Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Monkey Girl

As I continue to read through Monkey Girl, one thing keeps coming to my mind. It seems to me that a huge majority of those who oppose Intelligent Design are much more concerned about doing away with a literal interpretation of biblical history than they are concerned about their interpretation of the scientific evidence. They can’t accept the fact that ID has nothing to do with a literal interpretation of the Bible, though that is the main reason they oppose it.

And, something that really needs to be rectified in this debate is to come up with a much better set of definitions in order to communicate clearly when addressing various issues surrounding the ToE. If pro-evolution scientists really wanted to help people better understand evolution, they would work hard at defining the various aspects of the theory so that people know what in the heck they are talking about. Though, it is very convenient for them at times not to have to break the term down.

Humes wrote on pg. 27:
The nearly unanimous opinion of the scientific community is that evolution is the bulwark of modern biology and medical research, from the development of new antibiotics to the fight against cancer, and that America’s next generation of scientists will fall hopelessly behind the rest of the world if evolutionary theory is watered down or banished from our schools. [my emphasis]
As I’ve stated several times, I’m darn near convinced that evolution is worthless to science at the macro level and in regard to common ancestry. It is certainly an interesting interpretation, but science could roll along just fine without ever giving it any consideration. The part of the theory that is vital to science is microevolution, which is not being questioned in the least.

All this talk about the development of new antibiotics etc. is based on microevolution, which can be empirically tested. ID supporters point this out ad nauseam, but to no avail. Over and over we see these same examples and are warned that our students will “fall hopelessly behind” if we question evolution in any way.

This scare tactic is interesting because ~several~ times throughout the book Humes implies that teachers are scared to death to even broach the subject of evolution in the classroom and that, at present, most of them water it down or don’t teach it at all. So, we should have “fallen hopelessly behind the rest of the world” quite some time ago. But, the truth is that we haven’t. In fact, scientific literacy is on the rise.

I think that if the “scientific community” would lift the ban on allowing discussions about design, both teachers and students would benefit. Teachers wouldn’t have to worry about how they taught evolution if they were allowed to let the students discuss the controversial issues as well. ID doesn’t negate evolution at any level, so the teacher could teach evolution (common ancestry and all) and state that there are those scientists who feel that life is too complex to have evolved through evolutionary mechanisms ~alone~ and go on to explain the inference a bit further. If ID were taught properly, religion wouldn’t be mentioned AT ALL.

Humes goes on to say:
Yet polls also find that solid majorities of Americans are essentially ignorant of evolutionary theory and the scientific evidence that support it, and are nearly as clueless when it comes to the details of the literal biblical stories of creation (with many unaware that there is more than one creation story in Genesis alone). doubt this is true, but it is also true that even less understand what Intelligent Design is actually about because of the horrendously misleading information being spread by the scientific community.

Humes assertion that “many [are] unaware that there is more than one creation story in Genesis alone“ sounds like a Burt Humburg statement (Burt evidently had Humes ear during the Dover trial). He and I went a few rounds regarding his conclusion about Genesis 1&2 some time back in a Kansas forum. Genesis doesn’t have “two” creation stories, but you certainly won’t convince those who are looking for a reason to dismiss scripture to believe that (and, yes, I know that Burt is a theistic evolutionist).

Here is basically what I told Burt:

Genesis contains two descriptions of creation. The first is chronological, while the second is from man’s perspective (literary). A close study of the Hebrew words shows no conflict. Christ, who in a single sentence mentioned both descriptions, knew they referred to the same creation event. (Mt 19:4-5) Per my footnotes in my NIV Bible: 1:1-2:3 is a general account of creation, while 2:4-4:26 focuses on the beginning of human history. Ch. 2 also sets the stage for the fall. It tells of the scene and circumstances of the fall, supplementing the terse account of man’s creation in ch.1 with only such data as comes into play in the ensuing tragic-drama.

Also, I think everyone would agree that the writers of scripture were not complete idiots. There were approximately 40 writers over a 1,500 year period. Even those who have done a very small amount of biblical research would have to admit that the writers were pretty bright individuals.

Now, having said that, the fact that those 2 chapters are worded the way they are, in my mind, make the chapters all the more convincing. Moses and the other readers would have all caught an “error” like that. I think if chapter 2 was meant to be a chronological account just as chapter 1 was, Moses would have said “Whoa, hold the phone! We can’t have this - people will think we’ve made an error!!! Even Jesus quoted from both of the chapters at the SAME time. (Matthew 19:4-5) You‘d sure think someone would have noticed that there were two creation stories with conflicting facts if they were, in fact, both chronological accounts.
But, just because I interpret these two chapters this way doesn’t necessary make me correct beyond all doubt, but Humes certainly cannot assert as fact that there are “two creation accounts” in Genesis. I simply think his reasoning on this point is illogical.

That is something that irks me. People constantly slam those who support traditional Christianity and a literal interpretation of scripture. But, I hear the craziest things in regard to what a literal interpretation consists of. Evidently, everyone has their own interpretation of what a “literal interpretation” entails, which is another source of conflict in this debate.

Humes does make a very good point with the following comments:
It would not occur to the organizers of “Steeling the Mind” (anti-evo. group) to invite an evolutionary biologist to the conference so that attendees could hear a different perspective, just as it would not occur to the organizers of the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association, which met a few weeks later in the same vicinity, to invite a panel of creationists to join one of it’s sixteen separate sessions on teaching evolution and dealing with related controversies in public schools.
No kidding. Everyone preaches to the choir, but the ID side is certainly more open to public debate than those who support evolution. I do not support creation science being taught in the schools, but I do like Walt Brown‘s (a creation scientist) idea of a written debate which would cover all aspects of science that surrounds this controvery. That would be facinating, and since most people have already been conned into thinking that ID is creation science, let’s get a good solid debate that would help put many of these questions to rest for those of us who are interested.

Humes writes:
One speaker at “Steeling the Mind” put it this way: “Kids go off to college and give up on God. Start worrying less about where your kids are going to go to college, and send them to a Christian school now”. A young man in the audience turned that concern on its head, admitting that he preferred to bank on ignorance: “I’m really afraid to learn too much about evolution, because it might make me doubt my religion. And then where would I be? What would I tell my family? My girlfriend?”
Boy, ain’t that the truth. Some religious folks don’t want to “get confused” so they stick their head in the sand and never think about things that they fear might lead them to doubt their faith. I’ve known people like this, and I find it absolutely ridiculous to have such an attitude. How in the world will you know if your faith is worth fighting for or sharing with others if you don’t thoroughly search for truth at every turn? It blows my mind that more people aren’t searching diligently for answers in regard to human origins, and many of those answers focus on science and theology. If there is a designer, what was his purpose in designing this vast universe? Merely a whim? If no designer exists, how in the devil did we evolve from virtually nothing? Logically, there has to be a designer of some sort, and it seems illogical that our universe was based on nothing more than a whim. That is where religion comes in, and those who never study various religions or consider the supporting evidence for each are really missing out on an extraordinary journey. My Christian faith has been strengthened immensely by jumping out of the comfort zone.

Okay, I’m rambling so I’ll quit. I was actually going to write about Chapter 9 of Monkey Girl since it focuses around the Kansas science standards. I’ll bet Jeremy is wondering what I thought of that chapter! But, as I was paging through my book, I came across other areas that I had highlighted and got distracted from my goal.

My poor book is almost completely covered in yellow highlighter.