February 7, 2004
Intelligent Design: Creationism Evolves Again
This was an excellent meeting with a large
turnout (nearly 140 people).
Dr. Edis is a Professor of
Physics at Truman State University, in Kirksville, Missouri, and the author
of the book “The Ghost in the Universe,” which received an award as the best
Humanist book of 2002.
Dr. Edis' talk noted that
Intelligent Design (ID) is a more sophisticated version of creationism.
Instead of pushing the idea of young earth creationism and a 6000 year old
universe, the new ID creationists postulate an older universe, but with a
designer who created the different species. They deny that Darwinian natural
selection could bring about the complexity of life and ecosystems that exist
today. Michael Behe, for instance, used the term “irreducible complexity” to
describe his belief that there must have been a master designer (i.e., God.
ID proponents have a theistic orientation, but try to pass themselves off as
scientific. Although a few of the leaders of the movement have genuine
scientific degrees, they are not noted for research and do not publish in
peer-reviewed scientific journals. However, they have often tried to
influence public school boards to give equal weight to ID in biology
textbooks, claiming that to do otherwise would be unfair and would take
sides in a scientific controversy. There is indeed a controversy, but it is
in the mind of the general public, not within the scientific community.
Dr. Edis is from Turkey, a
country with an Islamic culture and a secular government. He dealt at
length, not only with Christian creationists, but also with Muslim ones.
Islam is more oriented towards creationism than is Christianity.
There are many liberal
Christians (and even some conservative ones) who accept evolution. Few
Muslims do. Islamic high culture supports a generic ID view of nature.
Dr. Edis said that there is a
real cultural divide and the dispute over evolution is only one point of
contention. There is the practice of scientists of following “methodological
naturalism” to come up with explanations about nature that are in accord
with the evidence and exclude the supernatural. Some may look on this as
amoral. However, naturalism has been successful, because it has better
described the world, not because scientifically-oriented people have
arbitrarily rejected ID. If ID can result in new research that better
explains the world, it should be accepted. However, Dr. Edis sees that as
Report prepared by Wayne Luney, HAGSA Recorder
You can download Dr. Edis'
PowerPoint presentation from here by right clicking on the link below (or,
on a Macintosh, using Ctrl+Click). The file is only about 1.8 megabytes. With a broadband connection, it should take a
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Don't try to open the
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