intelligent-designI recently wrote a blog on news of a bill passed in Oklahoma that would allow teachers and students to discuss and debate creationism verses evolution in our schools. The question arises about whether or not creationism is a valid scientific theory and whether or not children should be able to choose their own conclusions. I received some passionate responses from people and I wanted to expand on the whole creationism/intelligent design debate.

First, people are quick to disregard Genesis as creationism. Excluding a couple nutty right wingers, a lot of people are finally jumping off that crazy Adam and Eve train. Only the truly delusional would still stand behind a 6000 year old Earth that was created in 7 days. Of course I hear the back pedaling that purports those 7 days could really mean 7 million or even 7 billion years. That is convenient. You know, people are quick to call me terse and even a name caller. My words sometimes sting and yes what I write might seem controversial and even insulting to some. Do you know what is insulting to me? Teaching children that if they do not believe in a certain set of beliefs they are going to burn for eternity. Need I remind everyone that the Pope did not pardon Galileo until the early 1980s for (god forbid) proposing and even proving that the Earth is not the center of the Universe – 300 years ago! I just think more people need to speak up, especially when it involves what we are teaching our children. Remember, it was not long ago that we were burning witches at the stake and women could not vote.

I also hear these same people claim intelligent design is different from creationism. Shall we dig a little deeper?  Intelligent Design is a form of creationism promoted by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the U.S. It is interesting, because proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) are quick to say that ID is not Creationism. Intelligent Design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court’s Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of “Creation Science” in public schools on the grounds of breaching the separation of church and state. There are several other court rulings published that all point to Christian based organizations simply repackaging the creationism concept into something more; well shall we say, intelligent? Intelligent Design avoids identifying or naming the intelligent designer—it merely states that one (or more) must exist—but leaders of the movement have said publically that the designer is a Christian god. It seems every capable minded person who promotes Creationism or ID has a Christian background. Do you disagree? Why don’t we all then just agree that Islam and Mohammad is the intelligent force behind the Universe… oh, yeah, that certainly would force people to show where their true convictions and beliefs sit. Wow, I am such a jerk… LOL…

Proponents of ID talk about “Irreducibly Complex Systems”: Systems within nature or life that requires an intelligent creator – like the mouse trap for instance. A mouse trap has critical parts and it needs to be set just right to work properly. In a natural world of evolving cause and effect, natural selection can only choose among systems that are already working. A mouse trap has to be built first by the hand of intelligence otherwise it could not have evolved on its own. Let’s just forget that a human could have evolved over millions of years to build and set that trap. Oh wait, that is crazy talk…. Further, according to ID, irreducibly complex systems appear very unlikely to be produced by numerous, successive, slight modifications of prior systems, because any precursor that was missing a crucial part could not function. The same can be said about cellular structure and our Universe and its amazing complexity.

evolutionHere is the problem with Intelligent Design: Scientific acceptance of ID would require redefining science to allow supernatural explanations of observed phenomena. Looks like we are back to blind faith which is the fuel for modern religion? The idea of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species is not science because they are not testable by the methods of science. I have seen some fancy ID graphs and other paradigms that look scientific but what we are really dealing with is philosophy and not science. Sure it is something you can debate but there is no facts what so ever to back up ID; only questions that are answered with gods hand as the only recourse.  The Big Bang (or Big Bounce) has several independent explanations like Doppler Effect, Red Shift and back ground radiation; all evidence that can be viewed scientifically within our environment. ID simply says if we cannot explain it with science then it must intelligently designed. If its systems are so complex, there is no way cosmic or stellar evolution could have created it. To me that is sort of like giving up. It reminds me of religion: Where did we come from, where are we going to go when we die? Only god knows these things. That is a weak argument.

Quantum physics already shows us the connections at the subatomic level that sheds light on karma, power of prayer and life after death. Isnt that Intelligent Design?  Remaining intelligent, now let’s add a little math to the discussion. Just like fractions, let’s reduce the top religions down to their most common denominator. Reduce them beyond ritual and dogma. Reduce them beyond cultural regions, churches and temples, ego, humans, even Earth. Let’s reduce religion or God to its source – the beginning of time as we know it… the scientific origin: The Big Bang… Why do we need to break Intelligent Design down to its most reduced form? Because whatever created the Universe created man who in turn created religion based on their thirst to know. Still, people tend to interject emotions, opinions and dogma into this discussion. “well the Bible says this”… well the Quran says that”. “well, complex things can’t exist without an intelligent designer”. But you see, math does not deal in dogma, opinions and emotions. Math deals with numbers that add up to solutions that make sense on paper.

So, when you reduce Religion or Intelligent Design to its most common denominator you have the Universe – the basis of everything. Now you could equate this as God and trust me, I do! But people tend of talk of God as a “He” or a “Who”. But in math, God just is…. There is nothing more and there is nothing less. God is the Universe and the Universe is…. People tend to struggle with that concept due to the ego which needs to attach dogma, fear and emotion to the concept of God.

Here is where it gets fun. God (the Universe) created an environment for conscious thought to arise from the ashes of stars. You want to talk about miracles? There is nothing more miraculous than conscious thought arising from elementary particles. People tend to think only a divine interest could create such an environment but that tends to carry an egocentric view. You see; conscious thought connects with energy at the subatomic level and there is an instinctual quality to it that transcends egos, humans and Earth. We are just part of something so vast it boggles the mind.

Well-known Astronomer, Neil deGrasse Tyson describes the absurdity of “Intelligent Design”. “Sorry folks, the Universe was not designed for us. Accept it, we’re nothing special.”

Yet in a Responsive Universe we are special. Our link to energy, wisdom and love makes us special. Still, it did not take an Intelligent Designer to make you special. Pat yourself on the back – you did that yourself!

John C. Bader

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References: Wikipedia and intelligentdesign.org

images courtesy of religionvirius.blogspot.com and davidbrin.wordpress.com

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