Opening Comments at DDD2: Denis Lamoureux

Thank you. I am delighted to be here, and I am grateful to John Calvert for extending an invitation to share a few thoughts on a topic that is both personally and professionally dear to my heart.

Let me begin by putting the cards on the table so everyone knows exacting where I am coming from.

First, I am a thoroughly committed and unapologetic evangelical theologian trained to the PhD level.
I am a born-again Christian
I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God
I believe in miracles.
And, I believe in Intelligent Design. I see the creation “declaring the
glory” of God’s mind everyday.

Second, I am a thoroughly committed and unapologetic evolutionary biologist also trained to the PhD level.
I find that the evidence for biological evolution is overwhelming.
I have yet to see evidence that falsifies the theory of evolution.
And, I recognize the explanatory power of evolutionary theory. Biology
‘makes sense’ in the light of evolution.

Therefore, I am a both a creationist and an evolutionist. I believe that God created life, including humanity, through an ordained and sustained evolutionary process, which even reflects intelligent design.

To me, the evolution of life is similar to our creation in our mother’s womb. No one thinks that God comes out of heaven to attach a nose or an ear. Rather, most believe that the Creator “knit our fearfully and wonderfully made” bodies through His embryological natural processes.

Many say that my views don’t make sense. And this relates to my first and most important point:

Point #1
The problem with the origins controversy is the way the terms of the debate are set up. Traditionally, this topic has been viewed as ‘evolution’ vs ‘creation.’ And now, it’s being seen as ‘evolution’ vs ‘design’ as promoted by this conference. In other words, ‘evolution’ is being set up in a ‘no-win situation.’ This popular ‘either/or’ approach to origins blinds us from recognizing that evolutionists can believe in a Creator and in intelligent design.

If God did create through a designed evolutionary process, then the popular terms used in the debate are inadequate. And there are serious pastoral and educational consequences should this be the case. The ‘either/or’ approach becomes a “stumbling block” that forces both us and our children into choosing between two inadequate views of origins.

Point #2
is also a factor that contributes to the popularity of the Intelligent Design Movement. I am convinced that if this movement did not use the term “Intelligent Design,” then it would not be receiving the attention it enjoys today.

Throughout history, the beauty and complexity of the world have impacted people to conclude that nature reflects a rational mind. This experience and belief transcend time and culture–from inspired Hebrew psalmists to ancient Greek philosophers to 21st century physicists.

The ID movement is popular because intelligent design in the world is a reality. However, it is important NOT TO EQUATE this reality reflected in nature with the “theory” being promoted by the ID Movement.

ID Theory is a ‘God-of-the-Gaps’ model of origins. It suggests that nature is not adequately equipped to create life through natural processes. Consequently, there are ‘gaps’ in nature that need to be fixed through Divine intervention. But history reveals the problem with this approach. It fails repeatedly. As science advances, the proposed “gaps” become exposed for what they truly are–“gaps” in knowledge.

To be sure, intelligent design in nature is real. However, its origin does not necessitate Divine intervention as suggested by the ID Movement. Intelligent design could emerge through an evolutionary process in the same way that it is manifested through an embryological process in the creation of a beautiful baby bearing God’s Image.

Point #3
Finally, what should we teach our children about origins in the science classroom of public schools? I am sure everyone will agree–the best science available.
The ID Movement claims to be a legitimate scientific research program. Fair enough. But like all new research programs it needs to convince the scientific community of its truthfulness. If there are gaps in nature, and that is logically possible, then ID researchers need to prove it.

Up to this point, the ID Movement has had little to no impact on science other than provoking sharp criticism. Their contribution to the scientific literature is next to non-existent. Consequently, it is premature to present ID Theory in the science classroom as a legitimate scientific theory on origins.

However, this is not to say that ID Theory cannot be mentioned in public school. Science is associated with values and social issues. Public education already deals with extra-scientific topics. For example, environmental policy and reproductive technology. Consequently, there is no reason why that part of the science curriculum could not include the origins debate and the views of the ID Movement. Failing to do so shortchanges children in their education of a significant aspect in American culture today. Thank you.

Last updated September 12, 2003