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Creation Evidence: 2005-12-18

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Judgment at Harrisburg

Like the Nuremberg trials, the six-week trial at Harrisburg has attracted a great deal of attention. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Judge John E. Jones III’s long-awaited decision was made December 20, 2005 in favor of the plaintiff, Kitzmiller. This decision is notable because it is the first court case which tests the validity of Intelligent Design education in public schools.

The Dover Area School District was merely presenting a one-minute disclaimer stating that evolution has “gaps” and that other texts such as Of Pandas and People were recommended as additional reading. However, Judge Jones ruled against this use by invoking the principle of separation of church and state. Jones wrote, “The students, parents and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.''

This decision is clearly a setback for Intelligent Design proponents who wish to have some critique of evolution presented to students. Evolutionist blogs such as The Panda’s Thumb are hailing this as a watershed event, and one newspaper is calling it a Waterloo victory. The decision will definitely have an impact on school districts across the country which have considered implementing some form of Intelligent Design or criticism of evolution.

So, is this the beginning of the end of the Intelligent Design movement? That is not very likely. Though both sides have considered Judge Jones a moderate and considerate judge, rather than an activist judge, the case did not go well for the defendants. At least two Dover School Board members were caught covering up information regarding the gift of several copies of the textbook Of Pandas and People given to the school district. In addition, three of the strongest proponents of Intelligent Design, William Dembski, Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells were not called to testify. Personally, I am disappointed by this omission. However, the staff at the Discovery Institute (the source of much of the Intelligent Design work) recommends educators “teach the controversy” rather than teaching Intelligent Design.

So what can Intelligent Design proponents do now to renew the challenge against evolution in public schools? I propose that some group challenge the teaching of evolution as science. For what empirical evidence is there for the universe’s matter coming out of nothing? What operational science is there that supports life naturally arising from chemicals? And what evidence is there for macroevolution? Origins of matter and life are based on faith. One of the definitions of religion is: "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith".* The philosophy of metaphysical naturalism which is assumed in evolution education needs to be challenged in court, not Intelligent Design.

Natural selection, adaptation and other mechanisms such as genetic drift are science, but not evolution as commonly understood. Evolution, as the public thinks of it, consists of changes in a vertical direction. However, what is observed through experimentation are changes in a downward, or at best a horizontal direction. Vertical evolution requires the DNA (a long string of instructions) of a species to evolve into novel structures or functions.

To illustrate the concept of vertical evolution, think of a paragraph of text. To copy the paragraph and paste it somewhere else in the document is at best a horizontal change to the document. But a vertical change to the document is to intelligently add an original paragraph of text. Mutations can’t do that in a million generations, but vertical evolution is what people think of when they think of evolution. Evolution is pseudoscience held to with “ardor and faith” not observation.

The Thomas More Law Center, which defended Dover Area School District, previously said that if they lost they would take the case to the Supreme Court. This is not the case to pursue. That would lead to more embarrassment. Rather, a new case that challenges the validly of evolution as science is needed.


* Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 10th Edition.

Jim Bendewald, MDiv., is a staff writer for New Media Alliance and co-author of the book, Evolution Shot Full of Holes. He also developed the CD-ROM, Evidence the Bible Is True. See more evidence at: http://creationevidence.blogspot.com/ and http://www.evidencepress.com/.


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Monday, December 19, 2005

Carl Sagan’s Ordered Universe

The idea that there is order in the universe is so obvious that I thought it was universally accepted. However, I recently commented on a forum that the universe is ordered; I was surprised to find opposition. I wrote, "Consider the universe -- is it chaotic or is it ordered? Science demonstrates that the universe is ordered. E=MC2 is a formula that is both simple yet complex. If the universe is chaotic, then this formula would be meaningless. Scientists make discoveries about the universe because it is ordered. Are we simply lucky to have an ordered universe? Or is it more logical that the universe is ordered due to intelligent design? Does order in a room come by random chance or does it come by effort and intelligence? Students need to be able to consider both possibilities."[1]

One person responded to my comments with several paragraphs including the statement, "Here's a clue: the universe is chaotic and the formula is valid." I wrote back claiming that Carl Sagan would disagree with that statement and quoted from a humanist web site which states, "Sagan also pointed out numerous times that 'the order of the Universe is not an assumption; it is an observed fact'. And that the simplest definition of science is the search for rules -- which is, in turn, the only possible way to understand our vast and complex Universe. Sagan admitted that 'human beings are, understandably, highly motivated to find regularities, natural laws...' The Universe forces those who live in it to understand it. Those creatures who find everyday experience a muddled jumble of events with no predictability, no regularity, are in grave peril. The Universe belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out'".[2]

For Sagan the universe displaying order was a big deal to him evidenced by naming his book and video series Cosmos. Sagan wrote, "Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together."[3] Evidence for order is observed in mathematics, physics, and likely every field of science.

Order in the universe leads us to ask, who or what ordered the universe, God or nothing. Evolutionists are forced by their a priori commitment to ". . . a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive." [4] However, order does not come from nothing. It comes from an organizer with intelligence. So should Intelligent Design be disqualified as scientific simply because the obvious conclusion of universal order is God instead of nothing? No! Should the "God cause" be marginalized as religious while the "nothing cause" is given the scientific seal of approval? No! Either both are scientific possibilities or neither is, so let’s act consistently while educating our youth.

It is no wonder that most people still view God as the source of their being. When an average person looks at the arguments in favor of creation, he or she quickly concludes that creation arguments are logical and persuasive. It is both scientific and commonsense to realize that organization requires an organizer, design requires a designer and information as in DNA requires an author. Evolutionists are acting like the swindlers in the proverbial Emperor's New Clothes. Most Americans are not buying the illogical-unscientific idea that order, design and intelligence came from nothing but time and chance.

[1] http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/11/5/61155/5254
[2] http://www.humanists.net/pdhutcheon/humanist%20articles/Carl%20Sagan%20and%20Modern%20Scientific%20Humanism.htm
[3] Sagan, Carl (1980). Cosmos (p. 18). New York: Random House.
[4] http://www.csus.edu/indiv/m/mayesgr/Lewontin1.htm


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