Monday, October 6, 2008

Diverse Origins Views

There is spirited disagreement among proponents of ID (intelligent design), theistic creationism, and naturalistic evolution. Discovery Institute is a well-known think tank perhaps best known for advocacy of ID, but without identifying the designer. There are many theistic creationist organizations that support varied proposals of direct, theistic intervention to account for the existence and characteristics of earth and its life forms. Reasons to Believe (RTB), for example, is a day-age creationist organization. They identify the God of Judeo-Christian scripture as the designer and Creator. Evolutionists generally state that earth and its life developed without direct intervention from any theistic agent. ID and creationist advocates have similar, but not identical positions in their interactions with evolutionists, who claim neither ID nor creationism is science because they propose the agency of a scientifically non-testable entity and fail to present a coherent scientific model.

All three viewpoints mainly agree that science uses the methodology of observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion in evaluating theories and models. Disagreement among the camps centers on recognition of an agent or cause which brought everything into existence. The battle cry of evolutionists is that since both ID and creationism are religion, not science, neither has a place in venues where the history of the universe, its life, and its processes are taught, such as school science classes. Many emotionally-charged court cases in the past few decades have involved attempts to have ID or creationism included for discussion in the science classroom.

Readers may be surprised to discover that some creationist organizations, such as RTB, join with evolutionists in claiming that ID is not science. They say the concept of ID is merely a set of tools which can be used to support an alternative to the paradigm of evolution, much the way a microscope is a tool to help us form our theories about cell biology. Dr. Fazale Rana, who outlined these ideas in a recent RTB publication, hopes that ID can become science by developing an explanatory model of life’s origin, history, and diversity. Discovery Institute would disagree, claiming ID uses the scientific method to make its claims. Evolutionists use their non-science argument effectively to generate unwarranted disrespect for including and integrating ID and creationism within our view of what is true and real.

The Reasons to Believe organization has been in the forefront of efforts to develop a creation model. RTB has long promoted developing a creation model rather than merely pointing out weaknesses in evolutionary theory. Their model includes testability and making predictions to validate the hypothesis, theory, or model, and to provide a framework for organizing and making sense of observations. Unsuccessful predictions would necessitate model revision and even possible rejection of the model. Their proposals are hallmarks of good science. RTB president Dr. Hugh Ross develops a welcome, coherent scientific model of creation in his recently published book Creation as Science. The science community would do well to give the RTB model careful attention.