by Denyse O'Leary
Contrary to legacy media scaremongers, intelligent design is not a "Christian" idea. Serious theists the world over have assumed - quite obviously - that the universe and life forms show evidence of design. Many agnostics agree.
The least theists expect of God is the ability to design and execute a universe. We divide into religions and sects on more immediately pressing subjects, such as whether God permits war, revenge, alcohol, polygamy, divorce, or married clergy.
Nineteenth century materialism created an intellectual market for theories that attempt to explain how the universe and life hoisted themselves into existence without design. "Many universes" and Darwinian evolution are the two most popular today. These theories are given vastly more weight than the evidence allows. And yet their enthusiastic, often fanatical backers wonder why the public remains skeptical.
Recently, I had a chance to read The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom (New York, Free Press, 1997) by physicist Gerald Schroeder - a Jewish take on design in the universe.
Formerly at MIT, Schroeder - who now lives in Israel - was one of the people who helped convince highly respected atheist Antony Flew that, There IS a God, on account of design.
He starts off with the arresting question he was asked hundreds of times around the world: "If the Bible is true, why doesn't it mention dinosaurs?"
He doesn't answer that question directly or immediately. It is a difficult question to answer.
The questioner clearly supposes that if the Bible is reliable, it must provide an answer to every question about which we are curious, whether or not the answer is needed for a righteous life. If that is the questioner's standard, the Bible must seem very deficient indeed.
Schroeder uses the dinosaur query as a jumping off point, from which he argues that the design of nature is best understood in the light of the Book of Genesis - interpreted, of course, in the Jewish rather than the Christian tradition.
One thing that struck me about The Science of God: is that Schroeder admits freely and with no sense of angst - back in 1997! - that there is very little evidence for Darwinian evolution as a cause of origin of species. Yet here we are in this 2008-2009 season of ridiculous Darwin hagiography, and on the very eve of the Expelled documentary on the suppression of scientists who favour design as an explanation. Update: I have just learned that Schroeder is actually in the film, along with mathematician David Berlinksi.
So why doesn't the monster just die? Let's see.
Introduction The Science of God - a Jewish physicist considers the design of the universe and life
Part One: Is the Darwin cult on the way out?
Part Two: Schroeder as recovering multiverse faddist?
Part Three: Let there be light ... and then time stands still
Part Four: Self-organization - not random, but according to a preordained program
Part Five: Non-humans with a human form? And what of the divine wisdom?
Next: Part One: Is the Darwin cult on the way out?
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