Rejection of Intelligent Design: intelligent move or not?
Reading between the lines of Rome’s Statements…
Michael P. Barro
2 Timothy 3:5—[In the last days, men are…] having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
It has become an irrefutable general knowledge that the Papal System, the Roman Catholic Church has made a 180 degree turn it her stand regarding Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This turn-around is making such a thrilling commotion in the scientific and religious communities as to whether it is right for then Pope John Paul II to give his blessings to the Theory of Evolution or not. In December 6, 1987 issue of Sunday Times the Roman Catholic makes it her official standpoint regarding the literal vs. figurative interpretation of Genesis account of Creation, rejecting the literal account of Mosaic Record of Creation. The Church, along many other splinter protestant groups as well, is trying to proliferate the assumption that the six days of creation is not literal at all, and operates in the premise that believing otherwise is a false interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. And recently now, in her attempt to defend the neo-Darwinian explanation of the creation and diversification of life, downplays Intelligent Design—the literal creationists ‘ace’ card in the debate.
What is Intelligent Design?
Intelligent Design, or ID, is Christians’ explanation of how life came to be and how life came to become too complex and too diverse. ID states that since everything and anything in the Universe, everything and anything within the scope of reality, is far too complex and too intricate to have come up on their own and by mere chance, then therefore, everything and anything could have not appeared on its own. There must be a designer being who made all these intricate parts and put them together in the most profoundly orderly fashion rather than matter forming its own laws of physics and adhering to such. To explain the degree of intricacy which life and everything else is being woven with, Creationists depicts in statistical probabilities the possibility of all Material forms coming together and placing themselves in their proper order in the sequence of processes with such razor sharp accuracy.
Adventist Christian Creationist Walter Veith gives an example of this probability to explain how life and matter coming together to complex forms by mere chance. In a lecture series by Amazing Discoveries The Genesis Conflict Dr. Veith illustrates this probability through this parallelism: After a bomb under a pile of wood is detonated, what are the odds that the debris and splinters of the wood will fall down and form a well-functional simple house? Though this illustration is just a comical strip in many cartoons shows, it is one way to explain complexity of Life coming together by mere ‘roll of the dice’; as Dr. Veith even adds that even life-forms at the genetic level require way greater chances to form on its own than the aforementioned.
Other Examples come from Illustra Media Documentary The Case for a Creator as authored by investigative journalist and Christian Apologist Lee Strobel. Lee investigates for scientific evidence which may either conclude or refute the existence of a Creator being. In such innumerable examples like the fine tuning of the universe, the irreducible complexity principles just to name a few, scientists assert that with such intricacies, life and especially complex life, could not have formed on its own without the direction of an external intelligent being. It is far too impossible; the odds of every parcel of matter even at the atomic level, to arrange themselves in the sequence of processes with such pinpoint accuracy, is a scientific proof that there is Grand design in the Universal Scheme of Reality.
This is the assertion of Christian Creationists and the exposition of Intelligent
Design which now Rome is trying to remove from the academe. Nicole Winfield relates in her article, Vatican Official refutes Intelligent Design (2005) of this occasion.
But what are the Implications of Vatican’s rejection of Intelligent Design as scientific truth? We might as well read between the lines of the Jesuit Director and the corresponding possible inferences that can be drawn from their standpoints.
Intelligent Design is not truthful…
To believe that “placing Intelligent Design alongside evolution is wrong, and that Intelligent Design isn’t even a science” reduces this scientific and theological conclusion as mere supposition. “Science is the search for truth” as two-time winner of Nobel Peace Prize Linus Pauling once said. But if Intelligent Design, which is drawn from scientific cesspool of knowledge, is not scientific then it is not empirically truthful. It is reduced to either mere hokum or false inference from scientific deductions.
And there is even more to this—if Intelligent Design is rejected because it points to severely uncomforting theological conclusions, then all other proofs which points more toward God and less to Darwinism must also be thrown out into the Garbage, other proofs which a large number of scientists are apt to admit as contradictory of Darwinian Explanation of Life Origins. One of these other proofs is the Cambrian Explosion, which as most scientific authorities assess more closer to the Genesis Account of Creation than Darwin’s Evolution (at least the gradualist paradigm of evolution). Is this going to be thrown out as well and brandished as pseudo-science simply because it refutes the more naturalistic and materialistic account of the origin of Life?
Intelligent Design is solely Faith-based…
True, that the Christian Religion requires more of Faith than of reason, as Christ himself said (John 20: 29, NASB), “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (2 Corinthians 5: 7) “We walk by faith and not by sight…”, and perhaps not even by scientific comprehension. Yet to believe that the Intelligent Design Principle should be taught only in religion and not in science classes negates its very scientific essence—we finally have empirical proof that there exists a God who created the universe and keeps everything in it in order. Removal of that inference suggests that God intends his children to take blind leaps of faith, and occasionally at that—a narrow understanding and a distortion of his plan. This precedence of Faith over Reason cannot be a cause of rejection of Intelligent Design simply because it has theological implications. If we confine Intelligent Design exclusively in the realm of Religious Studies, then we simply deny that God’s existence is also empirically true, not just spiritually true. Also, it makes our loyalty to Christ as mere fanaticism. If the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will guide us into all truth (John 16: 13, KJV), will he not include scientific truths as well?
The Bible is very clear that followers of Christ are not to be fanatical of their beliefs. Scriptures tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “Test everything”—a challenge even to non-believers. Acts 17: 10-11 recounts of Early Christians diligently scrutinized the bible with all open-mindedness. Is this fanaticism? Christian Faith is faith that is founded on sufficiently logical bases, and rejection of Intelligent Design as scientifically true would only destroy this truth.
Of course Rome’s rejection of Intelligent Design Paradigm s quite reasonable given that the Jesuit’s perception of Religion is highlighted by excruciating emphasis on unreserved and absolute submission. When Ignatius de Loyola first formed the Order in 1534, it was to become the most powerful ally and arm the Church has. Its followers are to yield to their religious superiors and spiritual leaders with utter denial of personal circumspection Perinde ac Cadaver or ‘similar to a corpse’. James Hitchcock relates, “Along with special loyalty to the Pope, obedience to Religious Superiors was the hallmark of Jesuit Life. Ignatius went so far as to assert that his men should not only do what the superior commanded but as far as possible, make his wishes their own.” One line in the Jesuit Oath-taking that attracted much attention goes to say, “I will have no opinion or will of my own, or any mental reservation whatsoever…”
Such attitude of blind conformity is undoubtedly one cause of the negating need for logical and reasonable basis for faith. Why uphold Intelligent Design when it is not only unnecessary in the practice and experience of religion, but destructive of it as well? The fact alone that Intelligent Design mitigates the assumed necessity of intellectual and mental suicide is enough for it to be discarded. ID will always be politically wrong in the prevailing mindset in the Society of Jesus.
The exclusion of ID in U.S. public education was ultimate, not because authorities of scientific research mainstream media has tried to face it in straightforward scientific language and equal philosophic platform, but because it makes Faith in God as reasonable, logical and scientifically and empirically legitimate lifelong discernment and experience.
The inquisition of the Dark Ages was executed by the Church of Rome under the vehement claim of exclusive rights of pointing and directing humanity to God. Anything else that lay claim of this right as well, such as the protestant reformation and now, scientific discoveries, jeopardizes this exclusivity. It is unfortunate that the largest Christian Denomination and many others today are trying to displace it from academic institutions while at the same time still wearing the religionist garb—having a form of godliness but denieth the power thereof. Christians can do better by developing the intellectual bases of their faith, maintaining the stronghold of the Christian Belief system not just by prayer and bible study, but by formal and secular education as well.
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Linus Pauling, No More War!
US chemist & pacifist (1901 - 1994)
Nicole Winfield. (November 22, 2005). Vatican official refutes intelligent design. www.sciy.org retrieved on May 23, 2012 from http://www.sciy.org/2005/11/22/vatican-official-refutes-intelligent-design/
James Hitchcock, The Pope and the Jesuits. The National Committee of Catholic Laymen, New York, New York. (1984). p. 11