Monday, June 12, 2006

Who Is Teaching Darwin? : My Take on the Intelligent Design Controversy

ID is characterized by a philosophically based, nonrevelational inquiry that is legitimate but only appears illegitimate because we have lost our epistemological childlikeness and are unable to consider the whole. ID is legitimate so long as the definitions of science in society are schizophrenic to the extent they are (because science is asked to carry an epistemological burden that is crushing its back and can only restlessly live with that unrealistic identity) because it consistently addresses evolutionary theory within the parameters of science as recurringly but fitfully, defined. If ID is overwhelmingly theist, it is philosophically theist and not revelationally theist, it seems to me. In fact there is no way to show that ID is Creationist in the traditional revelational sense. It deals with the question of what is the reasonable inference of the complexity and information in natural phenomena, and the inability to recognize that (as well as the apparent failure to recognize the same question is being addressed by Darwin and Dawkins, etc. in what is at least a meeting point of the two sides) seems to me to weaken the credibility of the opposition to ID. The attempt to marginalize the reasonable inference of the majority of mankind by secondary argumentation instead of addessing the questions raised strikes me as highly unacceptable. ID is also appropriate because it recognizes the inadequacy of modern compartmentalization of knowledge and works off the basis of that realization.

In fact Darwin's Origin of Species cannot be adequately taught without addressing its treatment of special creation on almost every other page of the book. But if his treatment of special creation were addressed since it deals with the inference from natural phenomena it seems quite fair to argue that where Darwin levels a case against special creation special creationists should be allowed to respond unless we are to accept an authoritarian position that dictates that where Darwin speaks we must be silent. We would not accept that from special creationists, why should we accept that situation from those who teach Darwin's theory? Yes I am fully aware of the epistemological bias that supports Darwin and Dawkins expositing on matters touching on religion and suggests that they are still doing this within in the framework of science but that assumes all religion is epistemologically vacuous, without anything but subjective content, but this is not the way many religious people see their viewpoint and where their interpretation and inferences touch on and derive from the common ground of natural inquiry they should be allowed to respond. Obviously quoting their Scriptures is not permittted as an authoritative scientific proof but the institutionalization of a view of religions as vacuous subjectivity is hardly fair and religious people should not be expected to support it. In fact, considered in the grand sweep of history, teleological inference from observed order, though religious, has been informed and derived from natural inquiry. Questions about the origin and sustainment of complexity (such as rare earth, anthropic principle arguments) deserve to be heard. If science, in this case Darwin, addresses religion, then what is called religion should be given the opportunity to reply. Darwin addresses "special creation". Shouldn't special creationists be allowed to respond? But this is the case all the more so, it seems to me, if the address to Darwin's argument is done within the bounds of what is repeatedly if fitfully accepted as science, supposing we are delimiting our focus to science. ID permits Darwin's argument in his seminal book to be addressed in its fullness (his address of special creation can hardly be viewed as a marginal matter by anyone familiar with the book) while at the same time keeping the focus still on natural phenomena. It does so by avoiding an authoritarian constriction on thought that does not allow for a critical fullness of evaluation of questions clearly raised or addressed in Darwin's argument. So who is teaching Darwin?

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