Friday, December 02, 2005

Some posts at my school

There has been a running battle on some of the list serves at my school (Johnson County Community College) about ID and the flap about the KU course, and intelligent design and I want to post some of my responses to some of the posts I have seen on various school lists. In deference to the posters to whom I am responding I will not post anything others have written, just my responses

My first response is to someone who posted an article apparently from the Discovery Institute on how the press gets the controversy wrong because it is (the article alleges) science vs science NOT science vs religion.

Here is my response:


Just a couple of quick comments. First of all, if the issue is really science versus science then why did the Board of Education feel it necessary to redefine science? You might look some of the statements by John Calvert and other intelligent design proponents on this point. Yes the new standards do not explicitly mention that ID ought to be taught but what came out in the hearings this summer- and I was there to hear this- is that the new standards have sufficiently broadened the definition of science to include supernatural explanations. That really is the problem with the new standards.

Read carefully lest MY position gets misconstrued. Intelligent Design may be a perfectly good metaphysical concept, but it is not empirically based. It puzzles me that some people of faith feel that they have to justify their faith by scientizing it. The lession of Thomas (my patron saint by the way) is that faith goes beyond the realm of the empirical. Faith goes were the senses cannot lead(to paraphrase a Church hymn sung during Holy Week). Do we teach the physics of transubstantiation? Or the physics of the resurrection? No because these are matters of religious faith and we don't think any less of them for that reason. But we do not justify our faith through science.

Science can only plod along in the empirical world and through scientific investigation we develop models and theories to help us understand how the universe operates in terms of cause and effects that we can measure. Intelligent design from a scientific perspective is a cop out, because it suggests when we encounter a hard problem, such as the origin of species or for that matter the origin of life we ought to just wave our arms around and involk some sort of intelligent designer. That maybe comforting to some people but it is singularly unsatisfying to the scientist.
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