Friday, November 11, 2005

Are We Designs or Occurrences?

"A creation is the end product of a design - an intention." - John H. Calvert

With the hypothesis of Intelligent Design being debated and even presented in a U.S. courtroom, I thought it might be beneficial to see what is actually at the heart and soul of the arguments for and against allowing the flaws of Darwinism and the idea of Design to be discussed in our public school classrooms.

This morning, I was reading an excellent article written by John H. Calvert in the August 2005 Whistleblower magazine which is entitled "Censoring God." It asks, and then answers, why is the science establishment so threatened by the intelligent design movement?

Now don't log off this blog. I know. When I discuss this issue with friends I immediately see their eyes glaze over. Can't blame them. Sometimes the arguments over this issue get so nasty and political. Some find the details complex, boring and unsolvable. But I found the following article quite an easy read and refreshing in it's different approach to the debate.

While trying to locate a link to the article at WorldNetDaily, I found that it was an excerpt from a 32 page PDF paper! Yikes. But don't let that cause you to shy away from reading it. The references at the bottom of each page just make the article seem longer than it really is.

I have an appointment this morning, but when I return I will finish this post by copying and pasting some of the more relevant portions of the piece for discussion. Meanwhile, those of you with some time and interest, here is the link to the entire paper:

Are We Designs Or Occurrences?

Calvert asks a very important question in the subtitle of his article, "Should science and government prejudge the question?"

What's even more interesting to note is this quote by Charles Darwin himself, "I look with confidence to the future, to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality."

Isn't that what Intelligent Design advocates are currently attempting to do?

Please feel free to post comments. To get started, I brought over a few paragraphs from the article:

"If we conclude that something is a design and not just an occurrence, then logic leads us to two important conclusions: (a) the thing has an inherent purpose and (b) that at some time in the past a mind existed to create it for that purpose. If on the other hand, we deem the thing to be an occurrence, then it has no inherent purpose. Also, we cannot use it to infer the prior existence of a mind. Of course, if all natural phenomena are occurrences, then none have a purpose and there is nothing we can observe in the natural world that would support belief in the existence of
a mind other than our own and those of animals and other entities that our minds control."

"Those who believe that life is an occurrence are materialists. Those who believe that life reflects design are teleologists. A teleologist is one step removed from a theist. A materialist is one step removed from an atheist. If we are teleologists our views about religion, government and ethics will likely be very different from those of materialists. So, should science and government lead us to be materialists or teleologists, or should they simply fully inform us so that we may make our own “informed decision” about the matter?"

What’s at Stake?

"Before addressing the question of how one may reach an “informed decision” about whether we are designs or occurrences, it would help to see what’s at stake. Why is the distinction between designs and occurrences so important to our views about religion, government, ethics and morality?"


Update: 11/11/05 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.

What? No comments yet? Hmmm....there have been 37 hits since I posted this so I guess we don't have much interest in this topic? That's too bad. The article really speaks to what is at the heart of the controversy between Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

My History on this topic.

Back in 1999, I attended my first ID Seminar at Biola University. Phillip Johnson was one of the prominent guest speakers and his lecture was truely fascinating and informative. The more I read and studied about this topic, the more I realized that Darwinism is no where near an "established fact" as the scientific elites would have us believe. In fact, the history of Darwinism was filled with fakes, frauds, and fallacies which were passed off to an unsuspecting public to make it seem that Darwinism was a sound theory. Investigating the truth will certainly make one free of such assumptions.

Back in July of 2004, I started listing many of the "Icons of Evolution" at my Message Board that have been proven to be fakes, frauds, and/or fallacies. We must realize that many of these former so-called "proofs" of evolution have swayed the minds of thousands in schools and universities so that they were incontrovertably indoctrinated into believing that Darwinian Macro-evolution was fact. Since the scientific elite does not want any competition to its beloved philosophical viewpoint, the introduction of Intelligent Design Theory is just not welcome.

It is interesting to note that in my debates and conversations with evolutionary theory advocates, they often argued that ID papers have never appeared in any peer-reviewed scientific materials. However, when Stephen C. Meyer's Paper did get published, the scientific community went bonkers and rabidly declared that his work was "unscientific" because it did not toe the "materialism only" mantra dictated by their narrow view(s) of what constitutes science. Mr. Calvert covers this bias in detail in his paper (link above). So, where does this lead us on the starting question regarding whether we are "designs" or "occurrences" and whether or not Intelligent Design Theory deserves acknowledgment and discussion in schools?

Note the following concluding paragraphs:

"Opening a discussion of design by discussing Darwin’s theory of no design without allowing a hearing of the scientific dissent would seem to be the kind of official viewpoint discrimination proscribed by Pico and Rosenberger v. Rector109 under the Speech Clause. If the state cannot require students to salute the US flag, then why should it be permitted to imbue them with a naturalistic and materialistic belief that life is just an occurrence and not a design? According to the Court that outlawed the salute, “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."110 All of these cases suggest that the only way for government to constitutionally satisfy its job of informing students about origins science is to do that comprehensively and not selectively."

"Since it is impractical to censor the discussion of origins in its entirety, that necessarily requires that both sides of the Darwinian controversy be explored without the use of religious or naturalistic assumptions.
The idea of inclusion rather than exclusion is also reflected in the advice of Congress in the Report that accompanied the No Child Left Behind Act111 and Darwin’s own advice. In the Conclusion of the Origin of the Species, Darwin hoped for a future of “young and rising naturalists, who [would] be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.” An “Evolution Only” paradigm conflicts with the advice of both Darwin and Congress. It contemplates showing young naturalists only the atheistic friendly side of the scientific debate."

"One frequently hears the argument that any discussion of design will necessarily involve a discussion of the identity of the hypothetical designer. The simple and truthful answer to that question is that a scientific analysis of the data does not reveal the identity of a designer, if any. DNA does not bear a copyright notice or signature.
As a practical matter, it seems that public schools have no honest or ethical choice in the matter. If methodological naturalism is in fact used to censor design, then that practice must be fully and adequately disclosed to satisfy cannons of scientific ethics that requires the disclosure of bias and how bias affects the selection of data and explanations given. 112 Any adequate disclosure of methodological naturalism will necessarily involve a discussion of design theory
and the fact that it is supported by relevant evidence. A short drama called The Rule 113 explains the dilemma faced by a school board that would like to avoid a discussion of design, but can find no honest way to do so. A prejudice works only so long as it is hidden. Once its ugliness is revealed and acknowledged, embarrassment guarantees its demise."


"As patrons of science we and our children need to hear both sides of the origins controversy to engage in “informed decision making” about religion, government, ethics and morals.

Information rather than indoctrination will solve the legal and scientific problems and lead to a more interesting and less contentious debate."


111 Educators are explicitly alerted to the need to avoid gerrymandering the discussion of evolution in the report of the House-Senate Conferees that accompanied the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act:
“The Conferees recognize that a quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science.
Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may
generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.”

[No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, page 703, (December 13, 2001, House Report No. 107-334)]

112 The ethical requirement is discussed in the AAAS publication: Science for All Americans, On-Line, Chapter 1 at
THE SCIENTIFIC ENTERPRISE : “When faced with a claim that something is true, scientists respond by asking what evidence supports it. But scientific evidence can be biased in how the data are interpreted, in the recording or reporting of the data, or even in
the choice of what data to consider in the first place.

“Bias attributable to the investigator, the sample, the method, or the instrument may not be completely avoidable in every instance, but scientists want to know the possible sources of bias and how bias is likely to influence evidence. Scientists want, and are expected, to be as alert to possible bias in their own work as in that of other scientists, although such objectivity is not always achieved.” (emphasis added)

113 Daniel Schwabauer and John H. Calvert, The Rule (Intelligent Design network, inc. 2002). A copy may be downloaded at

1 comment:

Christinewjc said...

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and "spin" going on about the Dover ID/Evolution trial. Here's a good article to help set things straight.