Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » INTELLIGENT DESIGN LETTER OF THE DAY

    Filed at 12:22 pm under by dcobranchi

    From the April 18th edition of Chemical & Engineering News:

    Your editorial is an outrageous insult to chemists and chemical engineers who believe in an intelligent designer and who are not afraid or embarrassed to call him or her God.

    How dare you presume to object to the teaching of an alternate explanation for the creation of the universe than blind chance? What are your credentials in philosophy and theology that allow you to speak with such arrogant authority for your explanation and so demeaningly of someone else’s? As a person of science, you above all should know that you cannot prove that someone or something does not exist. All the bones in the world would not prove the nonexistence of a divine being.

    Not for one second do I believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days. I don’t know anyone who does. However, the idea that evolution was directed by an intelligent designer is an absolutely valid explanation of the observed facts, and it is rejected a priori by persons infected by the attitudes of 18th- and 19th-century scientists and philosophers who thought they had the whole world figured out. The debacle of man’s inhumanity to man of the 20th century, in particular the misuse of science by the Germans and Japanese, seems to have had no effect on the sensibilities of these moderns.

    Evolution by blind chance leads us back to the idea that “man is the measure of all things,” a philosophical concept that predates Aristotle. Morality comes from the sword–“might makes right”–or the ballot box, “the majority rules.” It validates totalitarian governments and anything they do. The absolute standard of morality is gone. Government sets standards by making things legal or illegal, but nothing is right or wrong absolutely. The danger of this idea for the well-being of society cannot be overstated; anything goes.

    We have so much to do to educate the public away from fear of chemicals and the chemical industry and toward some reasonable approach to nuclear power and other alternate sources of energy that we can ill afford the time to promote an unprovable, atheistic explanation of creation.

    Raymond S. Martin
    Beverly, Mass.

    So is the designer God or not? Martin comes right out and says it is. Other ID proponents (some right here at HE&OS) hem and haw and claim they don’t know.

    I’m not going to fisk Martin’s letter– way too easy. But I still have to ask, what does any of this have to do with science?


    Comment by
    Eric Holcombe
    April 26th, 2005
    at 1:17 pm

    … and why is Chemical Engineering News promoting biology curricula?

    Comment by
    April 26th, 2005
    at 4:44 pm

    Lets be clear on the definitions of god and God, and rephrase Daryl’s question: Is the designer the Judeo-Christian God of the Old Testament? Or is he/she/it/they some other god-like being or collection of beings? Before this question can be answered, you gotta determine if there is a designer to begin with.

    Now, as to the other question, what does this have to do with science? Webster defines science as: “a branch of study concerned with observation and classification of facts and esp. establishment of verifiable general laws. Evolution postulates that a process of random chemical (that’s why its in a chemical engineering publication) reactions over 4 billion years resulted, first in the basic chemical building blocks of life, then in one celled creatures, then higher forms, etc. If one accepts the assumption that the complex structures of life could be the result of random chance, then evolution makes sense, but we can neither observe nor verify that this process actually occured. (Nor can we eliminate the possibility that there was a designer that set the process in motion, see e.g. the theories of Deisim and the Chinese theories behind the I Ching.)

    Some folks find the postulate hard to accept. Is it possible to randomly throw the parts of a watch together and have them fall together in the form of a finished watch? Could the complex bonds of the DNA double helix just fall together by accident? From their observations, the structures of life are too complex to be accounted for by random chance. They reject the postulate and seek an alternative explanation. If random chance is not acceptable, then someone must be driving the bus. Enter Intelligent Design. Different postulates, differnt theory.

    Before Galelio pointed his telescope toward the planets and established proof that the solar system is heliocentric, there were two theories that attempted to describe the laws governing the motion of the planets. One postulated that the Earth was at the center of the universe, the other postulated that the Earth was a planet orbiting the sun. Both systems were capable of describing the planets motion, but only one really described the process, because only one of them had made the correct assumptions.

    Thus far there has been no evidence produced that could prove or disprove the random chance postulate. Science’s job is to design an experiment to test the assumption. Methinks that when we get to the point where we can ‘design’ such an experiment, we will have our answer.

    Comment by
    April 26th, 2005
    at 5:35 pm

    Great comments Tad – I would only hedge a bit on the last part regarding proof or lack thereof regarding chance. It seems to me that the evidence is pointing more and more towards design and away from chance as biologists (particularly those of the molecular bent) learn about the underlying mechanisms of life.

    I would also add that many evolutionists would separate origin of life from evolution of existing life.

    Is life as we know it evolving? And to what extent? ARe there other mechanisms of evolution that we are not aware of, and are the known mechanisms limited in their creative ability. These are all key questions that are not being openly discussed or acknowledged by the scientific community.

    Comment by
    April 26th, 2005
    at 10:52 pm

    Thanks for your kind comment Dave. There are many that agree with you, and many that see things the other way. I don’t think it preponderates either way. As hard as chance is to reconcile, it is even more difficult to reconcile the paradox of design. If this existence is too complex to have happened by chance, where did the designer come from?

    Somewhere, somehow, something had to just be. Either coming into being spontaneously or existing outside of time. Or perhaps revolving in a great circle where the end produces the beginning. Perhaps ‘intelligence’ is part of that elusive unifying force the physicists are looking for, and in a disembodied form designed itself a corporeal host. But that is just conjecture. Or perhaps our senses deceive us. In the final analysis, the only objective statement we can make with out making assumptions is cogito ergo sum, I think therefor I am. Everything else could be a holodeck fantasy.

    Comment by
    Brian Sassaman
    April 26th, 2005
    at 10:54 pm

    Sounds like a good plot line for a Michael Crichton novel, and of course, a big movie to follow. I submit a working title: Double Helix.

    Get David Duchovny to play a scientist who discovers a “signature” or “fingerprint” in DNA. And that somehow matches up with some heretofore undiscovered biblical text.

    Just send me the royalties.

    Comment by
    April 27th, 2005
    at 10:16 am

    You can write that one. I have several more ideas. And about those royalties…