Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Great Debate

In light of the uproar surrounding the release of Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," and in response to requests I'm printing a series of articles I've collected over the years dealing with the ongoing debate between Darwinists and the Intelligence Design scientists.
By way of definition, Intelligent design is the assertion that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection ". This assertion has been vehemently opposed by the scientific establishment who claim that this is simply the creationist's method of bringing religion in the back door. This ignores the fact that many intelligent design theorists are not Christians nor religious. They simply have come to these conclusions through their scientific research.
The argument that intelligent design is a religious argument is, I think, answered well by Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin On Trial. He wrote: "..The very persons who insist upon keeping religion and science separate are eager to use their science as a basis for pronouncements about religion. The literature of Darwinism is full of anti-theistic conclusions, such as that the universe was not designed and has no purpose, and that we humans are the product of blind natural processes that care nothing about us. What is more, these statements are not presented as personal opinions but as the logical implications of evolutionary science."
That being said, the first article is from Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and an author of numerous books.

A Passion for Truth: Darwin Strikes Back
(Originally published February 6, 2007 on Breakpoint by Charles Colson)

A couple of years ago on this program, I had this to say of the book Doubts about Darwin by my friend Thomas Woodward: "The motivation for [the] . . . founders of the [intelligent] design movement to instigate this 'reformation within science' is a passion for intellectual truth-telling."

Woodward displays this passion for truth-telling yet again in his marvelous new book, Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design. What Woodward wrote about just a few years ago is even truer today. Amid a firestorm of criticism and abuse from committed Darwinists, the intelligent design movement continues to press forward, gaining scientific credibility and even grudging respect from some evolutionists. But as Woodward shows, there's still a long way to go.

Because the more respect intelligent design gains, the more alarmed the Darwinists become. Their thinking goes something like this: It's one thing for those religious people to talk about a creator God—that's religion; but now they are talking about science—so, they figure, "Let's label it religion." Woodward writes, "These sentiments were echoed in public declarations, verbally and in print, by Darwinian defenders, warning . . . that Intelligent Design is religion, not science . . . This statement," Woodward continues, "emerged as the number-one talking point for Intelligent Design opponents [over the last few years]."

The idea makes for a great sound bite, as the popular press is well aware. But it has no ground to stand on, and that's becoming increasingly obvious if you spend any amount of time researching the issue. Intelligent design theorists come from all backgrounds and creeds; some of them aren't "religious" at all. What they have in common is what Woodward calls a "scientific paradigm" that allows for design in any natural mechanism that can't be explained simply by chance or purely natural causes. His meticulously researched book clearly explains the scientific reasoning behind this paradigm.

Ironically, it's the anti-intelligent design forces that are fully committed to a religious dogma—a dogma whose foundation is starting to show dangerous cracks. Their religion is materialism, and some of them even admit it, like Harvard geneticist Richard Lowentin. Woodward quotes him as saying: "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."

Well, he's being honest, at least. But who is it now who's confusing science and religion?

Suggest the presence of something outside of and greater than the universe we know, and Darwinists get all but hysterical. Take the case of researcher Richard Sternberg. He isn't even an intelligent design advocate himself, but when he dared to publish a peer-reviewed article on intelligent design in his scientific journal, the Darwinists acted more like Grand Inquisitors than scientists, cutting off his access to research and trying to limit his academic freedom.

In light of such nonsense, the continuing quest of intelligent design theorists is all the more intriguing and admirable. As Woodward points out, this criticism is even cause for gratitude, because it is leading many intelligent design theorists to be more thorough in their research and to sharpen their arguments.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

EXPELLED - The Movie

I don't usually do this, but I'm making an exception in this case. This is from Charles Colson's "Breakpoint." I had the chance to do some research about some of the cases that Ben Stein speaks of in his movie. I hope you have an open mind and watch it.
Myths about Expelled
Don't Believe Everything You Hear

If you have heard of the new documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opening April 18, chances are you have heard all kinds of distortions and myths about it. So let me set the record straight about some of the most common myths.
Myth #1: Darwinists interviewed for this film were tricked into participating.
Not so. Each scientist interviewed for Expelled, on both sides of the evolution debate, knew who would do the interview and what it was for. Each of them signed a release, allowing the producers to use the footage of their interviews.
Myth #2: The film is anti-science.
Wrong again. 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.
Myth #3: Ben Stein, the actor and writer who hosts the movie, has lost his mind.
Bringing up this very issue in a conference call, Stein quipped that he probably has, "but it was a long time ago . . . probably sometime around 1958." Well, I have known Stein well for years, and he is as bright as a button and anything but out of his mind. On a serious note, Stein and his film's producers explained that the mud that people are flinging at him is just one small example of what happens to people who question Darwinian orthodoxy. The original idea for Expelled, said co-producer and software engineer Walt Ruloff, came to him when he was working on a project with a group of biotechnologists and learned "that there was a whole series of questions that could not be asked."
The prevailing ideology among many scientists—it turned out—he concluded, was keep your mouth shut, take the research money, and publish only the data that fits with "the party line." The issue that concerns Ruloff and the others behind Expelled is whether the scientific establishment in this country is going to allow genuine "freedom of inquiry," or simply shut up—and slander—those who do not toe the line.
Given all this, Ben Stein states, "As long as the cause is right, I'm happy to be in an uphill struggle."
Myth #4: Popular author and atheist, Richard Dawkins tells Ben Stein in this film that there could have been a designer of life on earth, but it would have had to have been "a higher intelligence" that had itself evolved "to a very high level . . . and seeded some form of life on this planet."
Well, actually . . . that one is not a myth. He really did say it—striking admission, though it is.
So, I urge you to go see Expelled when it opens at a theater near you. Believe me, in this case the truth really is stranger—and more compelling—than any fiction the film's detractors could possibly dream up.