Darwin’s Doubt Debate Pre-Game Warmup

We’ve had a recent string of posts on the origins of life, I thought I’d continue that string with this introduction to Intelligent Design. As indicated by William Lane Craig, I don’t think the theory of evolution need be a problem for any serious Christian. But I do gain a certain amount of pleasure in seeing the holes in the theory poked and prodded. Perhaps it’s because so many secularist presume that Darwin introduced the death of religion.

Bill Nye will soon debate a young earth creationist named Ken Ham. I’m not a young earth creationist so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. But one thing I’m certain of, Ham will discuss the limits of Darwin’s theory. When he does so, he will most likely be jumping off the work on Dr. Stephen Meyer (also not a young earth creationist).

In this video Meyer discusses his latest work “Darwin’s Doubt” and the scientific reaction to this book and the ever growing field of Intelligent Design. Often when I see Intelligent Design mocked or cajoled in culture it is being dismissed as a fancy word for “Young Earth Creationist”. I think hearing Meyers talk about his work will dismiss that notion.

For a look at someone really digging into the scientific hubris of the New Atheist see this scathing video featuring the David Berlinski (himself a non-believer). He intentionally reaches for acidic rhetoric which makes, if for nothing else, a fun listen.

5 thoughts on “Darwin’s Doubt Debate Pre-Game Warmup

  1. Tim said:

    Often when I see Intelligent Design mocked or cajoled in culture it is being dismissed as a fancy word for “Young Earth Creationist”.

    Obviously, the two concepts are too often conflated, and incorrectly so. My problem with YEC is that all the evidence is to the contrary; I fail to see how it’s even arguably true. Oh, well; the Ham-Nye “debate” should make for good theater. My problem with intelligent design as a science is that as a theory it’s essentially unfalsifiable. And I say this as someone who believes in a Designer (although the design may have been accomplished in part through random means).

    My impression of ID — and the Berlinski interview only affirmed it — is that ID is little more than a “god of the gaps” theory. The thinking seems to be that if no other theory can explain a phenomenon, then voilà, that somehow proves there was a designer. But that’s not logical; ultimately, belief in a Designer is still a matter of faith, not sciencre.

    Anyway, the Berlinkski interview was interesting, even entertaining at times, and he makes some excellent points. If nothing else, he explains well how our conclusions ultimately derived from our starting assumptions.

  2. I actually don’t think the Berlinski interview is all that positive in its treatment of ID. It’s more of a take-down on Scientism.

    I believe ID has striven to create falsifiable measures such as seeking the markers of “information” and irreducible complexity.

  3. Great interview! Meyer was outstanding and Metaxas was hilarious. I have both Meyers books, Signature of the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt and I’ve been picking my way through them. The theory of evolution as the end-all, be-all answer to life just doesn’t hold up any longer and seems to be falling before our very eyes…crazy stuff.

  4. Re: Berlinski

    He makes important points regarding intellectual honesty, science, and conscience. But his approach is indicative of applying hard science principles to life. If physics is any model, when it comes to life science, human beings may not be able to put forth a theory that will make sense.

    The complexity of life may be beyond the scope of human understanding. I agree with him that that Darwinian theory is a trajectory, not a scientific destination. We don’t know enough about life, we don’t have the data. And if we get the data, we may not have the mental capacity to make sense of it. We can barely explain economics, a system far less complex than life. An easily understandable theory explaining life will always be orthodoxy, not science.

    In essence, Berlinski correctly casts Darwinism is scientific literature, a sort of orthodoxy, not ‘pure’ science. As Berlinski points out, hardcore scientists are happy to put up with it because its literature they like, and it keeps them at the center of attention.

    This story ( http://www.radiolab.org/story/91712-limits-of-science/ ) is very good illustration of the difficulties in theoretically explaining anything as complex as life. Any theory that appears to makes popular sense will invariably be myth. (Recognizing that calling something a ‘myth’ does not diminish the importance of the story. Darwinism is scientific literature, orthodoxy, not ‘pure’ science. Any theory that appears to makes popular sense will invariably be myth. (Recognizing that calling something a ‘myth’ does not diminish the importance of the story.)

    A theory of evolution that would satisfy Berlinski may not be intelligible to any human—because he has an strong intellectual conscience and recognizes what we are up against when we endeavor to explain the world. And without a adequate philosophical framework, true knowledge becomes elusive. Can we know what we cannot explain?

    Because we cannot know the final answer to most scientific questions (we cannot even agree on the nature of the logic we use to describe our theories) whatever we stop questioning will be based on faith. What is worth putting faith in is a separate question from what is adequately descriptive of reality in relation to science.

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