Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kansas Stuck in Time Warp

Kansas took a major leap backwards yesterday, redefining science to include non-natural explanations for observed phenomena. (Washington Post: Kansas Education Board First to Back 'Intelligent Design'). At the heart of this issue is a move to place the revitalized "Intelligent Design" pseudo-religious view of life's origins on an even keel in science class with evolution and natural selection.

What is most curious is that Intelligent Design has been championed by Christian conservatives. Several centuries ago, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited this teaching - a more modern form of Deism - and declared it a heresy. Most forms of Intelligent Design view God - if they mention God at all - as a clockmaker; One Who set the world in motion but now remains a disinterested third party. That was the teachings of the Deists that got them in trouble with the Church.

Curiously, the name "Intelligent Design" goes as far back as the Catholic philosophers St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Yet, the more secular version being championed today has never passed muster with the Church. Unlike evolution, which does have Church support, Intelligent Design is a religious quagmire for the devout. Yet, the Kansas Board of Education once again has set foot down a misguided path, this time trampling on both science and religion.

Those putting forth Intelligent Design as a substitute for evolution are simply trying to promote a veiled version of Creationism, spun in such a way as to pass constitutional muster. In so doing, however, they have managed to omit the most important factor in Creationism - a Divine Creator. It is most curious to hear the proponents of Intelligent Design consciously avoid any mention of the words "Divine" or "God" in describing their viewpoint - another nail in the Intelligent Design coffin for Christians.

For the devout Christian, God has a welcome place in evolution. As in the Catholic view, all that is exists because of and through the Will of God. That evolution is the method by which God chose to order the universe, and by which He continues to shape it to His will does not detract at all from the divine nature of creation. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, makes no such provision. To pass constitutional muster, that viewpoint is more easily adopted by the non-believer that simply needs to accept an "intelligent force" that set the universe in motion and then walked away from it. Yes, it passes constitutional muster. No, it is not science, and no, it does not pass muster for Christians.

The bottom line is that Deism and Intelligent Design were heresy in the 18th century and they remain heresy today.


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