Science without Intelligence
by Curtiss Wikstrom
Charles Darwin set forth a theory to explain the origin of the various species on earth. He claimed that basic building blocks of life emerged on their own without the assistance of an outside intelligent force. He theorized that living organisms developed, and were composed of these basic building blocks over a long period of time. These building blocks became organized into more complex organisms as a result of a series of natural accidents. Those organisms survived that were most suited to the environment and superior in form to other organisms. He said the theory would not hold up if any instances of irreducible complexity were found in nature.
To test whether or not this hypothesis is true, one must explore whether or not there is irreducible complexity, or intelligent design in nature. In other words there can be no intelligent scientific exploration of the validity of Darwin's theory of evolution without discussing "intelligent design". That was the very conflict of views that Darwin wrestled with in his book, "The Origin of the Species".
If students are not allowed to explore and debate the scientific argument behind the theory, they must take it completely on blind faith. If Darwin's theory can not be tested and debated, then it no longer is a theory. It is a protected doctrine underpinning a worldview or "Religion". Sadly, many public schools now require that Darwinism be accepted on blind faith. A number of people would like to require by law that children in public schools must be taught Darwinism not as a scientific theory, but as the religious doctrine of the public school. They have gone to court to do so. If the federal courts decide that Darwin's theory cannot be questioned, then they will establish a religion in America by court order.
It is impossible to think without a set of pre-suppositions. To operate without a set of pre-suppositions is to be insane. A set of pre-suppositions is a worldview. A worldview means a "Religion" in the sense that is relevant to this discussion. No school can operate without a worldview of some sort, or a number of worldviews. To exclude all worldviews except one is to establish that worldview as the protected official "religion".
In order to return the schools to a position where there is no established religion, both evolution and intelligent design, as well as other theories, must be open for exploration and debate in our public schools. It is not important that the schools settle on one theory or the other, only that the search for truth be allowed to go on.
The theories of Copernicus, Pasteur, and many others had to overcome the resistance and condemnation of the established scientific community before their discoveries were finally accepted and used for the good of mankind. Today's oppressors are the neo-Darwinists. As in the past, we will only get beyond neo-Darwinism if courageous scientists are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to overcome the prejudices of today.
There have been a number of discoveries in the past several decades that create questions as to the validity of the Darwinian hypothesis. There is now a consensus that the world as we know it actually did begin at a point in history (The big bang). Some mathematicians have calculated that there was not enough time from the likely beginning of the universe until now for life to evolve to the extent that it has. As a result Darwinism became obsolete, so we now have neo-Darwinists, hypothesizing that there were spurts or leaps in the evolutionary process.
It has been discovered that there are a significant number of unique elements and arrangements in the universe necessary for life on earth to exist. The tolerances or parameters within which these things must operate are so fine or delicate that life on earth is extremely improbable.
The discovery of DNA showed us that even the simplest one celled organisms have a complex program that determines their existence. The fact that DNA contains information has lead many scientists and philosophers to doubt neo-Darwinism, because intelligence is required to produce information.
A number of our best scientists are drawn to the exploration of theories of, and processes affected by, intelligent design. Their ideas are fascinating and instructive. What have we got to lose by letting our children explore these theories? How are they hurt if what they discover causes them to ask the question, is there a designer? I believe the harm comes when they are not allowed to think, not allowed to ask, or not allowed to seek the truth. The quality of our lives has been greatly improved by those scientists who courageously persevered despite the prejudices of the established scientific community and conventional wisdom of political powers.
Some of those who do not want Darwinism to be explored in an intelligent way claim that doing so would "sneak" religion into our public schools, because debating whether or not there is irreducible complexity or intelligent design in nature might (horror of horrors) cause one to wonder if there is a designer. And asking whether there is a God is, in their minds, "Religion". That is not only a narrow minded view of what "religion" is, but also an absurd attempt to pigeonhole entities and concepts into permissible and impermissible categories. That sort of thinking could for example lead us to believe that the entity "atom" belongs to science, so musicians, farmers, political scientists, and others could not talk about atoms. Musicians could claim that the entity "frequency" belonged to them, so they could try to prohibit physical scientists from talking about or exploring the concept of frequency. Which of course could cause the physical scientists to rise up in arms and try to get Congress to give them the concept of frequency and deny it to musicians.
"Religion" is not a pigeonhole. However, even if it were, the entity and concept of designer, creator, or God, would not belong to it exclusively, no more than "frequency" belongs to musicians. And it is quite possible for a physical scientist to also be a musician, just as it is for a scientist to be a theologian. Those who want to separate frequency from physical science, could just as logically demand that the musical scientist separate his mind, or that the scientist theologian be cut in half.
It is logically and practically impossible for government to "neither advance nor inhibit religion" and operate a school. (See A Lemon of a Law.) It is impossible to teach anything without some set of pre-suppositions, and without some values, whether they are "good" or "bad". By controlling education, Government can advance one worldview and inhibit all of the rest. It can advance all worldviews and inhibit none. But it cannot inhibit all, and it cannot advance none. To prevent even the word God from being used or explored in either science, society, or morals, is to establish a religion that rejects the concept and being of God. But it goes beyond that. It establishes a "Religion" that is unwilling to define itself, or to prove itself. One cannot prove a scientific theory without discounting the alternatives to that theory and challenges to the elements of the theory. And one cannot prove or justify the validity of a "Religion" without overcoming the challenges to the doctrines of that Religion.
The current scientific exploration of intelligent design does not require one to believe that there is a designer or God. The objective of the scientist is to explore the nature and purpose of the designs that are found in nature in order to use that knowledge for empirical and theoretical pursuits. However, whether or not there is a designer is also a matter of fact. It can also be a scientific hypothesis, or a question for scientists to explore. In fact, if there were pigeonholes that had a claim on the discovery of the truth of God, it would be a group of sciences, including among others, astrophysics, biology, archeology, etc.
The challenge that intelligent design poses to Darwinism should be explored in the public schools for two reasons, (1) to bring freedom of thought back to scientific study, (2) to dethrone what has become the established religion in our public schools.
To make intelligent decisions about "intelligent design" don't listen only to those who oppose it, or to those who accept it unthinkingly. Read about it from those intelligent people who are proponents of the ideas. Some good books to read are: The Design Revolution, William Dembski; Uncommon Dissent, William Dembski, editor; Darwin's Black Box, Michael Behe. Books which promote neo-Darwinism in an intelligent way are The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins; The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Stephen Gould; and of course The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin.
There are primarily two groups of people who oppose freedom of thought in the science classroom. One group consists of atheists who do not believe in a creator or God, and who do not want their ideas to be debated. They want to impose their atheistic view on students. A second group consists of those who believe there is a God, but who think God and nature must be kept separate. They think God is of a "spiritual" world, apart from nature and that science and their Religion have different concepts of truth. They think it would be corrupting for scientists or theologians to step across the boundary between the two categories of thought and experience.
Those who want to have freedom of thought in the classroom, and a debate about Darwinism versus intelligent design usually believe that there is no conflict between truth as discussed in philosophy and religion or science. Whether or not there is a God is a matter of fact which can be explored scientifically, historically, archeologically, or metaphysically (reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses). There were at one time those who opposed allowing Darwinism to be taught as a theory. Some of the rationale put forward was that Darwinism would drive people away from a belief in God, which would result in a breakdown of moral order in society, and in atheism becoming the established Religion.
The correct view is that each position should be debated in our public schools. Whether or not a theory is true can only be ascertained by exploring the arguments on all sides of the issue. The oppressors at this time in history are the neo-Darwinists. Theirs is the established "Religion" in the public school, and many of them are doing as much as possible to prevent others from challenging their theories. Schools should not be run by politics, politicians, and judges. They tend to dictate what is taught, destroying freedom of thought and expression.