Intelligent Design Yet Again

A cynical curmudgeon named Ben Stein has been making the rounds of talk shows, promoting a soon-to-be-released movie.
(http://expelledthemovie.com/)

Judging from the trailer for the movie, it will be yet another rehash of Intelligent Design. The trailer shows a teacher at a chalkboard, talking to his class about evolution. Stein, at the rear of the class, interrupts to ask how life could arise from inanimate matter.

The teacher acts caught out. He mumbles and stutters. He says they have gone over this time and again. Stein responds that the teacher never answers the question. He brings up the possibility of ID, and the other students all nod approvingly.

Leave aside for the moment the fact that several hypotheses about the origin of life are presently being scientifically explored. (See, e.g., http://tinyurl.com/z2ylv.) Stein’s notion of ID demonstrates once again a fallacy that constantly shows up in ID claims. In fact, this fallacy has been pointed out so frequently that it has acquired a title: God of the Gaps.

Religion loves a mystery, meaning anything currently unexplainable. Theistic people can then “explain” the unknown by positing a god or gods who make it all happen.

An excellent article, “The Last Gasp for the God of the Gaps” by Greg Perkins is still available: (http://tinyurl.com/5ox38o)

When you already “know” — throughRevelaton — that God exists and created everything, you can safely ridicule any scientific teaching that contradicts your “knowledge.”

Stein, and ID proponents generally, already “know” how life got started; how the universe itself got started. God did it, and they “don’ need no steenking” scientific theories.

The focus of the ID movement is to ridicule the theory of evolution, which, they are correct in fearing, gives the lie to the notion of “creation ex nihilo.” The deeper purpose of ID is to more firmly embed religion into politics so that education and legislation will reflect the religionists’ views of the world and morality.

Of course, Stein’s movie is bent on deriding any idea of a universe with no God to make it go, so the focus (in the trailer) is the humiliation of the teacher who can’t answer it.

–Ken

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3 thoughts on “Intelligent Design Yet Again”

  1. >The focus of the ID movement is to ridicule the theory of evolution, which, they are correct in fearing, gives the lie to the notion of “creation ex nihilo.”

    In what way does the Theory of Evolution overturn (“give the lie to”) the claim of creation ex nihilo?

    I have only heard “creation ex nihilo” cited by religionists as a theological explanation of the existence of the universe as a whole–in contrast to the philosophicalidea of the eternality of the universe as a whole.

    The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory, in my layman’s understanding, and so it has no standing in discussions of metaphysics, which is a subject logically prior to the theories of the specialized sciences such as biology.

    To put the issue in another way: I have met religious people who hold on faith that the universe was created by God (from nothing), but have concluded from scientific evidence that once it all was in place, life forms developed as described by the Theory of Evolution.

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  2. Burgess,

    My apologies for the late response to your comment. WordPress usually informs me when a comment needs my attenti9on. The notification about yours came in only a couple of days ago.

    You are correct, of course, in nailing me on my conflation of metaphysics and science. Thank you for that.

    At the time of writing that post, I was thinking of the religious view of the creation of man as an act of God separate from the creation of the rest of the universe and other life forms; in that way, “ex nihilo”.

    The Theory of Evolution, as regards man, relies on the observed evidence of the evolution of the species, thus opposing (“giving the lie to”) creationist notions.
    –Ken

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  3. Intelligent design is basically the creationist’s way of getting God back into school teachings. It’s a really cleaver hybrid of evolution and creationism and is apparently serving it’s purpose quite well. Ben Stein’s new movie is only going to spark interest in ID even more.

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