A Religious Objection to Intelligent Design

We expect athiests to reject intelligent design, and we know there are scientists who are believers but keep religion and science separate. Here’s yet another perspective in opposing intelligent design as Rabbi Natan Slifkin, writing in the Jerusalem Post, provides a religious objection to ID:

If God’s existence is being demonstrated in phenomena for which there is argued to be no scientific explanation, then what about all those phenomena for which there is a scientific explanation?

The prophets said that “the Heavens declare the glory of God.” Some of the ancients interpreted this to mean that since (in their time) there was no explanation as to why the planets move in the way that they do, they attest to a Designer. But now that physics and astronomy have explained planetary motion, does this mean that the Heavens no longer declare the glory of God? Of course they do; and the unavoidable position for the religious person is that God’s grandeur is seen in the laws of nature.

THE PROBLEM with ID was demonstrated by David Klinghoffer’s November 9 Post op-ed “Wayward religious reconcilers.” He argued that for the universe to meaningfully attest to a Creator, it must do so in a way that is potentially scientifically falsifiable, just as the testimony of witnesses is only meaningful if it could theoretically be proven false.

ID, claims Klinghoffer, uses certain cellular structures to present evidence for design that, if proven wrong (i.e. if proven to be explicable in terms of ordinary naturalistic processes), would no longer attest to a Creator.

So where does that leave the rest of the universe? What about all those structures that do not, even by the admission of the ID camp, present irreducible complexity? The unstated implication of their position is that these things do not attest to a Creator. Don’t have a grasp of cellular biology? Sorry, you won’t be able to perceive that the universe was created by God.

Either God is everywhere or He is nowhere. But He is certainly not limiting His appearance in the universe to the bacterial flagellum and the blood-clotting system.

(Hat tip to Evolving Thoughts, the blog which also answers the question, “What are the best pickup lines for scientists and science-savvy folk?”)

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  1. 1
    mbk says:

    Add to the list, George Coyne, the Jesuit priest and astronomer (until a few months ago, the Vatican astronomer). He’s written several eloquent and pointed pieces arguing against intelligent design.Also, several of the expert witnesses in the Dover ID trial who testified against ID happen to be practicing Catholics.

    By the way, as the lawyers and expert witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Dover ID trial brilliantly demonstrated, the cellular structures brought up by the ID folks as “irreducibly complex” (the bacterial flagellum, and components of the vertebrate blood-clotting system) are in fact “reducible”,and evolvable, with components that have (FUNCTIONAL) homologues in other organisms.

    The Dover trial decision is a classic, and even written in plain English. It’s 139 double-spaced pages, and worth the read. It can be downloaded from the web at http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    George Coyne definately belongs on the list. I did have at least one post on him when he was dumped by the Vatican.

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