Battle for Creation Makes Cover of New Scientist Magazine
Another indication of the notice the scientific community is giving to creation and intelligent design can be seen on the cover of New Scientist, in a report entitled, “Creationism special: A battle for science’s soul.” With battle-laden lingo, Debora McKenzie surveys creationism and intelligent-design skirmishes not only among American school boards, but in Holland, Turkey, Pakistan and Brazil. MacKenzie quoted anticreationists who characterize these developments as radical, dangerous, and politically motivated by fundamentalist Christians, but gave no voice to the proponents. The flavor of the alarmist message can be felt in a quote by Ken Miller: “What is happening is a political effort to force a change in the content and nature of science itself.”
Reporters like MacKenzie display a profound ignorance of the history and philosophy of science. Since the classical days of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, on through Augustine and into the medieval scholastic universities, well into the Renaissance and Reformation and deep into the Enlightenment, the vast majority of scientists were creationists. Even deists like Voltaire readily admitted that the complexity of life argued for intelligent design. Evolutionary materialism in its current neo-Darwinian guise is a relatively new thing. The scientific revolution, with all its groundbreaking discovery of fundamental laws, with its great inventions and discoveries up into the 19th century, took place in a predominantly Christian culture. No historian denies this. Furthermore, great science continued to be done by Christians and creationists well past Darwin’s time all the way up to the present. What are they afraid of?
It is also a lesson from history that great debates about the nature of science vacillate between determinism and free will, empiricism vs romanticism, mind vs matter, reductionism vs skepticism, heredity vs environment, positivism vs pessimism, all the time. Darwinism was never a final answer. It was a work in progress, a heuristic device for exploring the possibilities of materialism for explaining all of life. Darwinism has had its day. Its multiple reorganizations, promising leads, false starts and anomalies, infighting and incorrigibility in the face of new evidence show it to be in eclipse. It is no longer up to the task of explaining molecular machines in the most primitive cells on the small scale, nor the fine tuning of the universe on the large scale.
Molecular machines and fine-tuning are recent and exciting developments in science, phenomena that would have astounded Darwin and his contemporaries and predecessors; indeed, they are hard for us moderns to fathom. Though some advocates of intelligent design take part in the political and cultural debates over origins, the ID movement is not intrinsically political, and the force is not personal. The force of the movement comes from the observational facts. Since Darwinist reductionism has become the epicyclic monstrosity of our time, it is time for a new scientific revolution. Science must ever be prepared to discard, like phrenology,* any simplistic theory that becomes a dead end. The new information/engineering paradigm (see 06/25/2005 entry) appears poised to usher in a golden age of discovery reminiscent of the age of Copernicus.