Saturday, February 17, 2007

The "It's About Religion" Canard

In a BreakPoint Commentary titled 'A Passion for Truth' Chuck Colson wrote:

"A couple of years ago on this program, I had this to say of the book Doubts about Darwin by my friend Thomas Woodward: “The motivation for [the] . . . founders of the [intelligent] design movement to instigate this ‘reformation within science’ is a passion for intellectual truth-telling.”

Woodward displays this passion for truth-telling yet again in his marvelous new book, Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design. What Woodward wrote about just a few years ago is even truer today. Amid a firestorm of criticism and abuse from committed Darwinists, the intelligent design movement continues to press forward, gaining scientific credibility and even grudging respect from some evolutionists. But as Woodward shows, there’s still a long way to go.

Because the more respect intelligent design gains, the more alarmed the Darwinists become. Their thinking goes something like this: It’s one thing for those religious people to talk about a creator God—that’s religion; but now they are talking about science—so, they figure, “Let’s label it religion.” Woodward writes, “These sentiments were echoed in public declarations, verbally and in print, by Darwinian defenders, warning . . . that Intelligent Design is religion, not science . . . This statement,” Woodward continues, “emerged as the number-one talking point for Intelligent Design opponents [over the last few years].”


Use labeling rather than reason. Assert the plausibility of abiogenesis, in spite of the paltry evidence for it. Then ignore physical phenomenon like sequential properties of functional DNA that make it more amenable to purposeful, intelligent causal explanations. And what's religious about this?


"The idea makes for a great sound bite, as the popular press is well aware. But it has no ground to stand on, and that’s becoming increasingly obvious if you spend any amount of time researching the issue. Intelligent design theorists come from all backgrounds and creeds; some of them aren’t “religious” at all. What they have in common is what Woodward calls a “scientific paradigm” that allows for design in any natural mechanism that can’t be explained simply by chance or purely natural causes. His meticulously researched book clearly explains the scientific reasoning behind this paradigm.

Ironically, it’s the anti-intelligent design forces that are fully committed to a religious dogma—a dogma whose foundation is starting to show dangerous cracks. Their religion is materialism, and some of them even admit it, like Harvard geneticist Richard Lowentin. Woodward quotes him as saying: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs . . . because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.”


Well said. The standard bearers for the status quo are not without extra-scientific values that determine how they view nature. We all bring metaphysical views to the table. It's time ID opponents acknowledge this.

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