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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A little about Intelligent Design astronomy

The He Lives blog is written by a physicist. Like me, he has some problems with one of the central ideas of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, namely that it is possible to prove God's design scientifically.

In response to a post on his blog, a commenter asked him about ID astronomy. What would it be like?

He Lives made an insight-filled response. Among other things, he said that there should be the following difference between a Christian astronomer and a naturalist (atheist):

Atheistic Scientist: Isn't nature beautiful?
Theistic Scientist: Isn't creation beautiful?

Then, He Lives went further. Our blogger pointed out, quite correctly, that there have been a number of astronomers, some of them important, who were Christians, and statements like the second one above were accepted as routine, at least coming from Christians. But, because of the activity of the ID movement, most of the scientific establishment is no longer able to accept statements like the second one, because they see them as suggesting that astronomy proves God's existence.

Well, astronomy does prove God's existence, and so does genetics, and physical chemistry, but only to the committed believer. As Hebrews 11:3 puts it: "
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." (emphasis added) For another post on that verse, see here.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

You know, I think the ID movement does a lot of things wrong. But the rationale given here is something I can't agree with - it seems downright horrible.

You're basically saying that, prior to ID, some scientists were able to say that certain aspects of or discoveries in science were suggestive of a creator. And that was okay. But then ID - a bumbling political/religious movement - started to say such discoveries did not just suggest a creator, but PROVED one. And not only did that lead the scientific establishment to start suppressing colleagues (like Gonzalez) and others who made even 'tamer' statements but.. I guess they were justified in doing so?

When Victor Stenger writes a book talking about how science disproves God (and this isn't a conclusion implied in his book - it's the freaking title and subtitle), how come the "scientific establishment" doesn't rein him in? How come when Dawkins, Coyne and others argue that evolution or other scientific theories (or even speculations!) 'disprove God', they don't seem to be at risk for any repercussions from the "scientific establishment"? Isn't this biased treatment - and if so, isn't this bias not only a problem, but a legitimate complaint ID proponents make?

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, anonymous.

You are right, of course, that the scientific establishment has given the ID movement a legitimate complaint, and that there's bias in naturalists. Lots of it.

But Christians and "the world" have never been on a level playing field. They use weapons that we shouldn't. Not only that, but we shouldn't be at war. The goal of Christian scientists, ID or not, it seems to me, should be to prove that God exists by demonstrating the presence of Christ to colleagues, not by argument.

Thanks for your insightful comment.

George said...

You're right, Dr. L., in that the playing field is not level. This debate is not winnable by either side, because in the end, the argument ends up being less about real science and more about a worldview.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, George. That was why I brought in Hebrews 11:3.

I'm still pondering the criticism of anonymous, whoever he/she might have been.

i am Grateful... Kerry i am. said...

Thnaks for helping "me think" and for reinforcing "by faith."

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Kerry i am.