Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Intelligent design hypothesis-conclusion of reflections

Intelligent design hypothesis-conclusion of reflections

After posting a few reflections on ID over the last month or so, I'd like to conclude for now with these thoughts.

Scientific endeavor is about hypothesis, measurement and testing. It always begins with a problem or question, and it should be a worthy one. A philosopher whose name escapes me (Popper?) said that doing research into the cubic volume of books in a library would be a theoretical subject for study, but pointless. Agreed. Not all research is worthwhile. But big questions about origins are worth asking, and we had better get the answers right since one of the options floating around out there is that we have a creator to whom we are accountable and who plans to bring us into judgment in eternity. Surely as the Christian philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal suggested in his 'wager', if that option is even anywhere near the table we had better take it very seriously? We ought at least not be willing to be thrown off the track by bluster, censorship and slogans.

'I've been out walking, for hours.
got something on my mind.
how did we get here
where are we going?
and why is life so hard?'

Fair questions, and old ones. We exist, our existence in this astonishing universe and marvelous planet seems very improbable but nevertheless here we are. we had to have originated somehow-so was it God or was it Chance? Its a question worth asking, and getting the right answer matters. As Dr Vij Sodera says (see link below) 'It doesn't matter what you believe as long as what you believe is true.'

It's probably true to say from anthropological studies and history that most humans since the beginning of humanity have assumed that we have a creator. Belief that the universe and its inhabitants were created by atoms sticking together whether entirely accidentally or through some impersonally 'life-force' (deism) go back to the ancients. I came across the idea that we had formed from atoms in Marcus Aurelius and I understand that Epicurus was an atheist who accepted some form of evolution. 

But obviously the idea was developed by Darwin in his 1859 book 'Origin of Species' that humans and other life forms developed by natural selection acting very slowly on naturally occurring variations and became known as the theory of evolution. And it is clear, notwithstanding the contradictions of professing Christians who say that molecules to man evolution is compatible with biblical Christianity, that the theory of evolution explains away our existence without recourse to a Great Maker or creator. In my opinion that has always been its purpose.

So what of ID? Clearly ID does not exist in a vacuum, it is primarily an  attempt by mainly (although not exclusively) Christian believers to falsify evolutionary theory by using the scientific method. Let's not be coy about this-but this is NOT an admission that ID arguments are inadmissible because they are tainted by the motives of their advocates, since CLEARLY the advocates of evolution are equally open to a charge of wanting materialism/atheism to be true.

to summarise

1) The intelligent design (ID) hypothesis is not religious. If its advocates have religious or philosophical motivations, then so equally do evolution advocates. Similarly, if ID has metaphysical implications, so equally does evolution theory. It is therefore NOT LEGITIMATE to exclude consideration of ID arguments and questions by smearing them as creationism in disguise.

2) ID makes observations and asks questions about structures in the natural world, particularly nanomachinery and information in living cells.

3) ID posits that unguided evolutionary mechanisms could not possibly have made the living things that we observe, and that unguided molecule to man evolution by natural selection acting on random mutations is therefore falsified. (*)

4) ID also notes, using similar arguments to Lyell and Darwin (the present is the key to the past) that we can observe the process and results of purposeful design today. Applying the lessons learned from studying design today, we find that living things share aspects of devices and structures that we know from direct observation were designed and made. We therefore deduce that the living things which we did not see originate were most likely designed by a superior intelligence. We deduce this on the grounds that we know from direct observation that complex, purposeful structures with numerous working parts routinely arise from intelligent design but are never seen to arise from unguided processes as evolutionists claim must have happened in the unobservable distant past.

I could go on but will leave it there for now.

Intelligent design  was a given for the Psalmist (e.g. Psalm 19:1 'the heavens are telling the glory of God') and the Apostle Paul (Romans 1: 8-22 where he argues that the divine nature is obviously seen through the things that have been made).

Going beyond the intelligent design hypothesis, the bible believing Christian notes that we have good reasons for believing that the God of Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel etc is the creator and has spoken to us, most notably and finally through His Son Jesus, who was raised from the dead and is coming again to judge the living and the dead. This Jesus and His Apostles repeatedly warned about false teachers and false prophets who would come particularly in the last days before the end of the world and would lead many astray. Paul wrote to the church at Colossae (Col 2:8)

'Take care that no one takes you away by force, through man's wisdom and deceit, going after the beliefs of men and the theories of the world, and not after Christ:'

I'd like to leave this discussion on ID there. For more information the UK centre for ID and the excellent book by Dr Vij Sodera which comprehensively documents the scientific evidence against evolution 'One Small Speck to Man: The Evolution Myth.'

Intelligent design basically shows, using scientific arguments and facts, why evolution theory doesn't work. Ask yourself, why is ID routinely vilified, misrepresented and censored in the main stream media? Ask yourself if you have ever seen a TV programme consider the arguments being put forward in support of the ID hypothesis. No, we are just constantly bombarded with evolutionist propaganda.

God or Chance? This is much too important to be left to the people who tell society what to think. If ID can be falsified by empirical science, for example by demonstrating a meaningful new structure self assembling without design input, then let it be so falsified. But if ID is being shouted down and suppressed by arrogant establishment bullies, then maybe consideration could be given to the possibility that evolution is an elaborate deception promoted and sustained by powers who want to stop you thinking about Christianity perhaps being true. If it is, then we will be giving account to God for our wrongdoing, including our culpable unbelief, sooner than we think.

(*) it is conceded that many ID advocates including Michael Behe, accept many aspect of evolution including long ages and a common ancestor, hence my carefully qualified description of evolution, a word that is claimed to mean many different things. I think Behe is wrong to accept long ages and common descent, but that does not invalidate the facts and arguments set out in his books and lectures.

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