks Chris

    Of course as any reader can see, I did answer your question. It’s just that you didn’t like the answer. Again, so typical of the militant atheist ideologues. Forget about the evidence and the facts: just keep making unsubstantiated claims and expect the other side to fall over themselves in seeking to placate the atheists. Sorry, but I am not buying that con job.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sorry Chris, but your question was answered, I will second that.
    Teresa Binder

  • Jonathon says

    “it was publishing junk by Hugh Ross”

    These soughts of cowardly and arrogant smears are supposed to pass as substantive argument for the likes of Sarfati (just like his previous ad hominem attacks on me when I dared to challenge young earth dogma) – part and parcel for a militant young earth creationist unfortunately, whom only want to demonise the entire scientific community and Christians that don’t toe the line.

    But of course when you don’t see the world in a black and white, bi-polar way and desist from a siege mentality, you are a “wimp for Jesus”. Well then count me in as one of those “wimps” 🙂

    How else would he see RTB’s legitimate and reasonable criticism of Expelled as an “attack”?

    Damien Spillane

  • I get the impression there was not full disclosure of the film maker’s intentions.

    BUT I think the deception Chris refers to was substantially self-deception on the part of the interviewees. The film makers have no obligation to harm their own business by announcing their intentions to a ‘hostile witness’.

    They had the opportunity to ask if the questions and their own responses would be used to further tyhe materialist agenda or to resist it. They wrongly assumed it would be safe to answer with their true thoughts.

    Does anyone suppose suppose the film makers were somehow morally obliged to let the subjects know they should lie or refuse to participate because their truthful answers would make them look ridiculous or worse?

    If the point of the movie is to expose conspiracy and prejudice, there is little point in warning the conspirators or bigots to be on their best behaviour for the interview.

    Dale Flannery

  • Bill,

    ID by definition is not science, so it’s hardly surprising that its demands to be accepted by the scientific community are rebuffed, rudely or otherwise. If ID proponents want acceptance, let them play by the rules of the scientific method, and produce empirical, verifiable evidence for their hypothesis, just like real scientists have to do.

    ID is the very antithesis of scientific enquiry. It essentially says, “I can’t understand how biology works, so I’m just going to give up and assume God did it.” Anyone who claims to be a scientist and adopts that attitude to their work deserves to be sacked. That’s not censorship or discrimination, it’s merely the application of professional standards.

    ID adopts the same ignorant mentality as ancient civilisations who saw thunder, lighting, floods and famine as the work of gods. We now know that such events are readily explainable as natural phenomena (although some evangelical leaders are still sometimes known to proclaim otherwise).

    The film will obviously appeal to religionists who see the world as a massive conspiracy directed at them, and it’s obviously been produced to capitalise on the bitterness and resentment that some believers harbour towards those who don’t accept their beliefs.

    If religion hopes to resurrect itself as a force for good, it needs to project a positive image and recover from the pathetic victimology crisis that seems to be an increasing blight on believers.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • After looking around at websites surrounding the movie, I’ve been astonished at the reaction (but, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised). But how about the irony! How many of those criticisms confirm the main point of the movie?!?

    This was particularly interesting:
    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200804/CUL20080402a.html

    Would love to know when it gets here to Australia.

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Steve

    Only those committed to scientism would make the sorts of claims you are making. You rule out ID a priori simply because it does not fit in with your atheism and philosophical naturalism. Thus you make your claim not from any observable data, but on a previous faith commitment to naturalism.

    ID theory offers both positive and negative predictions, based on what is observed. It can and does generate testable results. If the facts of biology seem to exhibit signs of intelligence, that must be explained. ID offers explanations of these sorts of facts, and facts can be used to test ID theory.

    Numerous scientists and PhDs are involved in the ID movement. Yet all you can do is throw mud at them, accusing them of ignorance and so on. It is always easier to attack the person than actually respond to the arguments.

    It seems clear from your comment that you know very little about what ID theory in fact claims. You might actually read some of the books first before you again make such unhelpful charges.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • >>Michael Mifsud
    >>http://www.salvomag.com/ (Great magazine generally).
    >>I’ve heard that, but it was publishing junk by Hugh Ross, who has also attacked the Expelled movie in a WFJ (Wimp For Jesus) way >>because it is not nice enough to the science establishment.
    >>Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

    Hi JS,
    They have only published 4 magazines and only the latest one is about ID (which is the one I read) and it doesn’t have anything from Hugh Ross in it. I can’t vouch for the other 3 until I get them but the 3 previous magazines didn’t have anything to do with evolution (or creation or ID etc) so I doubt they would have used his work. Could be wrong of course.

    Throughout the ID edition the editor was not hostile to the creationist position but he/they certainly were condescending. I already wrote a letter to the editor correcting some of the wrong assumptions made. It’s a minor quibble however since none of the ID guys in anyway attacked creationism.

    It’s also technically a catholic magazine, but don’t hold that against them 😉
    Michael Mifsud

  • And I got this gem in my mailbox this morning:

    Is Ben Stein a holocaust denier?
    Art Caplan at the Center for Bioethics thinks so. Seriously, You can’t make this stuff up. Not happy with Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed smashing into the Top 10 box office this past weekend, over at MSNBC.com Dr. Arthur Caplan absurdly charged Expelled with showcasing “a very repugnant form of Holocaust denial from the monotone big mouth Ben Stein.”

    Ben Stein? Clear Eye’s Ben Stein a holocaust denier? Caplan is clearly enraged that the public is flocking to a movie – a documentary no less – that exposes the tactics that Darwinists employ to maintain their stranglehold on academia and the scientific establishment. Tactics such as changing the subject with name calling and tossing around outrageously false claims.

    And these claims are false. Ben Stein’s movie Expelled features Dr. Richard Weikart, one of the leading historians on modern German and European intellectual history, who makes clear that Darwinism clearly influenced Nazi ideology. He is also the author of From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany (Palgrave MacMillan). Read Weikart’s latest piece Darwin and the Nazis at American Spectator Online.

    Contact Anika Smith at asmith@discovery.org about arranging an interview with Dr. Weikart.

    For more resources on Expelled No Intelligence Allowed please visit http://www.discovery.org/expelled

    Michael Mifsud

  • Steve,
    If anyone wants acceptance by the scientific community, let them all play by the rules of scientific method. That includes ID proponents and evolution proponents.

    True science has always allowed new hypotheses, which then need to be tested and evaluated against the available evidence.

    Unfortunately for science, evolution is taught and accepted with scarce true scientific evaluation. Then when hypotheses such as ID are suggested, they are discarded by an unscientific so-called “scientific community”, because it doesn’t match their theory – not because it doesn’t fit the evidence.

    Another word for this is prejudice – to pre-judge without considering the merits of the idea. And prejudice has no place in objective scientific debate.

    Your claim that ID proponents “can’t understand how biology works” is a strong indication that your prejudice against ID has stopped you from evaluating the biological evidence. It sounds to me like you’re saying, “I can’t understand how God works, so I’m just going to give up and assume evolution did it”. Somehow that doesn’t sound very scientific does it? Please at least find out what ID is really about before discarding it, let alone publicly criticising it.

    Jeff Robertson

  • Bill,

    All of the propositions put forward by the ID movement have been shown to be false and based on religionism rather than science.

    Any fool can write a book and make unfounded claims. The true test of scientific merit is publication in independently refereed scientific journals.

    Religionists seem to want an each-way bet with ID. You’d really like young-earth creationism to be true, because it would validate your belief in Biblical literalism. But since science has well and truly debunked young-earthism, ID proponents have to propose a way to have God directly intervene in evolution. The strategy is so transparent and disingenuous that I’m surprised anyone can support it and maintain any semblance of intellectual honesty.

    As for naturalism, I am only committed to it while it remains the only viable explanation for reality. If someone could demonstrate a single example of a supernatural event I would be quite willing to accept the existence of the supernatural. But no such evidence exists.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • A search on the http://www.salvomag.com website shows that Hugh Ross is listed as a columnist, and also that he had an article in the first edition entitled “How intelligent design advocates have undermined their own cause”.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Thanks Steve

    But you continue to demonstrate two things quite clearly. One, that you have not read one book by an ID author, although you are quite happy to pontificate on the topic and pass yourself off as some sort of authority on it. The truth is, you are simply out of your depth here (as would be anyone who attacks a person whose books they have not even bothered to read). Despite your uniformed howler, perhaps 95 per cent of those in the ID movement are not young-earth creationists at all, but are in fact old-earth creationists. I am afraid your ignorance is simply showing big time here.

    Two, you demonstrate that your main means of argument is to attack the person (calling them fools, etc.) If that is the best that atheists can come up with, then they really do not deserve to be heard at all. Why should anyone pay the slightest bit of attention to them?

    And there is plenty of evidence for the supernatural. It is just that you have ruled out the supernatural ahead of time, so you will never find anything that looks like proof for it. If I decide ahead of time that there can never be any such person as Steve Angelino, no amount of “evidence” will convince me otherwise, even if you knock on my door and ask for a cigarette. This was part of the problem with Hume’s critique of miracles, and it is still a problem today.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • david skinner wrote:
    > I often hear Christians say that we should not argue with atheists/materialist/humanists/secularists/Marxists etc. but simply read scripture back to them. In other words intellectual argument never won hearts and minds.

    It also strikes me as a bit of a long bow. “atheists/materialist/humanists/secularists/Marxists” does not equal “the devil”. At least the devil knows of God’s existence (first hand).

    david skinner wrote:
    > … arguing and debating in the sure and confident faith that Christianity is reasonable and not irrational …

    That is also my position. I’ve gradually formed the view that Christianity is rational, reasonable AND true. I always believed the latter, but its taken time to arrive at the former. The difficulty is not in demonstrating the former however, but the latter. I suspect that’s something that comes via a combination of revelation and faith.

    In my interactions with atheists I’ve gradually moved away from dogmatically asserting my own beliefs, to:

    (1) providing what I hope is a well-reasoned argument that demonstrates that my beliefs are rational; and
    (2) asking probing questions of them when I detect that some of their philosophical positions are not well thought through

    As for them becoming believers … my prayer is that God will reveal Himself to them, just has He has revealed Himself to me.

    Stephen Frost, Melbourne, Australia

  • Steve Angelino wrote:
    > All of the propositions put forward by the ID movement have been shown to be false and based on religionism rather than science

    My understanding of the primary objection to ID (repeated ad infinitum by evolutionary apologists – tell me if you’d like references) is that ID is not science because its not testable.

    If its not testable, how has it’s propositions been shown to be false?

    Stephen Frost, Melbourne, Australia

  • Thanks Jeff

    Quite right. And your last paragraph is worth picking up on. Atheists like Steve accuse the ID camp of using a “god of the gaps” argument. But the truth is, atheists are using a “naturalism of the gaps” argument. J. P. Moreland gives a good illustration of this:

    “Suppose you punch me in the nose and somebody said of you, ‘That person is really angry.’ Suppose I protested this explanation of your behaviour on the grounds that one cannot appeal to mental states in such an explanation because they are invisible personal causes. Instead, I argued, we must hold out for a purely naturalistic explanation of your hand motion. There must be a solely naturalistic explanation, I claim, for why you punched me. Maybe the moon was too close, or there are some kind of waves that we don’t yet know about. Given enough time, however, science will describe a perfectly naturalistic explanation of that body movement that won’t require me to attribute consciousness, agency, motives, intentions, or anything to the physical object called the body of the person who hit me.”

    That is, atheists always hold out for a naturalistic explanation, no matter how absurd or lacking in common sense. As I said, ID is like archaeology or forensic science, wherein the discovery of artefacts, or similar sorts of things that have the appearance of intelligent design, demand an explanation. If we discover an arrowhead in the ground, we do not assume that some naturalistic explanation must account for it, but that it was created for a purpose by a designer. Thus ID both makes predictions and offers explanatory power for what we observe in biology, in cosmology, in physics, and elsewhere.

    Naturalists would have to discount perhaps 80 per cent of real science in the past because it does not fit their reductionism, naturalism, and scientism. As Moreland argues, the “commitment to methodological naturalism is not consistent with the history of science”.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,

    I will say that I am no expert in ID though I do follow up on many of the claims that are made in that area. In regards to ID being science, didn’t the December 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial find that intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature?

    I also remember reading somewhere that Phillip Johnson said something along the lines of “it isn’t really, and never has been a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy.”

    Ben Green

  • Ah yes, of course, to Damien, any YEC attack on his hero Hugh Ross is terrible by, but any attack by Ross against YECs is fine and dandy, including portraying the saintly Archbishop Ussher in a dunce cap. And according to him, it was our fault!

    Ross’s silly criticism basically told Christians not to fight back when atheists attack, and denied that there were egregious examples of discrmination against those who deny darwinian dogma.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • The scientifically illiterate atheopath Steve Angelino, WA
    spruiketh:

    ID is the very antithesis of scientific enquiry. It essentially says, “I can’t understand how biology works, so I’m just going to give up and assume God did it.”

    No it doens’t. It says: in objects of known origin, there are certain features—specified complex information—that occur only in those made by an intelligent designer (or an intelligently designed program). So by the normal analogical reasoning we use in science, when we see these features in an object where the origin is unknown, we can likewise conclude that this object had an intelligent designer.

    These features are those that an archaeologist would use to determine whether an object was designed by an intelligent designer, or that a SETI devotee would use to argue that a signal from space came from an intelligent alien, or whether a ballot or card game was fixed, or whether a sequence of letters was the result of intelligence or monkeys on a keyboard.

    In these two cases, it would be perverse to complain that the archaeologist didn’t discuss whether the object’s designer itself had a designer, or that the SETI researcher didn’t tell us who designed the alien. It would be even sillier to argue from this that we should simply drop the idea of design, and conclude that the object or hypothetical space signal had no designer.

    But there are plenty of examples of random mutation plus natural selection of the gaps in evolutionary just-so stories.

    Anyone who claims to be a scientist and adopts that attitude to their work deserves to be sacked. That’s not censorship or discrimination, it’s merely the application of professional standards.

    This is a tacit admission of discrimination, just as the film says, no matter how much atheopaths and WFJs try to downplay its existence!

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I find it interesting that SETI, the poster child of evolution, uses the logic of “lets look for intelligence by trying to locate a pattern that implies intelligence” but then the same people ignore the abundence of evidence of complex information that makes up a CELL let alone an entire human being.

    Its all quite absurd.

    Steve A can I suggest you pick up Salvo magazine #4 which is a good introduction to the SCIENCE of ID? Its a good read generally. Or visit http://www.discovery.org/. No one, for example, has refuted irreducible complexity which is an ID hypothesis (tested etc). They have done plenty of scientific work (much like the YECs as well).

    Ewan, thanks for that. I think Salvo has shown both sides of the coin – pro and against ID which is a good thing IMO.

    Michael Mifsud

  • Bill,

    You frequently berate ID critics here for not having read books by ID advocates. You also slate ID critics here for not possessing equivalent scientific qualifications to these ID advocates. I wonder, of those who offer favourable comments here concerning ID, do you check that they are up to date on the scientific literature concerning evolutionary biology? Also, do you ensure that their scientific credentials match those of the biologists who accept evolutionary biology before allowing them to “pontificate on the topic”?

    Looking forward to your response.

    Regards

    Sammy Jankis, London UK.

  • Thanks Ben

    As to Dover, three replies. One, so what? American courts in the past have ruled that blacks are not persons. So courts can and do get things wrong.

    Two, large hunks of the American judiciary are overwhelmingly secular and antagonistic to anything religious. These judicial activists would be expected to rule in such a way.

    Three, this case and all the other related cases are superbly dealt with in Norman Geisler’s new book, Creation and the Courts. In it he picks apart the many errors and agendas of these decisions, including sloppy and mischievous understandings of church and state relations, the nature of science, the claims of ID, and so on.

    As to Johnson, please provide chapter and verse to see what the context was all about. And many of the more candid Darwinists have said evolution is really all about religion as well (for which I can provide chapter and verse).

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Sammy

    But you make a category mistake here.

    I and many of the defenders of ID here try our best to keep up with some of the scientific literature. As well, we study philosophy of science, philosophy, theology, history, and a range of other disciplines. While we are not all experts in all areas, like most people, we rely on the expertise of others when needed. (And I did not say or imply that only experts or PhDs could discuss these matters, only that there are many top notch scientists and PhDs who happen to support ID.)

    But that is a whole different kettle of fish from my charge to Steve (and those like him). When atheists and naturalists attack ID and claim expertise about it, it is only natural to assume that they have actually read some of the ID authors. When it becomes clear that they have not, then one can rightly ask them why their opinions on the topic should be taken at all seriously.

    I am happy to debate the issue with those who know what they are talking about, because they have actually read the works of those they are criticising. But to those who simply throw stock Mickey Mouse atheist clichés around and think they are making an argument, they really deserve little time or attention.

    So after you have read three or four ID titles Sammy, Steve, and others, then come back to us and offer your rebuttals.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    Did you know that there is bucket-loads of information published on the web about ID? Have you considered that Steve and myself have taken the time to explore these materials? You’re right, I haven’t read any books by Michael Behe or William Dembski, because the arguments therein can be found on the multitude of websites promoting ID. We do know what we’re talking about thank you very much.

    Sammy Jankis, London UK

  • Thanks Sammy

    Ah, true confession time. Very good. Thank you for so nicely confirming my concerns.

    Let me illustrate what you have just said: Suppose I write a number of comments attacking, say, The God Delusion, on your atheist blog site. You rightly reply, ‘Bill have you actually read the book?’ To which I sheepishly respond, ‘Well no, but there is bucket-loads of information about it published on the web. I know what I’m talking about thank you very much’. You would have a field day with such a pathetic response.

    Thank you again for so brilliantly making my case. And as I suggest, until you actually read what you are attacking, please refrain from any more silly and uninformed comments. A little intellectual honesty goes a long way here. But that unfortunately has never been a hallmark of the new militant atheists, whose knee-jerk attacks are in the end more faith-based than evidence-based.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • See my take on the Dover ruling. It’s silly to use the decision of a judge whose previous main claim to fame was an undistinguished stint on the Liquor Board as an authority on science.

    As Bill says, in 1857, the US Supreme Court, under Roger Brooke Taney (1777–1864) ruled in the ‘Dred Scott decision’ that Congress could not outlaw slavery in any territory—this was to be the territory’s ‘right’ after it had become a state. Also, slaves were defined as non-persons, and their descendants could not become citizens.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Of course, how does Sammy Jankis know that we don’t read the most up-to-date pieces defending evolution? It’s hardly our fault that they use stupid arguments that don’t address what creationists and ID people actually believe. E.g. some of the US National Academy of Sciences’s “proofs” of evolution merely show that things change, which creationists have never denied.

    A recent New Scientist diatribe is no different. But this even has a ludicrous section attacking the Bible. The christophobic author relies on such amazingly scholarly sources as Wikipedia (The Abomination that Causes Misinformation), the Religious Tolerance bozos (tolerant of everything except biblical Christianity), and that moronic Skeptics Annotated Bible (see thorough demolition) LOL. It’s crazy that New Scientist even uses the pi=3 canard, although Ph.D. mathematicians at the Math Forum confirmed that the Bible is not mistaken here (heard of the concept of approximation? duh).

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • See also Duped and Duping — What Goes Around Comes Around. I can add to this the routine deceptiveness of the Australian ABC and American PBS when it comes to (mis)representing creationists and ID supporters.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill,

    When I referred to ID vs, young-earth creationism, I was clearly not referring to the ID movement itself, but to those like yourself who sit on the fence, unable to form an opinion either way. Quite clearly ID and YEC are at odds with one another, but there are many YEC believers who cheer the ID crowd simply because it is another way to attack evolution. Thats what I mean by intellectual dishonesty.

    As for not your comments about books and websites, caution must always be exercised about the legitimacy of claims that have not been subject to peer review and rebuttal. That is the difference between propaganda and information. How can you as a non-expert critically assess a claim unless you have also read the rebuttals? That is the problem with reading books published without independent peer review.

    Stephen,
    The existence of a supernatural designer may not be testable, but many of the propositions of ID have been shown to be untrue, e.g. where a claim is made that a certain biological feature could not possibly have evolved. In such cases, scientists have shown that there are indeed precursor pathways.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    Sorry, but you are wrong on all three counts. There is no intellectual dishonesty for a YECist to cheer on ID. While there are differences in terms of what they believe regarding the age of the earth, the similarities are much greater. Both reject materialism and philosophical naturalism; both believe in God, or a supreme intelligent being; both believe in purposeful creation; both find many problems with Darwinian theory; and so on. Thus the similarities far outweigh the differences.

    We have already called your bluff on the peer-reviewed process.

    And atheists and materialists have not proven ID claims to be false, they have simply taken a materialistic spin on the assessment of the evidence, whereas IDers sees the evidence as pointing to the direction of an intelligent designer.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Steve Angelino wrote:
    >> The existence of a supernatural designer may not be testable …

    … or it may be … talk to a few theists about that and you might be surprised to discover that quite a few of us have enough proof to satisfy us completely.

    Steve Angelino wrote:
    >> … but many of the propositions of ID have been shown to be untrue, e.g. where a claim is made that a certain biological feature could not possibly have evolved. In such cases, scientists have shown that there are indeed precursor pathways.

    If indeed this is the claim (i.e. “could not possibly have evolved”) then you are just confirming my point that ID is testable, therefore scientific.

    Are you able to provide a reference to one of these ID claims and the evolutionary disproof of it? I’d be very interested to read up on it.

    I’ve always understood ID’s claims to be something like this: (1) that a design inference is a reasonable inference; (2) that a design inference can be reached via a process such as Dembski’s explanatory filter; and (3) that a design inference is the best explanation because alternative explanations are both highly improbable and lack direct evidence.

    The “could not possibly have evolved” claim, if indeed such a strong claim has been made, probably relates to the lack of direct evidence. You would be aware that providing a story about how something might have happened is a long way from showing that it did in fact happen. “Just so” stories abound.

    I’m always interested in actual factual evidence, but sorting out the scientific facts from the evolutionary conclusions is a real chore. One useful source for a contra-view is: http://www.creationsafaris.com/crevnews.htm

    Stephen Frost, Melbourne, Australia

  • >Quite clearly ID and YEC are at odds with one another, >but there are many YEC believers who cheer the ID >crowd simply because it is another way to attack >evolution. Thats what I mean by intellectual dishonesty.

    The enemy of my enemy and all that. But seriously, at odds? Certainly we don’t agree 100% but both are effectively locked in a battle against the infection of materialism in science. And the farther reaching consequences of that to society.

    >As for not your comments about books and websites, >caution must always be exercised about the legitimacy of >claims that have not been subject to peer review and >rebuttal.

    Examples please? Every rebuttal I have seen against, for example, irreducible complexity, has been easily put to rest by the ID folks. You don’t have to be a PHD biologist to see, for instance, the problems in the argument of “borrowing” parts to explain irreducible complexity. But please, give us examples.

    Otherwise you are using the logical fallacy of elephant hurling.

    Michael Mifsud

  • Hey Steve Angelino, WA
    Sorry about the Westcoast Eagles demise, “Go Blues”. Mate! You obviously have a very strong faith in your beliefs but your point about “precursor pathways” seems a little desperate. On evolution, our scientific history goes back a fair way now, and still not one evolutional example. It’s got to make you think? And as for “precursor pathways”, are you really proposing that when Science does not have an answer they fall back onto this? It seems to me that this Microbiologic theorem refers more to one chemical being predisposed to changing into another. Which is nothing like the, “tadpole to goanna” movement evolution is suggesting! And besides if the chemical is predisposed to take this action, who do you suppose “designed” this to happen? Just think about it mate?
    Peter Baldry, Victoria

  • Hi Peter,

    You make a very good point about the lack of evidence (and therefore the double standard) within the paradigm of evolution. I find it amusing that we’re about 150 years on and still there’s no experiment that even remotely resembles life from inorganic substances. (And even if they did manage it, it would only prove it possible, not actual historical fact) And yet, advocates of naturalism want to lay down these overall criteria of ‘scientific evidence’ to dismiss God. But then they refuse to apply that standard to what they believe.

    As far as I’m concerned, talking about amoeba to man evolution without first addressing the molecules to amoeba part before it is putting the cart before the horse or worrying about where to put the kitchen in a house that has a foundation on sand. It is purely academic, because the fundamental assumption of naturalism is flawed. Either you give a theory which can explain all of it without outside influence, or the whole thing is manifestly shaky.

    The spectacular failure of naturalistic evidence to support the beginning of life and the mechanisms of reproduction is an embarrassment to evolution. It leads me to one of either two conclusions –
    1. Life is much more complicated than some are willing to admit to because it infers a designer.
    or
    2. The total sum of all the current knowledge and technologies of all the relevant areas of science can still only achieve less than what undirected random events on inorganic substances can do. In other words, logically, a rock is smarter than the whole of evolutionary science put together.

    And they wonder why some of us could care less about their ‘refereed articles.’ Quit talking, show us the evidence yourselves! Cook us up a new lifeform – should be easy with all your bright shiny technology and smarts, eh? Get Rick (or should that be, Clint?) Dawkins to help out, he seems to know what he’s talking about here!

    Mark Rabich, Melbourne

  • Darwinism was a quaint little 19th century theory when people thought life was simple. It’s not a 21st century contender. It’s surprising it’s survived so long since it is rubbish – much like Aristotelean “science” was dated by the evidence.
    Michael Mifsud

  • Hi Bill,

    In regards to Phillip Johnson comment it was made in an article published by World Magazine in November 1996. The name of the article is Witness for the Prosecution. He also mentions it again in a radio program. Cannot verify that one though!

    In terms of courts getting things wrong. Yes that does happen but that is why there is an appeal system. If you do not like the judges findings you have the right to say so. As yet, I know of no appeal in the Dover case. I did spend the last week reading through the transcript of the Dover case. It was quite interesting.

    I do not understand why proponents of ID see it as a science when at its heart it is based on the supernatural. Science by its own definition dose not allow for such explanations. If the definition was to be broadened the definition then the likes of astrology, wigi boards and a host of other supernatural ideas must be considered. I can never see this happening. It was also interesting what was said about IC and that it was not a supportive argument for ID but an argument against evolution. I never thought of it that way but it makes sense. For those interested, all the transcript is on the wiki.

    I am also not sure when you say evolution is also a religion. Are you using the word religion as a noun?

    Ben Green

  • Thanks Ben

    Again, until you provide the actual quote in context, I can’t really comment on it.

    Much has already been said my myself and others about ID as science, and what science can and cannot talk about, so I won’t repeat myself here. Darwinists of course make claims all the time about things which are not in the realm of science. Many of their views are not based on science, but on philosophical presuppositions.

    As to Darwinism as religion, I am simply repeating what the Darwinists have said. They see it as a religion. Just a few of many quotes:

    Evolution is really “more than mere science”. “Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.” “I must admit that in this one complaint . . . the [biblical] literalists are right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.” (Michael Ruse)

    “A religion is essentially an attitude toward the world as a whole. Thus evolution, for example, may prove as powerful a principle to coordinate man’s beliefs and hopes as God was in the past.” (Julian Huxley and Jacob Bronowski)

    My beliefs are “something in the nature of a religion”. (Julian Huxley)

    “The Darwinian revolution was not merely the replacement of one scientific theory by another, but rather the replacement of a worldview in which the supernatural was accepted as a normal and relevant explanatory principle by a new worldview in which there was no room for supernatural forces.” (Ernst Mayr)

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Not wanting to “boast” about the existence of ID – but, check out the image of “laminin” in our body (google images will provide).

    “Laminin” is the basic protein that one needs to hold overall body structures together. Improper production will cause muscles to form improperly, and withouth it, our body will just fall apart.
    Thinking that all these molecules – that hold our body together – are just forming itself by mere accident, rather than a design by an Intelligent ?

    Winy Yiska, Melbourne

  • Regarding peer review this little podcast has some interesting things to say about the circular logic ID proponents face.

    First they are told its not science because their papers are not peer reviewed (which is a fallacy itself). Then when they get an ID centric paper published in a Darwinian dominated magazine the Darwinists panic and do everything they can to attack the people involved and get them fired (as opposed to attacking the science – I am assume because the science was actually good):

    http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2008-04-23T17_00_53-07_00

    Michael Mifsud

  • Regarding Steve Angelino’s comments throughout this forum. I find it interesting that you claim that
    ‘any fool can write a book and make unfounded claims.’
    Now why does Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ spring to mind? Unfortuanately mate, your worldview is conditioned by the experience you’ve had in life and the education you have recieved. Your a realist, because the western world in 2008 tells you to be a realist. I am a realist also yet believe in God and therefore ID. How can this be? Try looking before 1859, it’s amazing what you’ll find. Our culture is driven by the material world. You sound like a smart man, unfullfilled but. You are right to feel this way. Living to defend an idealogy that offers you nothing must be depressing, and I’m not trying to sound sarcastic, I actually do feel for you.
    Also, regarding your quest for a supernatural encounter, try taking a step towards the Intelligent Designer. Go to a church in Perth and ask to be prayer ministry.
    Just remember mate, everyone has a reality that they believe and carry, but their is only one universal reality.
    Adrian Marriott, Melbourne.

  • Steve Sammy Ben and others
    Perhaps if you can let your guard down just briefly and openly and honestly explore what ID theory suggest and even read some of the Bible with openness of heart before you so strongly decided that it can’t be true.
    If you will just be a little open to the fact that the supernatural really is real you would find that it is.
    Joanna Lancaster, Melbourne

  • Joanna,

    An open and honest exploration of ID theory has lead me to the conclusion that it is not science but pseudoscience. Even if couched in scientific sounding language like irreducible complexity or complex specified information, the argument put forward by ID advocates is still just the long discredited argument from design.

    ID, by its very nature, is unscientific. It’s based on the premise that the biological diversity we see today could not have arisen through natural processes and that there must be some kind of supernatural involvement. Science, however, deals exclusively in natural explanations for natural phenomena (methodological naturalism). It has nothing to say about the supernatural and cannot have anything to say about the supernatural.

    ID advocates freely admit that it’s not so much about the science, but about ‘defeating materialism’. Science is one area where they feel supernatural explanations aren’t getting enough airtime, so they seek to re-define science to make room for their ideas. This new definition would (as admitted by Michael Behe) make astrology a valid scientific enterprise. A cursory reading of the history of the ID movement reveals its links to creationism and therefore its primarily religious motivations. As a religious idea it has no place in the science classroom or the laboratory.

    I will freely admit that, in principle, supernatural phenomena may exist, but I haven’t been presented with any evidence to support such a contention. It is not that I choose to not believe in supernatural deities (including yours), but that I am not convinced.

    Regards

    Sammy Jankis, London UK.

  • Thanks Sammy

    Now this is interesting. Less than three weeks ago you sheepishly admitted that you had not so much as even read one book by an ID author, thus confirming your ignorance of the subject. Now all of a sudden you are making yourself out to be some kind of an authority on it all. So what brought about this miraculous (oops, sorry – there are no miracles), this amazing transformation?

    Did you read all the ID books you could find? Or just visit a few more of your fav atheist websites, making you now feel once again qualified to enter the fray. But as I said, this is nothing but intellectual laziness, if not intellectual dishonesty.

    And just who has discredited arguments from design, other than those who have an a priori commitment to naturalism? Are you now claiming to be a learned philosopher as well as an expert in ID? I better not ask how many tomes on philosophy you have digested in the past 20 days.

    And of course your atheistic scientific buddies are dealing in non-scientific areas (the supernatural) all the time when they leave the narrow limits of actual science. Do you roundly criticise Dawkins et. al. for doing this Sammy? Somehow I don’t think so. This is all just more silly reductionistic scientism creeping out again.

    Your final charge is a bit too silly to take very seriously. You dismiss ID because there might be some “religious motivation” lurking around somewhere. Ghastly! That puts IDers on a par with axe murderers and child rapists obviously. How could they be so awful?!

    Come to think of it, you just might be right. Religious motivation obviously discredits anyone from saying anything about science. Thank you for correcting us on that. Now we know never to bother listening to Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday, Babbage, Mendal, Pasteur, Kelvin, Clerk-Maxwell, Collins, Lennox and so many others again. They are of course unqualified to engage in scientific discourse, with all their nasty religious motivations. Thanks for rescuing us from this dastardly error.

    But you at least redeem yourself with a bit of gravitas in your last paragraph, warranting, finally, a serious reply. The most important question I can ask you here is this: are you really open to the evidence, or do you just think you are, and have instead already made up your mind?

    The evidence is all around us, for those who are genuinely open to it. So you must be honest with yourself here: are you really willing to following the evidence wherever it will lead, as Antony Flew and millions of others have, or are you too much in bondage to the false gods of materialism and scientism?

    God rewards the diligent seeker, not the casual enquirer. Or as Jesus put it, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. Those who truly seek will find, but those who are just playing mind games will not. I hope and pray that you ask yourself these questions, looking deep within for the genuine answers.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sammy, You say on your closing paragraph that you freely admit even if it is in principle alone, “that supernatural phenomena may exist, but I haven’t been presented with any evidence to support such a contention….” You go on to say that you are not convinced. However you are clearly on the way….to being convinced. But not by our mere humanistic conventions, clearly you say that the supernatural phenomena may exist. So on that basis why don’t you allow yourself you let the supernatural God to make himself known to you. All you have to do is ask. It is time to rely on existing evidence that is in nature and in historical documentation to back up the point that God in fact exists and he wants to meet with you.
    Dave Reid

  • Ben Green writes,

    “I do not understand why proponents of ID see it as a science when at its heart it is based on the supernatural. Science by it’s own definition does not allow for such explanations.”

    If the scientific evidence leads to a supernatural answer, do we discount it? Just because ID is based on the supernatural it doesn’t mean it should be thrown to the bottom of the barrel of scientific explanations. The evidence against evolution is extensive. I think if the majority of anti-IDers would get rid of their athiestic mindsets and look at the evidence with a bit of common sense, they might find a some purpose in their existence.

    Amanda Horn

  • People are commenting back and forth like a drawn out tennis match that just won’t end. And honestly when you are atheist there will always be much argument to what, how and why and even who with God. The Bible says in the beginning that God spoke everything into being and as Christians we accept that, in Isaiah 55:8 amongst other verses the bible tell us that the ways of God are not something we as humans will always understand or even accept. As Christians we are content with not having the answers for everything and having faith that through our Lord and Savior there is concrete answers for everything. I advise all atheists if they truly desire the satisfaction that a Christian heart resides with then they need only ask Jesus to come into their heart and they will be filled with answers to all they desire to know.

    Anne Morrow

  • Tennis Match???? thanks… I guess… this observation is called a conversation 🙂
    Dave Reid

  • Anne Morrow, Christians are commanded to give answers to those who ask for the reason for the hope in us (1 Peter 3:15), and to demolish arguments against the faith (2 Cor. 10:4–5). Jesus gave people evidence by His miracles, and appealed to that when the disciples of John the Baptist questioned Him. The Apostles appealed to the evidence of the Resurrection, miracles and prophetic fulfilment. Paul told the Romans that people have no excuse because of the evidence of creation and the law within their hearts.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Hi Bill,

    You can find the article (not sure if it an extract or the full thing) here

    http://www.leaderu.com/pjohnson/world2.html

    I have also been thinking and reading about the quotes you posted above. When these authors speak of evolution being a form of religion I have no idea what definition of religion they are using. I have consulted my usual dictionary source and cannot find a definition that would suite.

    Here is a list from one at dictionary.com

    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
    4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
    5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
    6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
    7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.
    8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one’s vow.
    —Idiom
    9. get religion, Informal.
    a. to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.
    b. to resolve to mend one’s errant ways: The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.

    In this list above maybe description 3 or 6?? but then who practices evolution and evolution does not speak of ethics? For me, it does not make any sense. Now if we were to change the meaning of the world religion to accommodate something like evolution then does this infer that other sciences are also included. What of mathematics or astronomy? Would these also be religious in nature? The danger here is that when people try to expand the meaning of a word it has the possibility of loosing its original meaning. We can use words to form synergies but I am not sure that is what is being done in this case. We also have the same problem with certain people in society trying to expand the definition of the word marriage. So what of the quotes above? I think they are slightly mischievous and really do not help in our understanding. I am not sure what the authors intentions were?? It would make more sense if the word was used in the context of being an adverb but as a noun it is all but meaningless to me in this context.

    Ben Green

  • Hi Amanda

    I do not understand how scientific evidence can lead to a supernatural explanations. Can you give me an example? I would have thought scientific evidence would be cause to dismiss a supernatural explanation.

    Ben Green

  • Thanks Ben

    As to Johnson, he is quite right. The real issue is not really science. “It’s about religion and philosophy.” It’s about worldviews. And this ties into your second set of queries. The quotes I provided say just what they appear to say. These guys see Darwinism as a rival worldview, as a complete take on life and its questions. Many have made it clear that they don’t like Christianity, and they want to see evolutionary secular humanism as the replacement worldview.

    These are always worldview battles. They are overarching ways of looking at the world, of life, of meaning, of purpose, and so on. You cannot read someone like Dawkins without seeing that this is exactly the case. He and his ilk see their secular Darwinism as a religious system, one that accounts for every question in life.

    The issue is not really the science. We all have the same scientific data to deal with. It is a question of how one interprets the data. And that is a product of the worldview one holds, of the a priori philosophical beliefs one holds to, of the presuppositions and pre-existing paradigms one hangs on to. One’s religion, in other words.

    Everyone has a worldview which seeks to make sense of life, and deal with why we are here and where we are going. Many people simply choose philosophical naturalism as their worldview, and seek to use Darwinism to justify it.

    I suggest that if you are serious about all these issues, you read the new book by David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion (Crown Forum, 2008). He is neither a Christian nor a creationist, but he rips through the religious nature of secular humanism, and demolished the way atheists are seeking to hide behind science and Darwin to push their worldview.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • (Darwinism was a quaint little 19th century theory when people thought life was simple. It’s not a 21st century contender.) Thanks for that Michael. You hit the nail right on the head. And thanks to you too, Bill for being such a good host.

    Dawn McGregor, Buderim

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