Tag Archives: intelligent-design

Riposte: Christians for Sanity

bq. I’ve said it many times before: creationism is just wrong, and one group that should be fighting it hardest is Christians. They are letting a vocal minority usurp their religion, and if they don’t speak up they run the risk of letting those people speak for them. (Source: “Bad Astronomy Blog”:http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/02/10/christians-for-sanity/)

Seriously? No, really – _seriously?!_ The group that should be fighting creationism the hardest is Christians? I disagree — vehemently. The folks who should be _supporting_ creationism most ardently are Christians – despite the claim made above, I don’t believe that creationists are even remotely in the minority of Christian faith (though I suppose I could be wrong – a lot could have changed while I wasn’t paying attention).

Now, while I wouldn’t say that the Bible should necessarily be “interpreted literally”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2005/03/24/thursday-march-24-2005-at-0241-pm/#comment-1288 (there’s a lot of metaphor, poetry, and storytelling in there where literal interpretation would actually cause understanding to break down), I _do_ believe that it is inerrant. I also believe in a literal six-day creation cycle – the original texts are quite clear on this point. The Hebrew is very specific about the intended meaning. There is no cultural context would force a different interpretation of the events described in the first chapter of Genesis. There’s no poetry, no storytelling, no figurative speech contained in those first few pages.

Scientific claims run counter to the Biblical explanation of the universe and mankind’s origins. It’s been a continual source of contention for decades — and it always will be. But the folks over at “Answers in Genesis”:http://www.answersingenesis.org/ provide solid apologetical responses to the claims of secular science, answers that, despite secular science’s claims to contrary, are well-thought out, answers that take science facts, data, and evidence into consideration, and yes, answers that are even rational and logical.

I know how antagonistic secular science is toward all concept of creation and intelligent design — and I’m even fine with that. You can please everyone, and people who ardently believe a certain ideal become very angry and hateful toward people who believe differently than them (and sadly, this also applies to many Christians). I respect the belief that Christians should be on the front lines opposing creationism; it’s an opinion, but nothing more. But those Christians who “celebrate Darwin Day”:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11145-christian-faith-in-the-iotheri-good-book.html are, I believe, grossly and dangerously in error. I believe that a Christian _can_ believe in evolution and the Big Bang and still be a Christian, but I believe that their beliefs with regard to origins theory are very, very wrong.

Call me a goofy whacko, if you will (oh, you already have?), but you simply can’t tell me all this around us came about by accident, not even by citing the “2nd law of thermodynamics”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/26/presuppositionalism-science-and-faith/#comment-10675 at me. I recognize the value of science and acknowledge its importance. But I don’t believe that traditional secular science has a prayer (I just love irony) of explaining the origins of this universe or of mankind. It’s simply too limited and conducted by a creature that is itself far too limited to explain or understand something that big and complex.

Presuppositionalism, Science, and Faith

I know I’m probably going to take a beating for writing this, but here goes, anyway.

I suppose you could say that I’m a “pressuppositionalist”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositionalist – I tend to follow an apologetic approach that believes it is impossible to find “meaning in anything where man himself is at the center of the pursuit for truth and understanding”:http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pa210.htm. I carry with me a “certain set of core beliefs and assumptions”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2005/04/16/saturday-april-16-2005-at-0812-pm/ that guide and govern, not only those things that I do, but also the way I fit together all knowledge into a cohesive whole.

It’s interesting – when the evolutionist looks around him and witnesses nature, “he sees millions of years of natural selection at work”:http://highlyallochthonous.blogspot.com/2006/10/mountain-musings-2-whats-god-got-to-do.html; when I look around me, I can’t but believe that _something_ had to have put all this in place. This belief is based purely in logic and observation – I just find it impossible to think that chaos at the beginning of time could have somehow found its way into some sense of organization that just naturally progressed over billions and billions of years to what we have now. That, to me, requires a much greater leap of faith than believing in an intelligent creator. From everything I’ve seen and witnessed and studied, the natural state of the universe at large tends toward entropy. Everything that currently exists is moving steadily toward a state of decay and decline, not the other way around. This has ever been the way of things. So I find it much easier to believe that everything started in a state of perfect order that somehow began a downward spiral toward chaos.

Both of these viewpoints are based on a set of presuppositions. For the evolutionist, there is no God, no creator, no intelligent designer, merely a “long process of natural selection”:http://skatje.com/?p=103, with new species adapting to their environments until we have the diversity that we see today. And natural selection makes some amount of sense, since it _is_ directly observable in the world around us – the strongest of the herd survive while the slowest, sickest, and least able to adapt die off, thus strengthening the species as a whole. I just have trouble believing that natural selection could ever have, ultimately, brought humanity into existence from a single-celled bacterium – and I have yet to see compelling evidence that states such. For the creationist (or the IDist), there must have been something intelligent and powerful to have set all this in place, that there is no way for something like this universe in which we live to have come about by chance or some evolutionary process.

Consider this – what if the all that scientific data that has been collected on the origins of the universe and the evolutions of the species can’t be trusted? Secular scientists place a lot of faith in rationality. They place man at the very center of rationality itself by presupposing that systematic, scientific study will eventually unlock all the secrets of the universe – or at least that’s the goal and hope – and this methodology _does_ and has worked in a great many areas of study and research. But what if scientific study as it relates to these two macroscopic issues has been placed in the wrong context? What if, by placing man at the center, by assuming that if we only ask the right questions and study things in as unbiased a manner as possible, what if in doing science in this manner, we are getting it wrong? What if this basic assumption in secular science has led to a great many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the data we have?

I believe that faith and science _can_, indeed, “complement each other”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/05/christians-and-scientific-discussion/. When “framed in the context of an intelligent designer”:http://www.answersingenesis.org/, the scientific data that seems to lend itself so strongly for evolution yields a very different picture. And contrary to popular belief, scientists who believe in intelligent design _are_ still scientists who work within the constraints of their field. The data I’ve seen on sites like Answers in Genesis is the same data I’ve seen shown on secular science sites, with the same explanations of what it means. The difference is that Christian scientists provide alternative solutions for why some of that data might be misleading. It is unfortunate, in a way, that many of these explanations can never be verified, as they are the result of “unreproducible events”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/05/christians-and-scientific-discussion/#comment-8899. Similarly, neither can secular scientists prove their claims about the origins of the universe for the exact same reason. Despite objections from the secular community, Christian scientists _are_ able to provide a complete, unified response for their conclusions based on their presuppositions. And theirs is a response that makes _much_ more logical, rational sense to me than the origins answers that secular science sometimes provides.

And this is where faith bonds with science. We believe, based on a record given in the Bible, that the Earth looked a certain way during its beginning. Framing scientific data into this context provides an explanation why, for instance, “carbon dating may not be as accurate”:http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2002/carbon_dating.asp as is generally assumed by the secular scientific community. Because none of these events that various groups believe in – Creation, Big Bang, Great Flood, evolution – can actually be reproduced and examined first-hand, certain things must, by necessity, be taken with a certain measure of faith. This does not stop scientific study itself, nor should it. Mankind is, by his very nature, curious and so there is a great deal of worth to be derived from such pursuits. But the scientific community, no matter what camp, should bear in mind that personal presuppositions are going to greatly influence the way the collected data is interpreted.

So does secular rationality actually fail when faced with its own presuppositions? We can only wait and see, but I would posit that, yes, it does. Mankind is a “limited”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2006/09/05/finite-to-infinite-2/, “finite”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2006/04/05/finite-to-infinite/ creature, and as such our abilities to know and understand will always be subject to that limitation. If science, by itself, reveals anything to us with regard to the origins of everything that is, it will be that we can never know everything and that some ‘secrets’, like how the universe began or where mankind came from, will never be answered by science alone.

But don’t mind me – those’re just my presuppositions talking.

A Conflict of Viewpoints

Man, I really hate “falling under a label”:http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/this-blog-is-different/ that seems to generate so much animosity and antagonism from folks in the scientific community – that being, in this case, Creationist (as opposed to the term ‘denialist’ that is also mentioned). It honestly makes it difficult for those of us who are genuinely interested in the study and research in those fields to actually have calm, rational discussions with these folks because they’ve already labeled us as ‘quacks’, ‘kooks’, and ‘idiots’. We never even get a fair shake to ask our questions because as soon as we do, we’re blown off with some sarcastic, derisive answer. I am actually quite hesitant to identify as being with any one particular camp exactly because of the reaction I know I will get – I _hate_ being written off just out of hand. It kind of annoys me, really.

I’ve deliberately subscribed to RSS feeds from a number of science blogs recently because I want to stay abreast of the things that are being discussed in the scientific community. I have to admit, though, that I have to grit my teeth through just about every single one because the comments and snide remarks directed at Creationists and people of faith who hold opinions and beliefs that differ from those popularly recognized in the scientific community set me right on edge. Granted, a lot of this animosity some of these folks bring on themselves due to ill-informed arguments and general ignorance, but some of it is truly undeserved, as well. There’s something about people of faith being involved in science that almost instantly seems to generate the hostility of secular scientists. It makes it tough on those of us who do belief in a literal 6-day creation but who also want to be involved in, at the least, the discussions going on around the scientific community.

Consider me a true skeptic, I guess, who also holds Creationist beliefs. I know _I’m_ not going to get in your face about things, but I _will_ look at the evidence presented with as impartial a mind as I can.

So, I guess I’d just like to see the hostilities dialed back.

Drive

Everyone has certain values, beliefs, and goals that drive them. They serve as the presuppositions and the assumptions behind every thought, behavior, and action. And when these value systems are not clarified, they can hinder communication because people think they are on the same page when really they are not. Like everyone else, I have values and beliefs that drive me, that serve as my foundation for behavior. I could probably list many values that drive me, but here are my top three:

1. I believe in absolute truth and that that truth can be known. The main reason behind this belief is purely logical. A universe without absolutes would quickly (possibly instantly) spiral into chaos and disorder. There are absolutes in science, in the basic workings of the universe, that keep everything working smoothly. There are some who would say that there are no absolutes, that all truth is relative, and I would quickly point them to proven absolutes. They might then suggest that there is no social truth, that what is truth is different to each individual. But I would also suggest that this breaks from the very nature of the universe and of life itself. It is not hard to look into human behavior and see absolutes defining that behavior every day.

2. I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere-present God, loving, compassionate, yet just in all His ways, slow to anger, quick to forgive, a God who is there and who not silent, active, yet often subtle in His ways. This may, in fact, be the most basic of all my values, the foundation of all my foundations. There must have been an intelligent design to the universe, an establisher of the absolute truth I see all around me, a Being so much bigger than I am who can do all that I cannot. The only Being who even remotely fits the facts as I observe is the God
of the Bible. Everything I do is done with the knowledge that He sees me and cares about me and that I have to do little more than speak in order to communicate with Him.

3. I believe in integrity, that a man’s word is his bond. This is a natural step from the last and encompasses a great many other values. This includes keeping promises, fulfilling obligations
and responsibilites to the best of my ability, maintaining confidentialities (even when not explicity asked), and behaving with utmost respect and courtesy toward all other individuals.
Integrity is a big deal to me and drives me in a way that few other values can do. I would expect integrity directed toward me, and so I would direct no less than absolute integrity toward others.

We all have values to guide our lives and behavior. I’d be interested to hear some of yours. And if you haven’t thought about it, maybe it’s time you did.