Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beyond Intelligent Design

Full disclosure: I get pretty frustrated by this entire debate. Perhaps because I grew up with a mother who is both an ecologist and a committed Christian, it always seemed self-evident that God could work through the process of evolution to generate the beauty and splendor of our natural world. I really don't see why Darwin's Theory of Evolution should be any more controversial to Christians than Newton's Law of Gravity.

Chris Carlisle, M. Div. gave the following half-hour talk at my home parish, St. James Episcopal Church, in Greenfield, MA on March 8, 2010. This lecture is a "must" for anyone willing to leave their preconceptions behind and open up dialogue between the religious and scientific communities.

Chaplain at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design Carlisle has strong ties to academia as well as to organized religion. He quickly moves beyond the usual stale debate and offers fresh insight into the nature of God and the presence of God in nature.

3 comments: said...

I had to laugh when I saw the title of the book. Personally, I do not think intelligent design is idiotic, but I have had enough debates online with hard-core, atheistic evolutionists to imagine the jokes they would make about the title of that book.

God could certainly work through a process of evolution to produce the natural world, if He wanted to. Personally, I do not think He did, not if you define evolution as a process by which species came into existence through natural forces only, which is the kind of evolution taught in the public schools. I think the design of the vast variety of species came through the process of Guided Modification and Branching (GMB) over millions of years from a common anscestor, just as genetics and fossil evidence may suggest, but it was a process supernaturally and intelligently guided. This would also be consistent with a literal understanding of Genesis.

There are two aspects of this issue that make evolution so controversial with many Christians. One, evolution is a cornerstone of the belief of many atheists that there is no God, and two, many Christians, misunderstanding what Genesis actually says (not realizing that Genesis says that the earth existed BEFORE the six days of creation), think that the design for the species could not have emerged over millions of years because that would contradict the Bible. That would not contradict the Bible, even when you take Genesis literally, but many people are not careful in their reading of the Bible and follow the traditional beliefs of their churches more than the Bible.

Tess said...

Thanks for the comment, Penman!

I believe that rigorous scientific inquiry ultimately leads to greater appreciation for the wonder and mystery of divine creation.

Shawn Fumo said...

I'm curious about the talk but it doesn't sound like the book adds much (judging from the reviews anyway). Someone mentioned it makes the entropy argument which is probably one of the worst ones to use.