THOUGHTS ON ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN’ VERSUS EVOLUTION
(Okay, so I pirated this post from something I left in the comments section over at Cynthia’s Interests. There are some pretty good ideas being bandied about there on the topic; I suggest you check them out. Do I need to remind you of how lazy I am? I thought not.)
I was raised as a Christian, and perhaps that is part of the reason that evolution never quite ‘added up’ to me. The world I experience just seems too full of complex, wondrous beauty to have come about by accident.
Of course, there are quite a few questions I have about creation possibilities, as well. I believe that neither ‘position’ is monolithic, and that there is much room for discussion and debate over the merits of both.
More importantly, though, I think that the study of science– as far as it is an examination of how things are as opposed to how things came to be— can safely be considered a demilitarized zone to which neither belief system holds title.
Furthermore, I believe that the clash between the two theories is often so hypergolic because they each are a philosophical starting point for attempting to explain the purpose of existence. Given the political ramifications of this philosophical locus, it is no wonder people are willing to fight so tenaciously over it.
The only applicable view I have is that I am very wary of anyone’s particular religious interpretation being part of a publicly funded educational curriculum. I would much rather see the teachings of ‘origins’ removed entirely than to see the intellectual and philosophical waters toxically soiled by such latter-day Pharisees as Pat Robertson and James Dobson.
Another alternative might be to teach origins from an anthropological perspective. Perhaps various evolution and creation theories could be presented separately from observable, empirical science.
At any rate, I have noticed a certain matter-of-fact arrogance from many evolution adherents that is a bit off-putting. There is the assumption that evolution is (pardon the pun) gospel truth, and that those who believe in some form of “intelligent design” are all backward medievals. While creation theories do seem to be most frequently publicly espoused by those such as the aforementioned Pharisees, there is no reason to assume that all those who believe in an omnipotent, omniscient Creator are slack-jawed dupes of those well-heeled charlatans (though sometimes it seems that all too many are).
I don’t claim to offer any answers, but I think the best compromises will be possible if we are able to filter out all the disrespect and the demagoguery, and focus on what’s best for our larger community. It will require a certain level of humility from all comers, I think, that famous ability (with apologies to Socrates) to shamelessly admit that “I do not know.”