OR RANDOM MUTATION
THIS IS a question that is commanding
the attention of millions of people around the world today – intelligentsia,
scientists, theologians, and college students.
Since the days of Charles Darwin in
the 19th c. a battle has been waged between Creationists - those who believe
God created the universe, and all the living species of life on the earth,
and Evolutionists – those who believe the universe and life came into being
by chance – by random mutation and not by an intelligent being.
All along there have been scientists
on both sides of the debate on origins.
WHAT IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN?
IN recent times an “Intelligent
Design” movement has surfaced as an alternate theory to evolution. It has
been sweeping through the
, and is now being taught along with evolution in some schools.
The ID theory claims there are natural
systems that cannot be adequately explained without attributing their design
to an intelligent agent. The complex DNA code required for life from the
beginning couldn’t have happened by chance; some organisms are so
complicated that they could not have evolved from something else.
THE HUMAN EYE
For example, evolution cannot explain
how something as complex as the human eye could have evolved. The eye only
works because all the components work together in a complex whole. The
components there-fore cannot evolve into the whole but must have been
designed that way.
Proponents argue that there are gaps
’s theory which, in the mid 19th century, attempted to explain the
development of life through processes such as natural selection and random
mutations. Life is so complex there must have been a higher intelligence
ID doesn’t fully support the
creationist view that the universe was created in six days, and that the
world was made 6000 to 10,000 years ago. It accepts some evolutionary
developments, and it doesn’t actually say that God is the designer. But it
’s theory that life evolved by numerous, random, successive, slight
Creationists believe that the
Intelligent Designer is God, as the Bible teaches, and that His handiwork is
clearly evident throughout the universe, and in all species of life.
say ID is a religious belief
and it properly belongs to a religion or philosophy course. They say it does
not hold up as a scientific theory because its claims cannot be
And so a new battle is being waged
over what we should believe about the origin of life. And at the heart of
the battle are the questions, “Is there a Creator – God!” and, “Is the Bible
inspired of God, or is it merely the work of ancient philosophers’
The principal of Sydney’s Pacific
Hills Christian School, Ted Boyce, said that ID has emerged from the
creationist versus evolutionist arguments, and that it is somewhere in
between the two. “Evolution is taught in the school system as if it’s a
universally accepted theory and that there’s no other way to view the origin
of man and creation. I have trouble with this. We would teach evolution as a
theory and ID as an alternative theory,” he said. -
Roy Eccleston, see ref. at end of article.
But there is fierce opposition to this
position. The Dean of Science at the
, Mike Archer, wrote in the Adelaide Advertiser; “Intelligent Design
is not science. As Australian scientists and science educators, we are
gravely concerned that so-called ‘intelligent design’ might be taught in any
school as a valid alternative to evolution.”
(21 Oct 05).
SCIENTISTS SEEK BAN ON ALTERNATIVE LESSONS
to the Adelaide Advertiser,
(21 Oct 05), 70,000 scientists have compared Intelligent Design to
‘spoon-bending and alien abductions’ and have called for the controversial
alternative to evolutionary theory to be
banned from schools. In
an open letter to major newspapers, the unprecedented collaboration says the
idea – suggesting life is too complex to have come about without a guiding
intelligence – fails to be science ‘on every level.’
While some schools are planning to add
ID to their curriculum, the Australian Science Teachers Association says
it’s a belief system, not science, and the association has agreed to
resist any pressure to
have it taught in science classes.
Australian federal Education, Science
and Training Minister, Brendan Nelson, has entered the debate, saying that
while he opposed teaching ID as a replacement for evolutionary theory, if
their parents and schools agreed, children
should be exposed to it
- but not in science classes.
The Catholic Church includes some
powerful supporters of ID as a balance to the teaching of evolution.
, Archbishop George Pell says the theory of evolution is compatible with the
church’s teaching but it is sometimes taught “in an anti-God way.” “If
that’s the case, I’d be happy for them to talk about design or intelligent
design,” he says of science teachers.” *
, Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey, said Intelligent Design, while not
itself demanding belief in a Creator, nevertheless sat comfortably with
Catholics and should be taught
alongside evolutionary theory in science lessons.
“Intelligent Design is a far more
elegant description of historical changes than an entirely evolutionary
approach, and it therefore should not be ignored in the classroom,” he said.
“The problem in our society is that
the theory of evolution has been installed in our education system and is
defended by too many educators as the sole scientific approach to the
existence of the universe and the appearance of the many forms of life.
“One result is that too many students
are unable to protect themselves from the conscious or subconscious
assumption that human life has no
purpose or meaning.”
“EVOLUTION AND BIBLE COMPATIBLE”
, however, has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong
criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution,
and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.
Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the
Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God
created the universe and
’s theory of evolution were “perfectly compatible” if the Bible were read
correctly. His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in
, who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.
“The fundamentalists want to give a
scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim,” he said at a
press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that “the universe
didn’t make itself and had a creator.” His statements were interpreted in
as a rejection of the “intelligent design” view.
Times / 7 Nov 05
CAMPUS CRUSADE PROMOTES ID DVD
BILL Hodgson, national director of
Campus Crusade for Christ in
, is not deterred by the fierce debate, having been very impressed by a DVD,
Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
The DVD has been produced by pro-ID
scientists who argue that Charles Darwin’s theories are badly flawed.
Hodgson denies he is evangelising by stealth.
“Our interest is providing people with
the resources that can help stimulate interest and discussion, among young
people, on the bigger questions of life,” he says. “The DVD asks some big
questions. Our view is that it is moderate, brilliantly done and has
scientific merit; that is, these are
presenting their case, they are
Hodgson says ID has testable theories
that show why the complexity of some living things is beyond chance. Hodgson
has discussed the idea with Education, Science and Training Minister Brendan
Nelson, and provided copies of the DVD. -
* Roy Eccleston
Focus on the Family,
a Melbourne Christian group that has sold about 1000 copies of the DVD in
the past couple of years, believes ID should be a science class discussion.
A leader, Colin Bunnett, says, “Telling kids they are a random chance, they
start to lose meaning in their lives. You see problems of drugs, alcohol,
and suicide. If you believe you are just a random chance, the way you look
at your life is quite different to if you see evidence of intelligent
Richard Drew, a biologist at
, sees merit in the science in the DVD. “I believe it’s possible to be a
scientist and consider that there is evidence for intelligent design.” He
specializes in fruit flies, and can see how they have evolved rapidly
through mutations. “But,” he says,
“Through science I have never been able to
understand the beginning of the world,”
he says. - * Roy Eccleston
Australian’s world-renowned physicist,
Paul Davies, says ID is not scientific because its theories cannot be
tested. “It’s a creationist perversion,” he says. And yet Davies
argues for a God who makes the laws of the cosmos, allowing life and
consciousness to emerge naturally.
“The problem with the ID theory is
that it puts God into the gaps,” he argues, meaning that proponents look for
where science has no clear answer, and then claim it is evidence of God’s
handiwork. “There was a time when rain was a mystery, so rain gods were
invented. But now we can explain it and we don’t need a rain god or anybody
else. But just because we have gaps in the scientific account it does not
mean we have to have miracles.” - *
EVOLUTION WARS IN U.S
TWO prominent ID proponents are
biologist Michael Behe and mathematician William Dembski. Behe’s argument
focuses on cells, where molecular machines of great complexity operate in a
could not know.
Behe argues that some of these could
not have been formed by successive modifications because they were
“irreducibly complex.” He uses the analogy of a mousetrap, which needs all
its pieces to be present to work. You cannot start catching mice with the
wooden platform and spring before adding the other bits to improve it.
Behe’s big ID example is the flagella
of bacteria, the long whip-like propellers that move them along. The
flagellum has 40 parts, from molecular motor to propeller, and is worked by
dozens of proteins, he says. It must have been designed, since, like a
mousetrap, it could not have evolved from anything else.
The counter-argument is
that the flagellum’s parts, like parts of a mousetrap, can function on their
own in different ways. They may have been co-opted from other jobs, such as
spare parts. Some proteins from the flagellum, for example, are used by
bacteria to inject poison into other cells.
Mathematician Dembski argues that ID
is proved by what he calls “specified complexity.” This is evidence of a
complex system not easily repeatable through chance and that shows an
independent pattern. An example would be a signal from space, encoded with
prime numbers under 100. That would have to be the work of a mind.
In his books, Dembski claims to show
by mathematics that
’s undirected natural processes of evolution “are incapable of generating
the specified complexity that exists in biological organisms.” -
* Roy Eccleston
In early August, President George W.
Bush weighed in on the issue and expressed support for the idea of combining
lessons in evolution with a discussion of Intelligent Design - which TIME
magazine described as ‘a subtler way of finding God’s fingerprints in nature
than traditional creationism.’ “Both sides ought to be properly
taught,” the President said.
(Aug 15, 05), ran a cover story
entitled The Evolution Wars. It reported that a Harris poll conducted in
June, found 55% of 1,000 adults surveyed said children should be taught
creationism and intelligent design along with evolution in public schools.
The polls indicated also that about
45% of Americans believe that God created the world and all its creatures in
six days. Parents and students are pressing for lessons on ID and creation
to be included in science classes.
US Supreme Court rulings in 1982 and
1987 put an end to the teaching of “Creation science,” on the grounds that
it violated the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.
New laws that challenge the teaching
of evolution are pending, or have been considered, in 20 states across the
, for one, has changed science standards to include critical analysis of
evolution. Other states are calling for equal time for ID and creationism.
For the Bible believer, it is very
“In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth,”
He created everything through and for His
“He delivered us from the power and dominion of darkness, and
transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have
redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the
image of the invisible God, the “First-born” (the Origin, Model, Supreme
Head and Heir) of all creation. For in Him all things in heaven and
on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether
thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been
created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in
Him all things hold together.” (Colossians
The Bible believer knows full well
that humans are a special creation, made in God’s image, with no physical
evolution from any other species. And he knows the Bible teaches that God is
involved in every aspect and moment in the life of His creation and the
But over the past century
particularly, this belief has been zealously challenged by an increasingly
sceptical intellectual world. And if science can explain what seems
inexplicable, then God is diminished.
Albert Mohler, President of the
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, US, comments: “Many of evolution’s
most ardent academic defenders have moved away from the old claim that
evolution is God’s means to bring life into being in its various forms. More
of them are saying that a truly informed belief in evolution entails a
stance that the material world is all there is and that the natural must be
explained in purely natural terms. They’re saying that anyone who truly
feels this way must exclude God from the story.”
- Time /15
And that’s really the bottom line in
the evolution versus creation
battle. “Should God be
excluded from our thinking and our lives?”
Oh, the awful tragedy of man without
God! The Scripture declares:
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because
that which is known about God is evident among them; for God has shown it to
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His
eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood
through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
“For even though they knew God (Yahweh), they did not honour Him as the
Almighty One, nor were thankful; but they became futile in their thoughts,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans
My believing readers, let us boldly
proclaim the Truth, and not suppress it. And let Y’shua be magnified!
From article, “Designed to put God into the gaps” - by Roy Eccleston,
/ The Weekend Australian / 3-4 Sep 05. Used by permission of NewsLimited.
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