by Bill Nugent
The intelligent design versus evolution debate has taken center stage in our national discussion lately. The August 15 ’05 issue ofTime magazine and the May 29 ’05 issue of New Yorkermagazine have feature articles on Intelligent Design (ID). President Bush has publicly stated that he supports the teaching of ID in public schools. Even columnist George Will weighed in. State school boards in Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Ohio and many local school boards are requiring that scientific based criticisms of evolution be taught to students.
The mainstream media has predictably been a bit condescending to the ID position but has nonetheless discussed some of the very valid and persuasive points that give strong evidence that random natural processes could not possibly account for the unfathomable complexity and diversity of life.
ID has been called “creationism in a cheap suit.” ID is a polite way of offering an alternative to evolution without offending the gatekeepers of our secular society. (I should point out that evolution can be called “atheism in a cheap suit!”) Some in the ID movement are sincerely not committed to any religious position. Michael Denton, who wrote the seminal book Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, is openly agnostic regarding religion. The Seattle based Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (Discovery.org) is an association of scientists who promote ID.
Scientists with their fingers on the pulse of the latest advances in microbiology, genetics, mathematical probability, geology and paleoanthropology have seen the hyper-improbability of the first cell forming from nonlife and the hyper-improbability of genetic mutations adding any new information to the DNA much less the reams of new information needed to add new organs to the bodies of living organisms.
Fossil hounds of all scientific persuasions have seen the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record of marine invertebrates (clams, crabs, etc.) It should be pointed out that 95% of all fossils are marine invertebrates. Where the fossil record is most complete is where it is most anti-Darwinian. The lack of transitional forms among insect fossils is also significant especially when you consider that insects have the short life spans and prolific reproduction that would accommodate the supposed advance by mutation and selection. It was a whole lot easier to believe in evolution in 1925 than it is in 2005.
ID scientists chose to confront reality head on and not draw circles around the truth. ID scientists voiced and published their criticisms of Darwinism often at great risk to their own career advancement. Their colleagues attacked them saying that ID is not science but is religion. They countered by saying that even evolution can’t be falsified by experimental science because evolution is a theory of natural history involving nonrepeatable events that occurred in the distant past. Even evolution can’t be put in a test tube.
Evolution is falsified by forensic science which is a ‘soft’ science. Forensic science is the same science used by detectives to construct a theory as to how and by whom a crime was committed. It involves examining evidence from past events and drawing inferences as to what could have occurred. ID can also be examined by forensic methods in the same way evolution’s claims can be examined. Hence ID can be called a scientific theory to explain the origin of life. I believe that a balanced forensic analysis of the competing theories for the origins of life would refute evolution and confirm the validity of ID and creationism.
Another objection against ID is to say “We agree that a cell is so irreducibly complex as to require a designer but who designed the designer?” When a critic of ID uses this argument he or she is almost totally conceding the debate. The critic implicitly admits that the first cell forming by chance is an impossibility. To ask about the designer is to shift the discussion to a theology debate and we happily go along. First we say that it is a logical necessity that if anything exists then something has always existed because something doesn’t come from nothing. Then you have a choice. You can say that unintelligent randomly swirling matter always existed or you can say an intelligent being always existed. It seems that the critic of ID has already rejected the first choice because he or she implicitly admitted that a living cell is too complex to have formed by chance by swirling matter. This only leaves one choice which is the affirmation that an intelligent being has self-existence which is existence not dependent on anything else for its existence. If they say an ‘intelligent force’ (as in Star Wars) is the designer that would be a major concession on their part because an intelligent ‘force’ would be a person because only personal entities have intelligence. Therefore only an intelligent personal being could have both the eternal existence and the intelligence needed to design and build life forms.
The Bible, which is confirmed to be the word of God by the many hundreds of accurate prophecies contained within it, describes God as the Being who has eternal existence in Himself. God’s proper name given in the Bible is Yahweh (often pronounced ‘Yehovah’ or ‘Jehovah’) and roughly means “I am that I am” and this refers to God’s self existence not dependent on any other being or force. The God of the Bible is the intelligent designer of life.