Debate: Intelligent design in public schools – Part 4

We would like to make a few points in regard to the article on Intelligent Design (ID) and the visit by Philip Johnson in the Nov. 7 issue of the Review.

?First, and most importantly, while we know and respect Dr. Morgan as a colleague and fellow Christian, the quote attributed to him regarding “providing a Christian view” may be misleading. The spectrum of Christian views on the issue of evolution is actually very wide, and ID is only one part. Some Christians hold to a creation of all life more or less exactly as it exists today, only a few thousand years ago, which is more restrictive than the usual form of ID. On the other end, many Christians accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for the process of biological evolution with the understanding that God the Creator is the overarching architect of all aspects of the universe, even if God allows or uses what we see as natural processes to work out the details. This view is sometimes referred to as “theistic evolution” and has variants even within itself.

?Secondly, a quote attributed to Johnson describes precisely the goal of those who support Intelligent Design, though that goal is often masked (misrepresented, perhaps). He is quoted as having said, “students… are learning the wrong view of what science should be.” The underlying goal of ID is to redefine all of science from an investigation of the natural processes acting in the world to a process that says, “if we can’t explain something, then God did it.” To the vast majority of those of us in the sciences, and to many Christians in general, this is a dangerous redefinition, adversely impacting our ability to discover new wonders of the universe as well as of God. In fact, it is this very approach that has caused some to reject God outright, since the gaps in our knowledge have an annoying tendency to keep closing.

?Finally, much has been said in the current controversy as to the supposed deficiencies of the scientific theory of biological evolution. Many of these criticisms ignore (misrepresent, perhaps) evidence that is well accepted throughout the scientific community. A prime example is mentioned in the article: change from one species to another is indeed seen through geologic history, despite Johnson’s claim to the contrary.

?If we may, we would like to suggest two books that are especially relevant to this debate. “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation” is a collection of articles edited by Keith B. Miller (of Kansas State University), written by professing Christians, with both scientific and theological views on the myriad evidences supporting the scientific theory of evolution. “Finding Darwin’s God” is a perspective on finding common ground between God and evolution, written by Kenneth R. Miller (a biologist at Brown University).