Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Archie Pitches a Shutout

A wise man once said that there are only two seasons, baseball season and the Void. Here in Southern California we are fortunate to have two major league teams, the Brooklyn (I mean, LA) Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim (Go Halos!). And there’s no Void here since we always have the beach. But if you venture off the sports pages you find that the dog days of summer are filled with news about a disappearing coed in Aruba, a war protesting mom in Texas and the never-ending debate over creation and Darwinism.

Unfortunately, the evolution debate is full of rhetoric and short on logic. The Darwinists proclaim that evolution “is a fact” while creationism is religious hocus-pocus. The Intelligent Design advocates point to the gaps and unexplained events in the evolutionary story and proclaim it to be “only a theory.” Neither side listens to the other long enough to realize that they are in different ballparks and their sides are playing against phantom opponents. It’s not very satisfying for the spectators.

So what’s to be done? How can we move closer to the truth, which ought to be the goal in an intellectual debate? How do we bring the teams into the same ball park? Well, if we want to play baseball the first step is to agree on the rules of the game. In legal terms, what is stipulated?

For example, we could agree that natural selection explains the evolution of characteristics within species. We might stipulate the reliance on random mutations and survival of the fittest. See how easy that is. So let the game begin.

After a flip of the coin the Intelligent Design team takes the field while the Evolution team comes to bat. Since evolution is a “chancy” prospect, the batter is a gambler by the name of Minnesota Fats. The pitcher for the Intelligent Design is an architect, Archie for short.

Fats: That miserly stipulation is only a bunt single, whereas Darwinism is a home run. It explains the evolution of species to species (eg apes to man) and the evolution of life from non-life. It’s the whole shebang!

Archie: Hold on there, I agreed to stipulate what Darwin actually showed about species, not what he postulated about species jumping. Show me the proof and I’ll reconsider.

Fats: Well …. There’s plenty of inferential evidence, but if you want to play hardball, give me your best pitch.

Archie: Winding up.... I stipulate that in America most people (nearly 90%) believe in God, that God is all powerful, and that God created our universe out of nothing.

Fats: Wait a minute, I thought we were debating science; evolution, not religion.

Archie: We’re debating the truth. Don’t you see the truth of my statement?

Fats: Sure, it’s true that Americans are religious, but so what?

Archie: I stipulate that even most scientists believe in creation and they have a name for it: the Big Bang. They know lots of detail about how the physical universe evolved since that instant. They understand how amazingly special our universe is, how finely tuned are the laws of physics, and they appreciate the grandeur of the architect. They …

Fats: OK, Ok, I stipulate!! Give me a break.

Archie: So we see that God “interfered” once by creating our universe. Perhaps God interfered again by creating just the right conditions here on Earth for life to begin and flourish. Astrobiologists have been amazed to learn how very special the Earth is.

Fats: Come on, you may be right, but it also could have been random chance; I do not stipulate.

Archie: Suit yourself, if you want to go through life throwing craps all the time. But my side, those who believe in God, know that God architected the universe, probably the Earth and most likely life itself. Your evolutionary team has no explanation, or even a reasonable theory, of how the first living cells were born. A glance at your literature shows that you’ve even stopped trying to find out.

Fats: Well, your team can’t prove anything that you’ve said about God, creation or life. The only scientific theory we have is evolution.

Archie: Well, our theory is simpler and a lot more beautiful than yours, and if it’s the truth, who cares if you call it science. You can be the gambler, I’ll bet on a sure thing: God.


Anonymous Pamela Cleveland said...

Great Blog, Billy! It was a fun read!
The Abeka 9th grade science text clearly shows the objectivity of creation science! I taught it to 2 of my sons 13 years ago!
Got the following from the Intelligent Design network.

The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.
In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence. ID proponents believe science should be conducted objectively, without regard to the implications of its findings. This is particularly necessary in origins science because of its historical (and thus very subjective) nature, and because it is a science that unavoidably impacts religion.

Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the "messages," and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides all you said very pointedly, I’d rather believe in God and his Son Jesus Christ and be wrong, than not believe in Him and be wrong!!

Well said, Bill.


9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing to me that the UC Regents can disqualify science courses that include creation as a possible theory, thus disqualifying many students
from attending U.C. schools that otherwise would make the cut.

Are the Regents all from San Francisco?


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