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“In  the  Beginning

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

OR  RANDOM MUTATION

?

THIS IS a question that is commanding the attention of millions of people around the world today – intelligentsia, scientists, theologians, and college students.

Since the days of Charles Darwin in the 19th c. a battle has been waged between Creationists - those who believe God created the universe, and all the living species of life on the earth, and Evolutionists – those who believe the universe and life came into being by chance – by random mutation and not by an intelligent being.

All along there have been scientists on both sides of the debate on origins.

WHAT IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN?

IN recent times an “Intelligent Design” movement has surfaced as an alternate theory to evolution. It has been sweeping through the United States , and is now being taught along with evolution in some schools.

The ID theory claims there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained without attributing their design to an intelligent agent. The complex DNA code required for life from the beginning couldn’t have happened by chance; some organisms are so complicated that they could not have evolved from something else.

THE HUMAN EYE

For example, evolution cannot explain how something as complex as the human eye could have evolved. The eye only works because all the components work together in a complex whole. The components there-fore cannot evolve into the whole but must have been designed that way.

Proponents argue that there are gaps in Darwin ’s theory which, in the mid 19th century, attempted to explain the development of life through processes such as natural selection and random mutations. Life is so complex there must have been a higher intelligence involved.

ID doesn’t fully support the creationist view that the universe was created in six days, and that the world was made 6000 to 10,000 years ago. It accepts some evolutionary developments, and it doesn’t actually say that God is the designer. But it attacks Darwin ’s theory that life evolved by numerous, random, successive, slight modifications.

Creationists believe that the Intelligent Designer is God, as the Bible teaches, and that His handiwork is clearly evident throughout the universe, and in all species of life.

FIERCE BATTLE RAGING

Critics say ID is a religious belief and it properly belongs to a religion or philosophy course. They say it does not hold up as a scientific theory because its claims cannot be scientifically tested.

And so a new battle is being waged over what we should believe about the origin of life. And at the heart of the battle are the questions, “Is there a Creator – God!” and, “Is the Bible inspired of God, or is it merely the work of ancient philosophers’ imaginations?”

The principal of Sydney’s Pacific Hills Christian School, Ted Boyce, said that ID has emerged from the creationist versus evolution­ist arguments, and that it is somewhere in between the two. “Evolution is taught in the school system as if it’s a universally accepted theory and that there’s no other way to view the origin of man and creation. I have trouble with this. We would teach evolution as a theory and ID as an alternative theory,” he said.  - * Roy Eccleston, see ref. at end of article.

But there is fierce opposition to this position.  The Dean of Science at the University of NSW , Mike Archer, wrote in the Adelaide Advertiser; “Intelligent Design is not science. As Australian scientists and science educators, we are gravely concerned that so-called ‘intelligent design’ might be taught in any school as a valid alternative to evolution.” (21 Oct 05).

SCIENTISTS SEEK BAN ON ALTERNATIVE LESSONS

According to the Adelaide Advertiser, (21 Oct 05), 70,000 scientists have compared Intelligent Design to ‘spoon-bending and alien abductions’ and have called for the controversial alternative to evolutionary theory to be banned from schools. In an open letter to major newspapers, the unprecedented collaboration says the idea – suggesting life is too complex to have come about without a guiding intelligence – fails to be science ‘on every level.’

While some schools are planning to add ID to their curriculum, the Australian Science Teachers Association says it’s a belief system, not science, and the associa­tion has agreed to resist any pressure to have it taught in science classes.

Australian federal Education, Science and Training Minister, Brendan Nelson, has entered the debate, saying that while he opposed teaching ID as a replacement for evolutionary theory, if their parents and schools agreed, children should be exposed to it - but not in science classes.

The Catholic Church includes some power­ful supporters of ID as a balance to the teaching of evolution.

In Australia , Archbishop George Pell says the theory of evolution is compatible with the church’s teaching but it is sometimes taught “in an anti-God way.” “If that’s the case, I’d be happy for them to talk about design or intelligent design,” he says of science teachers.” *

In Western Australia , Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey, said Intelligent Design, while not itself demanding belief in a Creator, nevertheless sat comfortably with Catholics and should be taught alongside evolutionary theory in science lessons.

“Intelligent Design is a far more elegant description of historical changes than an entirely evolutionary approach, and it therefore should not be ignored in the classroom,” he said.

“The problem in our society is that the theory of evolution has been installed in our education system and is defended by too many educators as the sole scientific approach to the existence of the universe and the appearance of the many forms of life.

“One result is that too many stu­dents are unable to protect them­selves from the conscious or subcon­scious assumption that human life has no purpose or meaning.”

VATICAN : “EVOLUTION AND BIBLE COMPATIBLE”

THE Vatican , however, has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criti­cism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution, and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin ’s theory of evolution were “perfectly compatible” if the Bible were read correctly. His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US , who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.

“The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim,” he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that “the universe didn’t make itself and had a creator.” His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the “intelligent design” view.                                 - The Times  / 7 Nov 05


  CAMPUS CRUSADE PROMOTES  ID  DVD

BILL Hodgson, national director of Campus Crusade for Christ in Australia , is not deterred by the fierce debate, having been very impressed by a DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

The DVD has been produced by pro-ID scientists who argue that Charles Darwin’s theories are badly flawed. Hodgson denies he is evangelising by stealth.

“Our interest is providing people with the resources that can help stimulate interest and discussion, among young people, on the bigger questions of life,” he says. “The DVD asks some big questions. Our view is that it is moderate, brilliantly done and has scientific merit; that is, these are scientists presenting their case, they are not laymen.”

Hodgson says ID has testable theories that show why the complexity of some living things is beyond chance. Hodgson has discussed the idea with Education, Science and Training Minister Brendan Nelson, and provided copies of the DVD.   - * Roy Eccleston

Focus on the Family, a Melbourne Christian group that has sold about 1000 copies of the DVD in the past couple of years, believes ID should be a science class discussion. A leader, Colin Bunnett, says, “Telling kids they are a random chance, they start to lose meaning in their lives. You see problems of drugs, alcohol, and suicide. If you believe you are just a random chance, the way you look at your life is quite different to if you see evidence of intelligent design.”

Richard Drew, a biologist at Griffith University in Brisbane , sees merit in the science in the DVD. “I believe it’s possible to be a scientist and consider that there is evidence for intelligent design.” He specializes in fruit flies, and can see how they have evolved rapidly through muta­tions. “But,” he says, “Through science I have never been able to understand the beginning of the world,” he says.  - * Roy Eccleston

Australian’s world-renowned physicist, Paul Davies, says ID is not scientific because its theories cannot be tested. “It’s a creationist perversion,” he says.  And yet Davies argues for a God who makes the laws of the cosmos, allowing life and consciousness to emerge naturally.

“The problem with the ID theory is that it puts God into the gaps,” he argues, meaning that proponents look for where science has no clear answer, and then claim it is evidence of God’s handiwork. “There was a time when rain was a mystery, so rain gods were invented. But now we can explain it and we don’t need a rain god or anybody else. But just because we have gaps in the scientific account it does not mean we have to have miracles.” - * Roy Eccleston


  EVOLUTION WARS IN U.S

TWO prominent ID proponents are US biologist Michael Behe and mathematician William Dembski. Behe’s argument focuses on cells, where molecular machines of great complexity operate in a way that Darwin could not know.

Behe argues that some of these could not have been formed by successive modifications because they were “irreducibly complex.” He uses the analogy of a mousetrap, which needs all its pieces to be present to work. You cannot start catching mice with the wooden platform and spring before adding the other bits to improve it.

Behe’s big ID example is the flagella of bacteria, the long whip-like propellers that move them along. The flagellum has 40 parts, from molecular motor to propeller, and is worked by dozens of proteins, he says. It must have been designed, since, like a mousetrap, it could not have evolved from anything else.  

The counter-argument   is that the flagellum’s parts, like parts of a mousetrap, can function on their own in different ways. They may have been co-opted from other jobs, such as spare parts. Some proteins from the flagellum, for example, are used by bacteria to inject poison into other cells.

Mathematician Dembski argues that ID is proved by what he calls “specified complex­ity.” This is evidence of a complex system not easily repeatable through chance and that shows an independent pattern. An example would be a signal from space, encoded with prime numbers under 100. That would have to be the work of a mind.

In his books, Dembski claims to show by mathematics that Darwin ’s undirected nat­ural processes of evolution “are incapable of generating the specified complexity that exists in biological organisms.”  - * Roy Eccleston

In early August, President George W. Bush weighed in on the issue and expressed support for the idea of combining lessons in evolution with a discussion of Intelligent Design - which TIME magazine described as ‘a subtler way of finding God’s fingerprints in nature than traditional creationism.’  “Both sides ought to be properly taught,” the President said.


EVOLUTION WARS

TIME magazine, (Aug 15, 05), ran a cover story entitled The Evolution Wars. It reported that a Harris poll conducted in June, found 55% of 1,000 adults surveyed said children should be taught creationism and intelligent design along with evolution in public schools.

The polls indicated also that about 45% of Americans believe that God created the world and all its creatures in six days. Parents and students are pressing for lessons on ID and creation to be included in science classes.

US Supreme Court rulings in 1982 and 1987 put an end to the teaching of “Creation science,” on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

New laws that challenge the teaching of evolution are pending, or have been considered, in 20 states across the US Ohio , for one, has changed science standards to include critical analysis of evolution. Other states are calling for equal time for ID and creationism.

For the Bible believer, it is very definite:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,”

(Genesis 1:1),

and, He created everything through and for His Beloved Son:

“He delivered us from the power and dominion of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the “First-born” (the Origin, Model, Supreme Head and Heir) of all creation. For in Him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”     (Colossians 1:13-17)

The Bible believer knows full well that humans are a special creation, made in God’s image, with no physical evolution from any other species. And he knows the Bible teaches that God is involved in every aspect and moment in the life of His creation and the universe.

But over the past century particularly, this belief has been zealously challenged by an increasingly sceptical intellectual world. And if science can explain what seems inexplicable, then God is diminished.

Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, US, comments: “Many of evolution’s most ardent academic defenders have moved away from the old claim that evolution is God’s means to bring life into being in its various forms. More of them are saying that a truly informed belief in evolution entails a stance that the material world is all there is and that the natural must be explained in purely natural terms. They’re saying that anyone who truly feels this way must exclude God from the story.”  - Time /15 Aug 5

And that’s really the bottom line in the evolution versus creation battle. “Should God be excluded from our thinking and our lives?”

Oh, the awful tragedy of man without God! The Scripture declares:

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident among them; for God has shown it to them.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

“For even though they knew God (Yahweh), they did not honour Him as the Almighty One, nor were thankful; but they became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  (Romans 1:18-21)

My believing readers, let us boldly proclaim the Truth, and not suppress it. And let Y’shua be magnified!

* From article, “Designed to put God into the gaps” - by Roy Eccleston, / The Weekend Australian / 3-4 Sep 05. Used by permission of NewsLimited.

 


ALSO IN THIS ISSUE OF MHG#25

#3 of New Covenant Series

THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN MESSIAH, Y’SHUA

CLICK HERE TO link to NEW COVENANT BOOK ►►


Chapter 7 of Studies in the Book of Daniel

FOUR GREAT BEASTS

CLICK HERE TO link to DANIEL BOOK ►►


#7 of REVIVAL series

ALTERNATIVE TO REVIVAL

CLICK HERE TO link to REVIVAL BOOK ►►


 

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