Dec 12, 2005

Liberalism vs. Intelligent Design

Accolades to my fellow Neocon Planet contributor, Hodar, for his “Conservatism vs. Evolution?” post. I know you to be an excellent scientist and fine thinker. Your point is well-taken, but I’d like to discuss the other perspective for a bit. Please note, that I do not believe Intelligent Design to be an argument against evolution. Rather, I believe it is an argument for God and therefore not in disagreement with Hodar's premise.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I considered myself an atheist up until 10 or so years ago, then agnostic and recently I’ve returned to the Catholic Church. I was also a rabid feminist liberal and have an engineering background; so much of my criticism of the left in this area comes from personal experience. While I’m no evolutionary biologist, I’ve read and listened to some excellent thinkers (admittedly conservative) on the topic of evolution vs. intelligent design and here’s what I think.

Liberals, and particularly liberals in science, have a knee-jerk reaction against any possibility of a Creator. Does this make for good science? I don’t know. I do know that, despite what the Left would have you believe (and what it teaches in the classroom), Darwin and Galileo were great scientists and were not atheists. Indeed, much of human endeavor in the past centuries has been pursued in order to glorify God.

Why is this significant? Isn’t science the objective pursuit of truth? Well, I believe this would be true if humans were capable of an agenda-less pursuit. But, that doctorate received from the university says PhD – Doctorate of Philosophy for a reason. It may be for the Ph of physics or the Ph of biology, but it is scientific philosophy with a strong leftist bent.

I believe this because of the way science in general, and evolution in particular, is taught. Evolution is taught with a fundamentalist fervor that ignores the weaknesses of the theory and doesn’t even distinguish between scientific theory and scientific law. Scientific laws were theories until proven with absolute certainty within bounded conditions. Examples would be Newton’s Laws and the Laws of Thermodynamics. Theories, like evolution, may have mountains of supporting evidence, but are subject to further amendment because of persistent uncertainty under certain conditions.

And here’s some truth about evolution that is rarely, if ever, discussed in public. Evolution falls outside the standard scientific method because it relies heavily on “historical” evidence rather than laboratory experimentation. There are other theories that suffer the problem of missing lab results and repeatability, like String Theory, but only evolution is given such an easy pass by the scientific community. Parts of evolution have been proven in the laboratory, like mutation and natural selection, but – and this is the important part - trans-speciation has never been witnessed in the laboratory and is not clearly supported in the fossil record! There are missing links throughout the historical record, not just in the humanoid branches.

Whoa! That’s kind of heavy. Certainly, anyone interested in the objective pursuit of truth should acknowledge that, while this doesn’t begin to prove the existence of God, it does leave room for a Creator.

And here are a couple other interesting points. Some ID scientists argue that the statistical likelihood of life beginning from light (the Big Bang to matter to life) is practically nil. But, even more meaningful to me, is the evidence of “purpose” for life. What is the evolutionary force behind reproduction, particularly sexual reproduction? I can understand a single cell undergoing division spontaneously at some point, but sexual differentiation and reproduction seems rather extravagant – a bonus! Let’s grant the awesome transformation of light into life minus God. What business does Nature have insisting on the persistence of life?

Even the fossil record suggests instantaneous manifestations of complex animals. Trilobites and other early bisymmetrical species appear for the first time in the record with sophisticated eyes and eyesight. Maybe there were selective pressures on these creatures for this adaptation, but where are the intermediate mutations?

These and other questions remain unanswered by evolutionary theory. Will science ever allow this discussion in the high school biology class? I doubt it. Is it important to teach our children the openings evolution leaves for God? I believe so, and I plan to teach my children so.

Here’s why. I admit, this is an “ends justify the means” argument, but the Left should be very comfortable with the approach, as this is standard procedure for it. Judeo/Christian values teach that man is made in God’s image. This isn’t our physical manifestation. This is our spiritual being. It is what separates us from all the other “evolved” creatures. It is what allows us to recognize natural and manmade beauty and gives us the ability to appreciate it. It’s what makes you cry upon hearing a Mozart concerto or hearing a choir perform a hymn. It is what allows you, while understanding the science of light through atmosphere, to transcend all that while enjoying a sunset. It is what leads you to try to live a holy (opposite the animal) life. It is why Jews and Christians don’t lop off appendages for thievery or advocate for the slow starvation of the “brain dead”. It is what gives humans dignity. And the belief in people as God’s creations in His image can only benefit our society and the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its very confusing to me because when I think of say "the borg" a species that is completely stripped of their ability to operate as an individual, it comes across to me as if the great bird is trying to paint liberalism in a bad light, but on that same note, he's created this utopian society where money, fossil fuels, and almost crime are simply a thing of the past and you're just "taken care of" and that society is the dominate society, so its as if maybe he's trying to show the spectrum of liberalism maybe? that perhaps the borg is what can happen in extreme liberalism, and the federation is the ideal system? who knows, i think its just a bit off putting to try and lock down one singular view.