Whose Side Is Unenlightened?
Here’s an opportunity for readers to compare arguments on both sides of the debate about origins and the nature of science. Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science, wrote an editorial last week that claims the sunrise of the intelligent design movement threatens “twilight for the Enlightenment.”1 He wrote that the “retrogression to the pre-Darwinian zoologist William Paley” is undermining the heritage of David Hume and “developing conviction that substituted faith in experiment for reliance on inherited dogma.”
Chuck Colson in his Breakpoint commentary for April 8 puts the shoe of enlightenment on the other foot. He countered that the Darwinists have been in the business of suppressing the weaknesses of their theory. He quotes Rodney Stark, who wrote that evolution “has primarily been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science in an effort to refute all religious claims concerning a creator—an effort that has also often attempted to suppress all scientific criticisms of Darwin’s work.”
1Donald Kennedy, “Twilight for the Enlightenment?”, Science, Vol 308, Issue 5719, 165 , 8 April 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1112920].
Kennedy could enlighten all of us by explaining how molecular machines, DNA transcription and replication with all its error-correcting mechanisms, and the human brain arose from mindless, undirected process of chance and natural law. He could further explain how refusing to hear honest questions about Darwinian evolution exemplifies a conviction that substitutes faith in experiment for reliance on inherited dogma.
What science needs today is not another Enlightenment, an era that produced a mixed bag of atheists and forgotten skeptics as well as deeply spiritually-minded scientists. It needs to go back further in time to what made enlightenment possible, to the period where brave men challenged establishment dogma at the risk of their lives. It needs a Reformation.