Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Intelligent and Creative

Our recent coffee table book discussions proposed intelligent design as a requirement for the books’ subject matter. The personal appeal of the volumes displayed on our sun room coffee table or the tables in our doctor’s waiting room often depends on our ability to identify a mind speaking through the book’s pages. As we thumb through the pages of a Chronicle of the American Automobile, or peruse photograph-rich Cabin Fever to appreciate the architectural design and appeal of early vacation camps and dwellings, or even exult in pictures and descriptions of the unique beauty, behaviors and functions of creatures in National Geographic’s Animal Encyclopedia, we are left with an inescapable impression that design surrounds us everywhere. Moreover, the designers’ creative mental blueprints speak more powerfully beyond physical designs.

Returning to over 1000 high quality photographs and 2500 written descriptions of animals in the National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia, the impressions of intelligent design are ubiquitous and overwhelming. The former buzz term intelligent design (ID) does not appear anywhere in this 2012 published volume authored by Dr. Lucy Spelman. We did not expect the term to appear in a secular science book. What is highly unusual, however, is that the term evolution does not appear anywhere in the text either. I have long observed that repeated and wearying use of the term evolution does nothing to fortify the concept of naturalistic evolution in a book not written explicitly about evolutionary theory. Rather, frequent use of this word serves more aptly as cheerleading propaganda in the face of serious weaknesses in evolutionary theory.

Intelligent design has been touted as a relatively recent religious concept sometimes standing in for or supplementing the scriptural doctrine of creation. The willful production of designed features in our cosmic domain by the Biblical Creator and the process of supernatural creation in the beginning or at intervals since the beginning both speak of the work of the God of the Bible. Whether or not the terms intelligent design and creationism are interchangeable, one thing is certain: In our modern culture, both intelligent design and creationism are characterized as non-science by our modern evolutionary scientific elite. Even theistic evolutionists disparage intelligent design and creationism on grounds ID and creationism are non-science.

The intense secular effort to remove discussion of life’s development from any reference to God is related to the effort to preserve the distinction between science and non-science. This distinction is frequently an effort to deny the reality of God and God’s work as designer and creator. Pronouncing concepts of theistic design and creation non-science, unscientific, or pseudoscience obscures the more important quest for truth concerning the origin and history of man and life on this planet. The science profession has succeeded in establishing science as unable and unwilling to consider evidence for design features and creation events, especially if that evidence points toward a supernatural adequate cause and away from a natural adequate cause.

Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT recently generated discussion based on distinctions between science and non-science. What distinguishes science from non-science? We might ask if intelligent design is science or non-science? Or is it pseudoscience? Hutchinson claims that the current opinion in philosophical circles is that the demarcation between science and non science has no clear solution, but there are “intuitive ways” by which science is identified.

One of Hutchinson’s identifiable characteristics of science is clarity. Hutchinson may be more confident in clarity as an intuitive means of science identification than the stiff, scholarly characterization of methodological naturalism (MN) as an identifier of science. This blog has repeatedly described the science profession’s embrace of MN which does not permit scientists to include any supernatural considerations in their explanations of reality. In brief, they practice science AS IF God neither exists nor ever existed. Hutchinson accurately describes the codification of science… “For much of the twentieth century philosophers of science sought mightily for methodological descriptions or definitions of science: either to identify and explain the methods that science uses to obtain its knowledge, or more modestly to supply criteria that distinguish science from non-science.”

What about the public view of ID and creationism as they have been characterized in the 21st century? Are ID and creationism religious concepts? Are ID and creationism true? According to the clarity by which ID and creationist conclusions about the world of living things are manifest, we posit that adherents of ID and creationism hold a strongly credible position. Humans possess a strong intuitive belief in supernatural design features and supernatural creation. In addition, realities of design features surround us everywhere we look, even within our coffee table volumes. Intuitive beliefs in concepts of intelligent design and supernatural creation supplement rational beliefs. It is our position that plentiful evidences of design features surround us everywhere and that historic evidences of sudden creation events overwhelm evidences for gradual, naturalistic evolution.