Thursday, May 15, 2008

Debate at

A series of post in the Roanoke Times is interesting to follow. The first one, "Evolution and Aliens," is written by Linda Whitlock, a Times columnist and adjunct English Professor. She has gone to see "Expelled!" She writes:

"Expelled" has been criticized for implying a link between evolutionary theory and Hitler's murderous policies. But the link clearly is there. Evolution provided the rationale for the eugenics movement and eugenics the justification for getting rid of the unfit, which, to the Nazis, included the Jews. For the greater good.

If evolution is true, it's true. Blinding ourselves to its possible consequences is foolhardy.

But what if it isn't true? What if something else -- some sort of intelligence, if you will -- is running the show? That's the tantalizing question some scientists have been asking. Some things just don't fit neatly into the evolutionary model. They seem, well, designed.

Actually, as I and other people have noted, the link is not there. It is inferred by many people not related to the events and people of the time. One assumes that evolution is the concept by which Hitler acted out his eugenics programs. Further, asking what if evolution is not true implies that one has done research to that effect. That is the problem. Evolution is so well backed up by evidence that it is difficult to suggest it is not.

Michael Scott, Roanoke resident, replies thus:

The problem with Intelligent Design is it has no testable theories. Proponents just don't have anything on which a scientist could hang a hat, and until they do, they will not be taken seriously by any credible scientific community. The reason they don't get any air time in science is because they don't do science.

Well put, Michael. Linda replied in "God, Science Not Exclusive":

In my early American lit classes, I sometimes ask students to explain how John Edwards and Cotton Mather, two noted Puritan theologians, could be both men of God and men of science. Mather, in fact, was a member of the British Royal Society. The students are so convinced that God and science are separate, however, most have a tough time coming up with a coherent explanation.

If science really were defined today simply as an orderly and rational investigation of the natural world, Edwards, Mather, ID theorists and evolutionists alike could all play together on the same field. A more accurate definition for today, though, is that science is an effort to explain all natural phenomena by natural causes only.

That definition pretty much rules Edwards, et al., out of bounds. But given the things we don't have answers for -- how the universe began, how life got started, where DNA originated, to name a few -- there's no way we can be sure all natural phenomena can be explained by natural causes.

Herein lies the crux of one of the misconceptions out there: evolutionary theory does not explain the origin of life or anything about the origin of the universe. It is simply not designed to do so. Many people forget that.

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