Friday, October 14, 2005

Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Creationism

There is a case currently being tried in federal court that will set precedence regarding the legality of teaching Intelligent Design alongside Evolution in public schools. There are some misconceptions regarding the differences between Evolution, Intelligent Design and Creationism. I'll attempt here to set forth the primary distinctions between the presuppositions that fuel them and investigate the effect they have on genuine scientific discovery.

There are a host of presuppositions for any school of thought. Often, differences lie not in what presuppositions are held, but in the priority presuppositions are assigned by proponents. Argumentation is also usually confused by the ignorance we have as to the nature of our own presuppositions.

The primary presupposition evolutionists hold is either that there is no God or that God is not active in His creation. Christians, (and maybe some Jews) who would not hold either of these views, who also believe Evolution, hold the presupposition that scientists have proven that Evolution is absolutely true and that God simply used Evolution to create the world. They adjust their hermeneutical understanding of the first chapters of Genesis to agree with this primary presupposition. Ideally, Christian hermeneutics are founded on Christian apologetics, developed by observing how the writers of later scriptures treated earlier scriptures, and refined by the need to apply consistent hermeneutics throughout all scripture.)

Evolution a priori denies one possible conclusion, namely that there is a supernatural source (God) of cosmological and biological genesis. Therefore, the pattern exists for denying other possible conclusions when developing analyses that result in further hypotheses to test. For some biologists, whose field consists of obtaining data through passive observation and developing educated commentary on it, it is particularly easy to skew the commentary to omit those theories disagreeable to one's perspective. This is the sort of commentary that is most easily distilled through popular media to the untrained public.

Unlike Evolution, Intelligent Design (ID) holds as its primary presupposition that all conclusions should be taken into consideration for likelihood and that the option with the greatest likelihood should be considered true until another more likely possibility is discovered. This produces, most likely, the least biased scientific discovery.

Creation Science (CS) has as its primary presupposition that the scriptures are true. While the scriptures can be scientifically demonstrated to have a high likelihood of truth value, they are not scientifically exhaustive. Therefore, most Creation Science focuses only on analyzing evidence with respect to how it fits into scripture. Because of the debate with evolution, Creation Science tends to be reactionary.

The problem that evolutionists have with ID is that they believe that ID is no different than CS. They believe this because of their presupposition that there is no supernatural influence over natural processes. Because of this, they cannot discern a difference between one group that allows for the possibility and another group that focuses solely on the supernatural influence. They rightly fear that ID can legitimately debunk their presupposition while CS has always had as much external bias - however legitimate it is - as Evolution.

My take on it is this: I believe the Bible to be true. My schooling and experience in the lab has developed in me a critical mind for analyzing empirical evidence. Having reviewed the evidence available, none of it contradicts a literal understanding of the Bible. In fact, most of it that applies gives a clear likelihood that the Bible is true. Because of the evidence that falls outside the areas of traditional science, I can say that the Bible is likely to the point where it is impossible to be false. Therefore, I have the confidence to say that ID can investigate outside of the constraints of scriptural revelation and never ultimately contradict scripture.


Blogger tee bee said...

Thoughtful and timely. I've added a link to this to an update on my post from yesterday, ID Verdict: The Ire of Judge Jones.

I'd be interested in your response to a commenter there, who is a generally thoughtful liberal who considers Darwinism [macroevolution] to be "proven" and adds, "Refusing to accept proven scientific observations isn't faith; it's obstinate stupidity."

I am not currently debating on the verifiability of anything, but whenever this topic comes up in support of ID, the responses I've seen are generally the same: trash the author as stupid.

Thu Dec 22, 01:48:00 PM GMT-5  

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