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 Gods 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 mothers
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 dont make sense. And this relates to my first
and most important point:
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, its 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
Terminology 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 culturefrom 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 aregaps 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 Gods Image.
Finally, what should we teach our children about origins in the science classroom
of public schools? I am sure everyone will agreethe 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.