Monday, October 16th, 2006


Darwinist, Robert Eberle, shows his faith in materialism and his willingness to mischaracterize ID in a recent review of Francis Collins’s book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Eberle wrote:


 

Although elsewhere in the book he is highly critical of the “god of the gaps” argument employed by Intelligent Design creationists, who chase down the gaps in scientific knowledge to proclaim that this is where God intervenes, Collins’ deduction that evolution cannot account for the Moral Law is just another gap. He reviews some of the modern evolutionary explanations for the evolution of the moral sentiments, but he dismisses them as inadequate, and then draws his conclusion. This is the fallacy of personal incredulity — “I can’t think of how X can be explained naturally, ergo X must have a supernatural explanation.”[1]

 


These sort of comments about ID are aggravating. All creationists are IDers (in the basic sense of the word), but not all IDers are creationists. The two views are different in principle. Calling ID a creationist movement is a rhetorical device intended to dismiss ID out of hand (since the courts ruled the teaching of creationism in school unconstitutional, and since scientific data seems to disconfirm creationism proper).

 


Furthermore, ID is not supported by “god of the gaps” (GOG) reasoning (where God is invoked to explain that which we are ignorant of). A genuine GOG argument is an appeal to God when we lack understanding, not when we possess it. In the case of ID, it does not invoke an Intelligent Designer to explain what we do not understand, but rather to explain what we do. Design is being inferred from positive knowledge, not ignorance. It is illegitimate to label a position a GOG argument as Eberle has done, when an Intelligent Designer is appealed to as the best explanation of the evidence.


 

Looking at Eberle’s last two sentences, it seems as if he recognizes this. Collins examined all the naturalistic explanations, and found them explanatorily inferior to the Intelligent Designer hypothesis. The existence of an Intelligent Designer better accounted for the data, and thus Collins concluded an Intelligent Designer does exist. Eberle called this a lack of imagination. Why should Collins have to imagine anything? I thought science was about an empirical investigation of the world, not speculation! Why should Collins have to imagine possible future evidence that would unseat ID? Why can’t he just accept that as a valid and true conclusion? Why is that conclusion off-limits? Because science has been hijacked by materialism, and demands that our explanation of the cosmos be limited to purely natural causes.

This restraint is not only unfair and unprincipled, but silly. We should draw our conclusions on the evidence available to us now, not some imagined evidence that could theoretically surface in the future. If no naturalistic proposal works, and the theistic explanation makes the best sense, how can Collins be faulted for opting for it? Could a naturalistic explanation be found that is superior to the theistic one? In principle, yes. But until that day he is justified adopting the best explanation given the current evidence. The author would rather have Collins exercise faith in materialism than follow the evidence where it leads.

 

The real problem is not Collins’s lack of imagination, but Eberle’s overactive imagination. He is so committed to a particular philosophy that when science does not confirm it, he dogmatically maintains his faith, hoping his philosophy might be vindicated in the future. It just goes to show that belief in materialism requires an imagination, not evidence.


[1]Robert K. Eberle, “The Language of God: If God Could Talk What Would he Say?” Review of Francis Collins’ book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief; available from http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/06-10-03.html; Internet; accessed 03 October 2006.

 

ScienceDaily reported on work being done by Martin Egli, Ph.D. of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the origins of DNA. The article begins:

 

DNA’s simple and elegant structure—the “twisted ladder,” with sugar-phosphate chains making up the ‘rails’ and oxygen—and nitrogen—containing chemical “rungs” tenuously uniting the two halves—seems to be the work of an accomplished sculptor. Yet the graceful, sinuous profile of the DNA double helix is the result of random chemical reactions in a simmering, primordial stew.

Just how nature arrived at this molecule and its sister molecule, RNA, remains one of the greatest—and potentially unsolvable—scientific mysteries. But Vanderbilt biochemist Martin Egli, Ph.D., isn’t content to simply study these molecules as they are. He wants to know why they are the way they are. “These molecules are the result of evolution,” said Egli, professor of Biochemistry. “Somehow they have been shaped and optimized for a particular purpose.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>

 

Isn’t it strange that something so elegant and complex doesn’t need a designer? Outside of the realm of biology (which has theistic implications), would the author make such ridiculous assertions? Would he speak of the elegant structure of the space shuttle, but then go on to claim it is the result of random chance processes occurring in a primordial junk yard? Or would he say that the simple and elegant structure of the pyramids—which appear to be the work of historical designers—are just the result of random chance processes in the desert? Of course not! I find it amazing how scientists can grasp the amazing complexity, specification, and elegance of the universe and its living inhabitants, and yet deny that such required a designer.

 

What I find really amazing is the quote from Dr. Vanderbilt. He claims the DNA molecule is the result of evolution, and yet also maintains that it was “shaped and optimized for a particular purpose.” What! That is a Darwinian no-no. He is sneaking teleology into evolution. The two are incompatible. Theism, not evolution, allows for teleology. If there is no intelligent designer designing the universe, and all that is came about by random chance processes, then whatever is just is. Evolution does not foresee what it is creating. It does not select one mutation over another for some ultimate goal in the unforeseen future. Natural selection selects whatever is beneficial for immediate survival; nothing else. Evolution has no foresight, and no purpose.

 

Even evolutionists cannot escape the recognition that the universe contains purpose. Sometimes they even slip and admit it publicly. Unfortunately they fail to recognize that purpose implies design, and design implies a designer.

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<!–[endif]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>Science Daily, “Uncovering DNA’s ‘Sweet’ Secret”; available from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061003143520.htm; Internet; accessed 4 October 2006.