Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

  1. “There is no reason why debates in ivory towers should not also take place at water coolers.”—Darrel Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code, 158

There is a difference between an argument and a sophisticated assertion.”—Greg Koukl

Richard Dawkins of Oxford University wrote that “biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”[1] The appearance of design in the cosmos is so strong that Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) felt compelled to warn that “biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”


The absurdity of such statements can be seen when we apply the logic to other areas of life. Can you imagine Crick’s advice being given to a car mechanic: “Mechanics must constantly keep in mind that what they see under the hood was not designed, but rather evolved.” Cars have the appearance of design because they are designed. Why should we believe anything different when it comes to the physical and biological worlds if they display the same tell-tale signs of design? Both contain specified and irreducibly complex systems, and the only known generator of such is intelligent designers.


The only reason to believe something different about the cosmos is an a priori commitment to philosophical and/or methodological naturalism. If you start off with the presupposition that there is no God (or if there is He is not involved with the universe) then it must be true that the appearance of design in our universe is only apparent, not real. But why should we believe God does not exist, or is not involved with our universe? These presuppositions must be defended before philosophical materialism should be taken seriously, and the random and purposeless evolution it supports.


If the world looks designed as Dawkins and Crick admit, why deny that it was indeed designed (it would be the simpler explanation)? What compelling evidence is there that would cause us to opt for a naturalistic explanation over some kind of theistic explanation? There is none! Only a predisposition to look for a naturalistic explanation that leaves God out. That’s why evolutionary theory is becoming less of a scientific theory and more of a philosophical (if not religious) dogma that cannot be questioned. That is why Darwinists all over the land are doing everything they can to run intelligent design theorists off the map. They can’t defend their philosophical viewpoint with solid empirical data so they resort to name calling and dismissals.


Darwinism has dominated science for the last 150 years, not because there is a plethora of evidence for the theory, but because the modern definition of science presupposes methodological materialism (you act as if the only thing that exists and is causally active in the world is matter), if not philosophical materialism itself (you actually believe nothing exists except the material world). If you arbitrarily define science as the pursuit of material causes, it should be no surprise that evolution will be the undisputed king of the scientific hill. By fiat definition it is the only game in town. That’s why the main thrust of the Intelligent Design movement has been to challenge the very definition of modern science itself, exposing the fact that it is presupposes philosophical materialism. If we have good reason to believe philosophical materialism is false (and we do), then much of the evolutionary theory comes crashing down with it like a house of cards in the wind.


The evolution vs. intelligent design debate is not a debate between science and religion or science and faith, but a debate over the very definition of science itself. It is a debate of science vs. science. Each side offers a competing scientific account of the physical world, but each driven by different philosophical presuppositions. May the best philosophy win!

[1]Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: Norton, 1987), 1.

[2]Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit (New York: Basic Books, 1988), 138.