“A Form of Godliness. . .”
Vol: 79 Issue: 29 Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I’ve not seen Ben Stein’s movie, “Expelled” yet. But I am fascinated by the buzz it has been creating — and in particular, with whom.
The film’s full title is “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” so the title was designed to tweak the noses of ID’s most vociferous opponents.
Scientific American is running an entire series devoted to trashing Ben Stein, his movie, and its ‘take’ on ID.
The feature, written by John Rennie, ran under the revealing title: “Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Integrity Displayed.”
In his debunking of Stein and his conclusions, Rennie actually proved Stein’s point more eloquently than a movie ever could.
Stein invited Scientific American to a pre-screening of the movie, which Rennie acknowledged surprised him:
“Given that our magazine’s positions on evolution and intelligent design (ID) creationism reflect those of the scientific mainstream (that is, evolution: good science; ID: not science), you have to wonder why they would bother.”
Why confuse them with conflicting evidence? By Rennie’s measure, we need a new definition for ‘science’ since the dictionary definition clearly does not apply:
“Science: The systematic study of humans and their environment based on the deductions and inferences which can be made, and the general laws which can be formulated, from reproducible observations and measurements of events and parameters within the universe. “
So, evolution is “good science” whereas ID is “not science.” But ‘science’ is “deductions and inferences” based on reproducible observations.”
That begs a MAJOR question. How does one ‘reproduce’ evolution? Has anyone ever mixed together the chemicals that made up the so-called ‘primordial soup’ and waited to see it evolve into a pterodactyl?
If science is a system of deductions and inferences based on reproducible observations, then evolution is something, but whatever that something is, it is NOT science.
Besides, as Rennie noted in his very next sentence: “It’s not as though anything in “Expelled” would have been likely to change our views.”
Let’s compare the dictionary definition of ‘science’ with the Oxford dictionary definition of religion: “a particular system of faith and worship.”
By that standard, Rennie’s unshakable faith in unprovable deductions and irreproducible observations sounds a lot more like a ‘religion’ than it does a science.
The “Scientific American” made a point of noting that Stein rarely refers to ‘scientists’ preferring instead to call them ‘evolutionists’ — a distinction that evidently offended Rennie, who clearly missed Stein’s point.
If evolution is ‘science’, then both ‘science’ and ‘religion’ need redefinition. Or American English needs a new dictionary.
The entire review reeked of religiosity; in one sarcastic aside, Rennie noted:
“Reporter Pamela Winnick was supposedly pilloried and fired after she wrote objectively about evolution and ID; we don’t know exactly what she wrote but later we do hear her asserting with disgust that “Darwinism devalues human life.” The film forgot to mention that Winnick is the author of the book; “A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion”—a title that suggests her objectivity on the subject might be a bit tarnished.”
Not like Rennie, whose objectivity is clearly ‘scientific’ and therefore ‘untarnished’. At one point, he calls the movie ‘dishonest’ because it didn’t include arguments favoring evolution.
Neither, I might add, did Rennie’s rebuttal.
‘Science’ by definition, is a system of deductions and inferences based in reproducible observations.
‘Religion’ is a system of worship based on faith. (I know I said that already, but it is important to keep it in mind as we go on.)
Evolution cannot be reproduced. Not in any shape, form or fashion. It is a deduction based on observations of what is, not how it came to be.
An ape has opposable thumbs, humans have opposable thumbs. The ‘deduction’ is that humans evolved from apes.
Scientific process only proves that apes and humans both have opposable thumbs. The rest is unprovable supposition based on genetic similarities. In essence, evolution is a ‘science’ based on the assumption that things that are different are somehow the same.
Now, can ‘intelligent design’ be reproduced? I have two almost identical iMacs. I didn’t see anyone build them — they arrived at different times, at different locations, by different courier services.
They are almost identical, except one came from Apple’s Canadian website and was delivered to me in Ontario, the other was ordered from Cupertino and was delivered to me in Illinois.
I didn’t see them being created, and they are the same, with slight differences, yet not only do the both exist. But are an improvement over the previous versions of iMac.
Using Rennie’s science I could conclude to the point of certainty that they must have evolved, yes?
But being unscientific in my approach, I conclude that since they are, they came from somewhere, and they are similar, but constantly improving, they must have been designed and built by intelligent human beings.
The reasons for those conclusions are simple. I’ve never seen an iMac in its transition state as it was evolving from an iPod. And my iPod is different than my Mac.
It has certain interchangeable parts. It functions according to set rules of operation based on a specific design. It cannot perform operations for which it was not designed.
Now, as to a human being. There are no ‘transitional’ fossils showing the evolution of some other species into a man.
Humans operate according to set rules of operation. A man cannot perform functions for which he is not designed.
Birds fly. Men plummet to earth like sacks of wet grain. So men designed aircraft. They didn’t evolve into birds.
Given the basic scientific evidence; DNA more advanced than the most advanced iMac, a physical form perfectly suited to the existing environment, intelligent self-awareness, the ability to recreate, the only logical conclusion is that of Intelligent Design.
That is logical, but as unsupported as the evidence for evolution — with one major exception. ID is reproducible. That is why I have TWO iMacs.
But ID is NOT religion. ID does NOT require an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God. It simply acknowledges that an intelligent design is evidence of an Intelligent Designer.
That is actual science. It is a form of godliness, but it denies the power thereof.
Intelligent Design is not Christian. Islam embraces ID. So does Judaism. Heck, so does Satanism.
When one stands ID beside evolution, it is ID that is scientific; evolution demands faith. ID says the evidence demands an intelligent design, but admits it knows nothing of the designer.
Evolution demands as an article of faith that there can be NO Intelligent Designer of any description, under any circumstances, despite the absolute and utter lack of evidence supporting random chance.
So ID is not Christian. It isn’t even Deist. One could totally reject the Scriptures, reject the concept of God, reject the idea of mankind’s need for salvation, and accept most of the tenets of atheism, and still support Intelligent Design.
I personally accept the Bible’s outline of creation, although I wouldn’t go so far as to label myself a ‘Creationist’ to the point I would hang my theology on six literal days, or Eve being literally created from Adam’s rib.
The Genesis story takes up three chapters — the creation of the universe was more complicated than that — but the scientific details would have been lost on every generation until this one.
Maybe God literally removed one of Adam’s ribs — but I don’t know if it is literal fact or symbolic understanding. Here’s what I do know — I have the same number of ribs as Gayle does.
But she is as much a part of me as any of my ribs. Which is what Genesis teaches us about marriage. Jesus used it to explain marriage.
“And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
I don’t know if the six days of creation were 24 hour days, thousand year days, or if the ‘String Theory’ that postulates that time was compressed as the universe expanded, made six literal days last billions of years.
I don’t know, but I trust that God does — and that He explained it in a way even a child could comprehend.
This is the place where Intelligent Design gives way to religion and faith. My logic tells me that there MUST be an Intelligent Designer. So does the available evidence. That’s as far as I can go scientifically.
Philosophically, an Intelligent Designer would include an owner’s manual. I got one with my iMac — and a Being that could design the universe to such painstaking detail is at least as smart as Steve Jobs.
It is equally clear that this earth was designed exclusively to support human life and that human beings are the dominant life form on it — again by design
My faith is placed in the fact that the Intelligent Designer identifies Himself as God and that the Bible is His owner’s manual for the human race.
I cheerfully admit I have no more evidence that God wrote it than Rennie has for his faith in evolution.
But I have evidence Rennie doesn’t have. The Bible exists. It is reproducible. It contains information unknowable to mankind at the time in which it was written.
It has withstood every assault on its accuracy and veracity that skeptical human beings could throw at it for two thousand years.
In areas where the Bible’s accuracy can be measured, it has proved itself 100% accurate, 100% of the time, spanning a period of more than six thousand years. Those things contained in Scripture that cannot be proved cannot be disproved, either.
And no other explanation fits the known facts.
Christians are all over the Intelligent Design debate, and for the most part, are firmly on the ID side. But don’t get too excited. ID simply acknowledges what we don’t know and rejects the concept that the unknowable can be replaced by the unprovable.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ” (2nd Thessalonias 2:11-12)
The acceptance of Intelligent Design as a viable explanation for the existence of the universe will not,unfortunately, lead to a great Christian revival.
Rather, it leads directly to the ‘strong delusion’ or what 2nd Timothy 3:5 calls, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” — of which Paul warns the Church, “from such turn away.”
ID is a better lie than evolution, but a lie is still a lie.