Editorially Speaking

Darwinian Spoilsports, Big Gray Elephants, And God’s Continued Blessings

On August 1, in a round-table discussion with reporters from the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Austin American-Statesman, President Bush stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism over a casual remark he made about Intelligent Design being a legitimate alternative to the unfettered evolution that is currently being taught in the public schools. Here’s how it went: Did Mr. Bush think, one reporter asked, that there should be a place in the science curricula of the nation’s schools for consideration of the Intelligent Design concept? “Part of education,” the president replied, “is to expose people to different schools of thought.” “You’re asking me,” he went on to say, “whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas. The answer is yes....Both sides ought to be properly taught...so people can understand what the debate is about.”

Well, the intelligentsia, which includes many in the mainstream press, jumped all over the president for his remarks. What follows is a sampling of their remarks:

Opponents of intelligent design, which a Kansas professor once called “creationism in a cheap tuxedo,” say there is no legitimate debate. They see the case increasingly as a political battle that threatens to weaken science teaching in a nation whose students already are lagging.

“It is, of course, further indication that a fundamentalist right has really taken over much of the Republican Party,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a leading liberal lawmaker. Noting Bush’s Ivy League education, Frank said, “People might cite George Bush as proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of a Harvard and Yale education.”

Bush’s comments were “irresponsible,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He said the president, by suggesting that students hear two viewpoints, “doesn’t understand that one is a religious viewpoint and one is a scientific viewpoint.” Lynn said Bush showed a “low level of understanding of science,” adding that he worries that Bush’s comments could be followed by a directive to the Justice Department to support legal efforts to change curricula.

Notice how those charges about Mr. Bush’s alleged ignorance keep cropping up on the tongues of and from the pens of America’s intelligentsia. To their claimed superior way of thinking, Bush and everyone else who demonstrate the common sense knowledge of mainstream America are nothing but a bunch of uneducated, uninformed and scientifically ignorant hayseeds. But I ask you: What are these scientific snobs afraid of, for what could possibly be wrong with the president’s suggestion? Furthermore, what would be unscientific about a contest between Darwinism and Intelligent Design? Finally, what would be un-American about a school system that gives both sides of a controversial subject some wiggle room? The correct answers are: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

Now, this does not mean that I think Mr. Bush’s affable remarks somehow function as the final proof about what side is right in the debate over origins. What it means, though, is that our system of public education here in the United States is in the hands of a materialistic elite who are not just logically and scientifically wrong about the origins of the materialistic universe and biological life, but they are also behaving themselves in a most un-American way by attempting to prohibit fair and open debate on the subject of origins.

For years, Bible-believing creationists had been attempting to reverse the hegemony of Darwinism in the minds of those who practice the natural and biological sciences. Most of those efforts were futile. Then, in 1996, a book by Michael J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, entitled Darwin’s Black Box, demonstrated the overwhelming argument for the existence of God from design (viz., the “teleological argument,” as it is called). He did this by demonstrating something he calls “irreducible complexity,” a fact backed up by the scientific method that demonstrates that even the smallest of organisms are so complex and interdependent that they could not possibly have evolved as the Darwinists claim. Below are photos of both the hardback and paperback editions of this book:

Darwin’s Black Box
Darwin’s Black Box

If you haven’t read it, then you’re probably not as excited as those of us who have. It is a wonderfully marvelous book with captivating and sensible arguments. The various mental illustrations Behe uses are simple but effective. Not the least of this book’s qualities is its delightful and refreshing openness, paralleled with its accurate critique of the closed-minded stance of the Darwinists. The following is an apt example:

Imagine a room in which a body lies crushed, flat as a pancake. A dozen detectives crawl around, examining the floor with magnifying glasses for any clue to the identity of the perpetrator. In the middle of the room, next to the body, stands a large gray elephant. The detectives carefully avoid bumping into the pachyderm’s legs as they crawl, and never even glance at it.... Textbooks say detectives must “get their man,” so they never consider elephants.

When it comes to origins, of course, God is the “large gray elephant” the detectives (naturalists) are ignoring. For example, the 1995 official Position Statement of the American National Association of Biology Teachers (hereafter referred to as NABT) pronounced the general understanding of its members when it said:

The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments (cited in Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, 1997, p. 15).

Therefore, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the high priesthood of modern science would consider Darwin’s Black Box to be “heresy,” even though the book does not contain one single, solitary shibboleth of so-called “scientific creationism.” But although professor Behe is clearly no “scientific creationist,” he has, nevertheless, been vilified as a camouflaged “scientific creationist” who is simply trying to sneak his overtly religious agenda into the science classroom under the guise of Intelligent Design. However, Michael Behe is a staunch believer in the “scientific method” and, as such, he does not specifically look to religion for the answers to the questions surrounding origins. However, he believes that biochemical machines are so irreducibly complex that they must have been designed—either by God, or by some other higher intelligence, and this makes his findings even more compelling in the ongoing culture wars. As it says on the flyleaf:

For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that led to the complexity we can now see. The more complex and interdependent each machine’s own parts are shown to be, the harder it is to envision Darwin’s gradualistic paths. Behe surveys the professional science literature and shows that it is completely silent on the subject, stymied by the elegance of the foundation of life. Could it be that there is some greater force at work?

To those of us who believe in God, the answer to the origins of the universe and man is God. To the naturalists, who by default, must believe that “nature is all there is” cannot admit to any possibility of a God or Intelligent Designer, as this would sound the death knell for their philosophy/religion. This debate is, after all, not about the Bible vs. Science, as naturalists have successfully couched it. It is, instead, a debate concerning the beliefs of theism and naturalism. Unfortunately, naturalists have been successful in depicting their religion (materialism/naturalism) as the only basis for contemporary science. As such, theirs has been the only religion permitted in the science classrooms of America. Although it is purported that science is empirical, meaning that scientists are to rely on experiments, observations and calculations to develop theories and test them, contemporary science is naturalistic and materialistic in philosophy, which means that materialistic/naturalistic explanations for all phenomena are assumed to exist. And this means that the NABT’s definition of evolution, as noted above, is simply true by definition, and this regardless of evidence to the contrary.

So, the playing field has been uneven for years now. Even so, the naturalists and materialists are proving themselves to be a bunch of grumpy ol’ spoilsports who are trying, with the news media’s collaboration, to keep their unfair portion of the field. They do this by trying to make it sound and look like the we theists are trying to take unfair advantage of public opinion, which, to these intellectual elitists, is nothing much more than the vain surmisings of the unwashed and ignorant.

So I’m very excited about Intelligent Design’s success so far in stirring up favorable sentiment for a fair telling of both sides of the origins story, for under such a system, investigators will once again begin to take note of that big gray elephant in the room. When this happens, the one true God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the One who acted openly and left His fingerprints all over the evidence, will be glorified in our schools. If this happens, perhaps the Almighty will see fit to continue blessing America.

(All editorials are written by Allan Turner. You can contact him at allan@allanturner.com )

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