Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Intelligent design vs. evolution

The debate over the theory of intelligent design heads into a federal courtroom next week.
A school district in south-central Pennsylvania (Dover Area, near York) wants simply to present that the theory exists, and wants to offer a reference that explains the theory.
But the evolutionists don't want this competing theory even to get just a reference.
Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which supports the teaching of evolution in public schools, said the controversy has little to do with science because mainstream scientists have rejected intelligent-design theory.
Intelligent design supporters "seem to have shifted virtually entirely to political and rhetorical efforts to sway the general public," Scott said. "The bitter truth is that there is no argument going on in the scientific community about whether evolution took place."

The bitter truth, Eugenie Scott, is that there is such a debate.
And it is raging in the scientific community.
Expert witnesses for the defense include biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University, who defended intelligent design in his 1996 book, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution."
Behe declined an interview request by The Associated Press, citing his involvement in the trial. However, in testimony before a state legislative panel in June on a bill to allow the teaching of intelligent design in Pennsylvania, Behe cited the bacterial flagellum - a whiplike appendage that enables bacteria to swim - as an example of intelligent design at work.
"Whenever we see such complex, functional mechanical systems, we always infer that they were designed. ... It is a conclusion based on physical evidence," Behe said.

Evolution can certainly stand to explain the adaptations and changes that have taken place in all animal species through the centuries. It can explain why we today are taller as a people than we were a century ago. It can explain how other species have adapted (evolved) to their environments.
But -- for me, anyway -- evolution does not explain the intelligence gap between homo sapiens and our animal cousins.
How is it that we have the potential for so much more knowledge, the ability to do so many more things, than any other animal?
Certainly, man is not the fastest, nor the largest, nor the strongest of species. By the principle of survival of the fittest, we might not have made it this far.
Somehow, we have. We have the ability to design communications systems far beyond what any other animal. We have devised transportation and shelter far more efficient and effective than any other animal.
How did we come by that ability?
By some evolutionary process?
Not overly likely. We would not have made it this far without some sort of early intervention in the process. Even the ability to "master" fire and devise weapons is beyond other species.
Which leaves it up to us to determine how we acquired the ability to do the things we do that no other species can do.
I choose to see that as the work of a Creator.
Logic, therefore, informs faith.