Monday, January 09, 2006

Important Change Regarding IDEA Club Leadership:

Over the past few weeks, the IDEA Center had been considering whether or not to extend IDEA club leadership to non-Christians. The reason for this is because Intelligent Design is not a Christian theory, even though it may be compatible with Christian belief. In truth, ID is a theory that proposes some sort of intelligent agent as being ultimately responsible for the origin of life and the development of diverse and complex species--it does not address the nature of this agent, however.

Now, there is one thing that people should know about this. Proponents of intelligent design are NOT trying to hide anything by refusing to identify who or what the designer is. Intelligent Design simply does not attempt to identify the designer. The reason for this is not because its adherents are trying to be sneaky--it is simply because they are respectful of the boundaries of science.

Here is the reason that the theory of Intelligent Design does not give the identify of the designer (take note of this!): Intelligent Design is a scientific theory of origins...and as a scientific theory, it cannot make religious assertions. Proponents of ID look at the scientific evidence, and they conclude that the evidence requires a designer. While individual adherents of the theory certainly have their own opinions as to who exactly the designer is, these opinions are not necessarily scientific, and therefore are not a part of Intelligent Design.

Despite the claims of many Darwinian fundamentalists, it certainly is a scientific assertion to claim that certain biological systems display evidence of true design. If you could not detect intelligent design, then scientific fields such as archaeology and forensics would basically be worthless.

So while the scientific evidence can lead us to conclude that there is/was some sort of designer, we have yet to find a bacterial flagellum signed "Yahweh." Therefore, whenever ID proponents are not explicit about who the designer is, this is because science is not explicit about it, and they are commenting as scientists, not as theologians.

The IDEA Center Board of Directors has decided to extend club leadership to non-Christians, which I believe is a smart move, and will result in the furtherance of ID theory. There are already many Muslims, Jews, and a few Buddhists and Agnostics who support Intelligent Design, so I think such a move only makes sense. Once again, they are not doing this in order to be sneaky, but rather, because such requirements are more in line with the theory of Intelligent Design.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Welcome to the Weblog of the I.D.E.A. club at Armstrong Atlantic State University. We're not official yet, but should be as of Spring 2006. So anyway, what the heck is an I.D.E.A. club? Well, it actually stands for Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness. What we are actually trying to do, rather than to indoctrinate people regarding Intelligent Design or Darwinian Evolution, is to get people to think critically about the issue of Origins. We hope to do this by stimulating discussion concerning both theories, rather than simply being one-sided about things. There has been much controversy recently surrounding the theory of evolution, and one theory that keeps popping up in the news is this thing called Intelligent Design...SO WHAT IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN, exactly?
Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence, according to William Dembski, a proponent of ID. So why the controversy? When a person sees Mt. Rushmore, he can't help but notice the faces of former presidents carved into the side of it. Instantly, he recognizes these faces as being the products of human intelligence. Even if he never saw Mt. Rushmore, he would still arrive at this conclusion, simply because it is the most probable explanation. Sure, aliens could've possibly done it...but such an explanation is not very plausable, and definately not the first one that comes to mind.
The reason why Intelligent Design is so controversial is because it involves the study of different natural phenomena, such as biological systems like the cell, for example. It has been proposed by certain proponents of Intelligent Design that the cell is best accounted for as being the product of some kind of intelligence. This is an inference that is drawn purely from the scientific evidence that is observed. Note that the cell does not have to be the product of intelligence alone, as it could be the result of a combination of both intelligence and natural processes.
Such an explanation probably would not be very controversial, were it not for the dominance of the evolution paradigm, which has been utilized by many scientists and philosophers alike over the years as a way of explaining away the apparent design that is found in nature. Francis Crick, who helped to discover the DNA structure along with Watson (and not to mention the oft-forgotten Rosalind Franklin), made the infamous statement "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather, evolved." Indeed, the famous Oxford atheist Richard Dawkins wrote a whole book dedicated to explaining away design as being simply an illusion, entitled "The Blind Watchmaker."
So essentially, this question arises: Is this assertion--that is, the idea that the apparent design inherent within nature is an illusion--one that is made solely by examining the empirical evidence, or does it belie a philosophical commitment to the idea that material causes are sufficient to explain the whole of reality? We believe that such an assertion, which claims that blind natural processes can account for the origin of life and the development of complex life forms, is not based solely on the empirical evidence. We believe it is based on an interpretation of the empirical evidence that is committed to the philosophy of naturalism--the idea that scientific laws alone are adequate to account for all phenomena.
Such a close-minded view of reality is what we are here to contest. We are opposed to dogma of any kind, and are in favor of friendly dialogue, and open-minded discussion (And by dogma, we mean a point of view or tenet that is put forth as being authoritative without adequate grounds). So in light of this, all are welcome at our club meetings, and we look forward to next semester.

-Eric Stevens