Friday, February 22, 2008


Ben Stein is coming out with a documentary about evolution versus intelligent design entitled Expelled this spring. Here's the trailer.

For the record, I have no problem with evolution being true. Nor do I have a problem with evolution being false. However it works out is fine for me. When I was in my mid-20s and was struggling to avoid Christianity, one of my reasons was that I believed in evolution. Somehow or other, I started reading C. S. Lewis, and discovered that this man -- widely considered a paragon of Christian orthodoxy -- accepted evolution himself. Once this stumbling block (along with a few others) was revealed to be merely a smoke screen, I very reluctantly became a Christian.

After a few years, I read two books defending evolution (Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution and The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design) and two books critiquing it (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Darwin on Trial), and was more impressed by the latter. Perhaps this was partially because Blind Watchmaker wasn't so much a defense of evolution as it was a defense of atheism using evolution as its linchpin. Since then, however, I've thought that I should give evolution a second hearing, but haven't had the opportunity to do so; so I'm agnostic about it.

The books against it made the argument that the evidence for evolution was only convincing within the framework of naturalism, the presupposition that the natural world is all that exists, which is obviously at odds with nearly all religions. If one does not accept naturalism, then the evidence (allegedly) simply melts away.

I think this is an interesting claim, and it is certainly true that it is commonly asserted that there is a connection between naturalism and science. I contested this in the conclusion of my Master's thesis. I argued that science can only be valid within a supernatural framework. If naturalism is true, science cannot be valid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Honestly I am very interested in the topic myself, but I tend to get lost in a lot of the philosophical arguments. To me, it is more of a science argument. Does the science (experiment, observation, conclusion) backup one or the other. Being a scientist myself, I tend to agree with the vast majority of the literature out there, evolution occurs, and therefore is the likely path to human kind. Of course the argument can get much deeper than this, was evolution directed, if so why and how, what does that mean, etc. I think the biggest flaw in the intelligen design side of the debate is their "irreducible complexity" bit which can be disproven over and over.

There is a mismatch in writing on the topic, I think. Many more people are pushing to debunk evolution and "save" religion, while most of the respectable scientists are busy performing science, already assuming evolution to be accepted (no need to write about it). There are also few christian writers that seem to take the view of mainstream science. However, there are numerous christians in mainstream science, they just don't publish on their faith. One book I have mostly read on the topic is "Finding Darwins God", by Kenneth Miller. He has a website too with lots of his arguments. Not to be confused with another Ken, Ken Ham, someone whom I completely DISAGREE with on nearly every issue.