Monday, June 05, 2006

More from Metanexus Conference on Religion & Science

5 June 2006, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Today the science and religion conference will focus on contributions from European scholars. (It'll be interesting because it might help me put together a "study trip" to Italy... for entirely scholarly purposes, of course) Yesterday, we looked at the nature of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement from an impressive variety of perspectives. ID didn't fare very well, to be honest. One of the more powerful presentations came from Jeffrey Schloss at the evangelical school, Westmont College in Santa Barbara. As a biologist, he carefully noted the deficiencies of the ID paradigm from a scientific perspective, all the while critiquing it thoughtfully and charitably, never resorting to caricatures or truthiness (because I say it loudly, it has to be so). That combination, to my mind, represents Christian scholarship.


john said...

I seriously don't understand ID. If you've read the Wedge Document it's clear that the Discovery Insitute didn't start down the path of (Un)Intellegent Design (sorry about being neither thoughtful or charitable, Greg) out of sincere scientific curiosity about Creation.

I don't understand why Christians are so threatened by the theory of evolution. Biologists do their thing. They call it evolution. And, they are constructing a system with enough internal consistency that it is a discipline that works for them.

We let plumbers do plumbing, and mathematicians do math. Why don't we let biologists do biology with out getting all tangled up in our underwear?

The Bible is not a scientific textbook, I hate to tell you. Nor is it a manual for home improvement. It is a spiritual text, that faithfully tells the story of God's faithfulness.

GCootsona said...

I'll simply approach one side of your argument, "john." When you write that "Christians are so threatened by the theory of evolution," I don't think it's that monolithic. There are literally millions--perhaps even one of the two billions--of Christians who don't see an enormous contradiction between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the theory of evolution by natural selection. (As you know from my posts, I just spent 4 days with such types.) When I was doing my research for "Creation and Last Things" (available by the way on Amazon or by emailing me directly), I found that approximately 2/3rds of Americans believe that evolution occurred (in some form) and that God directed it. (Full disclosure: There are a few ways to slice that statistical pie, but it seems pretty accurate.) We have to remember that the Discovery Institute (which is the major supporter or ID research) is just one foundation in Seattle. So, yes, it's a controversy, but it's not a universal "warfare of religion and science" that the press and ID folks like to present. I've done plenty of work in "Creation and Last Things" to demonstrate how the doctrine of creation can make sense of evolutionary science.
Finaly, I've been intrigued by Intelligent Design--especially the question of fine tuning of the universe and the related Anthropic Principle--but it just doesn't have a great deal of traction with the scientific community.
So, why get aggravated about it?

"john" said...

"john" in quotes. hahaha!