Friday, March 28, 2008

Is Intelligent Design a threat to Liberal Ideology? UPDATED

Updated Saturday 27 April, see additional response at bottom.

The following trailer of Ben Stein's upcoming film EXPELLED has been making its way around cyber-space. The film attempts to make the case that there are those in academia who do not want the idea of "Intelligent design" considered by the scientific community. It smells like religion to them and runs contrary to neo-Darwinian dogma, which considers us and all creation a cosmic accident!

Check out the trailer see what you think


Thanks for your note.

Despite Ben Stein's worried comments, I do not believe there exists some secret cabal specifically targeting ID. For better or worse, professors with weird, heterodox beliefs are ridiculed all the time by their colleagues. For instance, a Marxist in an economics department is not going to be well liked and will be the target of his or her colleagues' ridicule and censure. Proponents of ID are not special targets.

I noticed that, in the preview for his film, Stein decided to show clips of people like Dennett and Dawkins. But, why should we be impressed if Dennett and Dawkins, people who have an axe to grind against theism, dismiss ID without consideration? They do not speak for the scientific community.

The National Academy of Sciences has just released a publication on science and religion in the classroom aimed at reaching lay persons. I have been reading it, and thus far I am happy to see that it is both accessible to the general public and that it emphasizes one need not see scientific findings as a threat to his or her religious convictions. The text, Science, Evolution, and Creationism is available online here:



Eques replies;

Dear Timothy,

As usual, your reply is well thought through and argued. Eques found the trailer interesting. He knows that many people share Ben Stein’s opinion, IF it is true what then. Eques seldom believes in organized conspiracy or cabal theories.

He experienced the turbulent 60’s and 70’s. As a Northeastern University student Eques never thought that there was some kind of organized conspiracy among different anti-war groups in the USA with the North Vietnamese Communist. Everyday, however, the philosophical “comradeship” among these groups was certainly recognizable. This shared philosophy was potent. Any international organization was superfluous.

The Students for a Democratic Society ( who were neither democratic or students) still supported the Viet-Cong over our troops, the “Weathermen” still robed banks to support their incipient terrorist activities and Jane Fonda still felt righteous about visiting North Vietnam and posing with an anti-aircraft gun that shot down our planes and pilots.

Philosophy is far more powerful a bond than any institution because it can only be combated by an equally or more powerful philosophy.

The real question is, “are there academics who think that ‘Intentional Design’ is the camouflaged nose of the religious camel under the edge of their tent.” Eques suspects there is. Perhaps Stein’s film will shed some light on this question.

In addition, it is the opinion of Eques that the liberal elite ideologues in academia and government are verily afraid of ID, for it could up set their entire relativistic, nihilistic, philosophical house of cards. For this reason, those who tolerate everything begin to look very much like reactionary neo-Darwinists, when it comes to ID.



A second thought by Eques after a look at the Science, Evolution and Creationism brochure.

The Science, Evolution, and Creationism brochure makes the following argument against “Intelligent design.”

“However, the claims of intelligent design creationists are disproved by the findings of modern biology. Biologists have examined each of the molecular systems claimed to be the products of design and have shown how they could have arisen through natural processes. For example, in the case of the bacterial flagellum, there is no single, uniform structure that is found in all flagellar bacteria. There are many types of flagella, some simpler than others, and many species of bacteria do not have flagella to aid in their movement. (Emphasis by Eques) Thus, other components of bacterial cell membranes are likely the precursors of the proteins found in various flagella. In addition, some bacteria inject toxins into other cells through proteins that are secreted from the bacterium and that are very similar in their molecular structure to the proteins in parts of flagella. This similarity indicates a common evolutionary origin, where small changes in the structure and organization of secretory proteins could serve as the basis for flagellar proteins. Thus, flagellar proteins are not irreducibly complex.”

Despite the closing sentence of the above paragraph, Eques would argue that the relative infinite variety of life at every level of sophistication could indeed argue for “intelligent design.”

The Science, Evolution, and Creationism brochure argues that the more variety the less possibility of “Intelligent design,” does that necessarily follow. Does not effective variety, many ways of accomplishing the same thing, speak of even greater genius. Is this not more evidence for ID?

Tielhard De Chardin, paleontologist and Jesuit, would argue that the more “complex” something becomes the greater the “consciousness” until evolution becomes conscious of itself, in humankind. De Chardin fully accepted evolution, but most definitely appreciated its spirituality, what he referred to as its “within.” The principle of evolution he called “Complexity Consciousness.” The “within” is the active and conserving presence of God. He argued that evolution has a goal, a beginning, an Alpha point and an Omega, a telos, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) St Paul “wrote all creation groans” (Romans 8:22) until it reaches its completion in Christ the point of perfection, the Word, “Fiat Lux” (Genesis 1:3) through which all was made and for which all was made.

None of this is contrary to Evolutionary thought except it moves Evolution from accident to purpose. The jump is also relatively infinite, as is 0 to 1. It explains not only what is happening Evolution, it also answers the most human and perhaps the most Evolutionary question possible WHY is it happening.

Perhaps someday down the road, the divorce between science and faith will be perfectly healed and real wisdom achieved. Eques does not believe true knowledge can be reached using only part of our mind. Once again the greater Catholic gift of the little word “and” will bring wisdom unachievable by Sola Scientia aut Sola Fides, sed Scientia et Fides.

Genesis 1:1-5

1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. 2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. 3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. 5 And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.’

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