Intelligent Design and Science

Interesting find while surfing this morning. The ID people keep claiming they’re all about science, but the never reveal any.

ISSR Statement on the Concept of ‘Intelligent Design’

The authors of this statement constitute a group set up for the purpose by the Executive Committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. Through a process involving consultation with all members of the Society, the statement has now been accepted by the Executive Committee for publication as a statement made on behalf of the Society.http://www.issr.org.uk/images/line.gif

The International Society for Science and Religion is a scholarly society devoted to ongoing dialogue between the sciences and the community of world faiths.  It was established in 2002 for the purpose of promoting education through the support of interdisciplinary learning and research in the fields of science and religion, conducted where possible in an international and multi-faith context.

The society greatly values modern science, while deploring efforts to drive a wedge between science and religion. Science operates with a common set of methodological approaches that gives freedom to scientists from a range of religious backgrounds to unite in a common endeavor. This approach does not deny the existence of a metaphysical realm but rather opens up the natural world to a range of explorations that have been incredibly productive, especially over the last 400 years or so.

The intelligent-design (ID) movement began in the late 1980s as a challenge to the perceived secularization of the scientific community, which leaders of the movement maintained had been coloured with the philosophy of atheistic naturalism. ID theorists have focused their critique primarily on biological evolution and the neo-Darwinian paradigm. They claim that because certain biological features appear to be “irreducibly complex” and thus incapable of evolving incrementally by natural selection, they must have been created by the intervention of an intelligent designer. Despite this focus on evolution, intelligent design should not be confused with biblical or “scientific” creationism, which relies on a particular interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.

We believe that intelligent design is neither sound science nor good theology. Although the boundaries of science are open to change, allowing supernatural explanations to count as science undercuts the very purpose of science, which is to explain the workings of nature without recourse to religious language.  Attributing complexity to the interruption of natural law by a divine designer is, as some critics have claimed, a science stopper. Besides, ID has not yet opened up a new research program. In the opinion of the overwhelming majority of research biologists, it has not provided examples of “irreducible complexity” in biological evolution that could not be explained as well by normal scientifically understood processes. Students of nature once considered the vertebrate eye to be too complex to explain naturally, but subsequent research has led to the conclusion that this remarkable structure can be readily understood as a product of natural selection. This shows that what may appear to be “irreducibly complex” today may be explained naturalistically tomorrow.

Scientific explanations are always incomplete. We grant that a comprehensive account of evolutionary natural history remains open to complementary philosophical, metaphysical, and religious dimensions. Darwinian natural history does preempt certain accounts of creation, leading, for example, to the contemporary creationist and ID controversies. However, in most instances, biology and religion operate at different and non-competing levels.  In many religious traditions, such as some found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, the notion of intelligent design is irrelevant. We recognize that natural theology may be a legitimate enterprise in its own right, but we resist the insistence of intelligent-design advocates that their enterprise be taken as genuine science – just as we oppose efforts of others to elevate science into a comprehensive world view (so-called scientism). See the website: Here

Intelligent design is nearly universally condemned as science and as a concept. Most people recognize it for what it really is; a wedge devise to sneak WASP religion into our school systems. The only support for it is from evangelical fundamentalists, Young Earth Creationist (YEC), and some Old Earth Creationist (OEC).

Now proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) are using ‘Stealth Candidates’ who are running for positions on local and state school boards without declaring or admitting that they will advocate teaching ID in schools when elected. They just don’t get it…and they will try anything, including dishonesty, to achieve their goals. That they would use dishonesty in the furtherance of their religious sect speaks volumes about the true value of their faith.

Most people don’t analyze this battle enough, and don’t seem to realize that the ultimate goal of the religious right is to take over our country and remake it into a religious society; kind of like the Dark Ages in Europe when the Catholics ruled, and the strength and direction of your belief…decided whether you lived or died.  A lot of people don’t realize that the religious right has taken control of the Republican Party.

Cognite tute-think about it/use your head.

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Religious Attitudes in Mexico

Antonio Lazcano is a biology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Mexico City. He has studied evolution and the origins of life for more than 30 years and as a student at the university he majored in prebiotic evolution and the emergence of life. He has authored several books in the Spanish language, including ‘The Origins of Life’, published in 1984, that became a bestseller in Mexico. He has also been a professor-in-residence or visiting scientist in France, Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Russia, and the United States He was reelected president of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, in 2005, the first Latin American scientist to occupy this position.

He has an article in the journal ‘Science, which is a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wherein he comments on the acceptance of evolutionary sciences in Mexico and it’s relationship to the dominate Roman Catholic Church.

He relates that Mexicans in general have a commitment to the idea of evolution, as the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII endorsed the evolutionary principles that Darwin had proposed, in the mid-nineteen hundreds. So, contrary to many peoples belief, the people of Mexico do not suffer under a strong anti-evolutionary theocratic peer pressure. The Church realizes that the science behind evolution is valid, and tends to not interfere with peoples secular beliefs.

He comments that opposition to his teaching of evolution is practically nonexistent, and he has only been challenged twice. “Only twice during my 30 years of teaching about evolutionary biology and research into the origins of life, have I encountered religious-based opposition to my work. In both cases, it came from evangelical zealots from the United States preaching in Mexico.” He continues. “One of the little recognized U.S. imports into Mexico is a small flow of creationists, who, through religion, are trying to impose their fundamentalist beliefs and hinder the teaching of Darwinian evolution in all levels of schooling”. My emphasis.

I would add that this is a good example of the ‘Ugly American’ in action. How much arrogance and self-conceit does it take for these fools to interfere with another countries scholastic standards? What craziness do they posses that makes them think that…they alone…have the all answers, and must climb in other peoples face to spread their insanity?

Professor Lazcano says that their history has not recorded any major controversy over the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, in 1859. The fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not advocate the literal reading of the Bible as the evangelical fundamentalists do, probably contributes to this.

Places that have a predominately Catholic background such as France, Spain, Italy and most Latin American countries are secular in their outlook and politic, and are able to maintain an extended form of secularism while also being able to support religious freedom. Catholics in Mexico do not read the Old Testament as literal truth, but as a way that creation may have happened. Thus it is possible for Catholic Bible readers to believe in a supernatural origin of life and not have to reject Darwinism in order to maintain logical consistency in their theocratic scheme.

Professor Lazcano says that he and his associates are often invited to speak about life origins and evolution in public and private schools, including those run by Catholic nuns and priests. He says that students and professors see no doctrinal conflict between their own personal faith and Darwin’s scientific ideas. “They even found hilarious the idea of teaching creationism based on biblical literalism.”

He feels that most Mexicans find it hard to understand the hold that religion has in America, and many are baffled by the lax attitude of American politicians to the religious right that manage to influence and undermine the public educational system. “In contrast, Mexico still maintains some anticlerical attitudes, and public education bears the secular trademark of the Enlightenment, whose introduction into the country was facilitated by some prominent priests and Jesuits.”

His closing sentence is particularly relevant to the creationist / evolutionist argument. “Our understanding of the origin and early stages of biological evolution still has major unsolved problems, but they are recognized by the scientific community as intellectual challenges, and not as requiring metaphysical explanations, as proponents of creationism would have it.” My emphasis Amen

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