Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – The High Stakes Game
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution is a new, high stakes game. Intelligent Design is the theistic answer to mainstream science, while Darwinian evolution is the creation story of atheism. Intelligent Design allows for meaning and purpose, while evolution is the tale of nothing becoming everything through an incremental, unguided process of random change and adaptation.
Yet despite evolution’s many logical and technical difficulties—not the least of which is explaining how nothing became a “something” to get the whole process started—the narrative has captured the imaginations of a wide spectrum of individuals, religious and non-religious alike.
Today nearly any article or television program, covering any aspect of the natural world, from the eating habits of chimpanzees to the dreams of humans, is sure to make mention of “our evolutionary heritage.” What’s more, phenomena as counterproductive to Darwinian fitness as homosexuality and altruism are increasingly being traced to some evolutionary advantage. It is as if to be taken seriously as a researcher, writer or thinker, one must pay homage to Darwin, no matter how tenuous the connection to the subject matter, or fatuous.
The charm of the tale comes not only in what it has to say about history, but in what it has to say about the future—the eternal struggle for survival will lead to change; change will lead to progress, and progress to perfection.
As the story gained currency, faith in a caring Superintendent began to be displaced by hope in an indifferent, impersonal mechanism of change—“Change we can believe in,” change we must believe in, if we reject the antediluvian myth and its Author.
It is no wonder that few phrases in recent memory have provoked as much comment, criticism and derision as “intelligent design.”
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – The Fear
At the core of the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate is fear. Since its introduction into modern lexicons, intelligent design (ID) has been called everything from “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” to a “Trojan horse” to a “sham.” And those are some of the kinder put-downs.
And ID opprobrium has not been restricted to the fever swamps of atheism. Educators, judges, politicians, scientists, journalists, and even Christians have logged withering comments about the science of design. But why the invectives over a non-sectarian enterprise that makes no claims about the identity of the Designer?
Although the proposition of intelligent design is modest—that certain features of the universe are best explained as the products of intelligence—there is fear that ID and science are mortally locked into a zero-sum game: For ID to win, science must fail. The fear is not unfounded.
Science, properly understood, is a systematic method of empirical investigation, philosophically open, for the acquisition of knowledge. It is the science, modern science, mid-wifed by individuals—Bacon, Ockham, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton—whose openness to an external Source of order, beauty and harmony made possible the game-changing discoveries that led to the scientific revolution.
Science, as it has become today, is an investigative enterprise ideologically confined to naturalism, which holds that the material world is a brute fact fully explicable in terms of matter and motion, without appeal to external causes.
For that science, ID is bad news.
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – The Core of the Matter
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution comes down to this… For those who have built careers, labs, and reputations on the shoulders of Darwin; for those whose investigative quest is driven by an ideological commitment; for those who want to make peace with “science” and appear reasonable to their peers; for those who are more concerned about protecting orthodoxy than in the pursuit of truth; for those whose hopes for the planet lie in evolution’s inexorable march of progress; for those who would litter the road to Utopia with carcasses of the unwanted, the disabled, the aged, and infirmed; and for those who seek escape from the deeper implications of human existence—intelligent design is bad news. It is very bad news.