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Thursday, June 05, 2008

The God of the Chaps - the ones who should retire soon

Here's an informative article, "God and Evolution" by Avery, Cardinal Dulles in First Things (October 2007) that offers an explanation of discomfort with intelligent design theory:
An important school of scientists supports a theory known as Intelligent Design. Michael Behe, a professor at Lehigh University, contends that certain organs of living beings are “irreducibly complex.” Their formation could not take place by small random mutations, because something that had only some but not all the features of the new organ would have no reason for existence and no advantage for survival. It would make no sense, for example, for the pupil of the eye to evolve if there were no retina to accompany it, and it would be nonsensical for there to be a retina with no pupil. As a showcase example of a complex organ all of whose parts are interdependent, Behe proposes the bacterial flagellum, a marvelous swimming device used by some bacteria.

Fine, but then he says,
At this point we get into a technical dispute among microbiologists that I will not attempt to adjudicate. In favor of Behe and his school, we may say that the possibility of sudden major changes effected by a higher intelligence should not be antecedently ruled out. But we may take it as a sound principle that God does not intervene in the created order without necessity. If the production of organs such as the bacterial flagellum can be explained by the gradual accumulation of minor random variations, the Darwinist explanation should be preferred. As a matter of policy, it is imprudent to build one’s case for faith on what science has not yet explained, because tomorrow it may be able to explain what it cannot explain today. History teaches us that the “God of the gaps” often proves to be an illusion.

What Cardinal Dulles does not seem to grasp is this: Once you decide that materialist explanations should be preferred, they are preferred even when the evidence supporting them is much poorer than the evidence supporting other explanations. That's because it's not a level playing field, right?

Thus, to take the flagellum as our example (because he and Behe both do), any idle conjecture about how it might have all happened by chance is "science" and any critique of such conjecture, however based, is "religion" (and therefore can't be published in a science journal?)

The "God of the Gaps" is a convenient fiction by which science-and-religion profs avoid facing the uncomfortable reality that most of what they do has been rendered irrelevant by the growing failures of Darwinism and materialism. No one needs them to cushion the pain of discovering that these things are true, because they're not. And increasing numbers of people know that.


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