Monday, June 19, 2006

My Views of the CNA Documentary, War On Science


INTRODUCTION

The Sunday before last, I saw the documentary, War on Science on Channel News Asia. From what was promised in the many trailers that they showed, I was expecting a balanced presentation of the two opposing theories of origins, Evolution and Intelligent Design, leaving the viewer to make up his own mind. In fact, I thought the title was, War OF Science. How na├»ve of me. The documentary turned out to be an indictment of the Creationists’ proposal that there is ample scientific evidence to support the view point that life on this planet did not evolve from lifeless chemicals, but was created by a presumably superior being. I think the show should more aptly be titled, Intelligent Design: Religion Masquerading as Science.


IN A NUTSHELL

This is what the show says.

1) In 1859, Charles Darwin published the Theory of evolution to explain the origin of species. All reputable scientists today accept this as a fact of science.

2) The Theory of Evolution contradicts the account of creation as given in the Book of Genesis in the Bible, where God was supposed to have created all life on earth supernaturally in 6 literal days.

3) Fearing an abandonment of the Christian faith, Christian fundamentalists came up with a new theory to explain the origin of life called Intelligent Design. Through not entirely honorable means they tried to compel some schools in the US to teach this new ‘pseudo science’ alongside Evolution.

4) A United States federal court recently ruled that a public school district requirement for science classes to teach that Intelligent Design is an alternative to Evolution was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

5) Even the Catholic church accepted the Theory of Evolution, saying it did not contradict Catholic doctrine. The documentary even hinted that Creationists have manipulated one prominent Catholic bishop to publish an article in a reputable newspaper denouncing the Theory of Evolution.


MY THOUGHTS

1) To their credit, the producers did attempt to give an accurate explanation of Intelligent Design and its 2 supporting concepts Irreducible complexity and Specified complexity through interviews with prominent protagonists. Basically, I think the argument is that life is so complicated that it must be the work of an intelligent designer (aka God) rather than the result of evolution. Statistically, it was impossible for life to evolve.

2) The arguments put forward by one of the expert witnesses (Miller) to refute this was accepted by the court. But frankly, I was unable to follow his explanation. But that is my problem; I concede.

3) To be fair, I personally believe there is some truth in the accusation that Creationists are somewhat biased because they approach the issue with a pre-conceived assumption that “there is a God”. Thus, when they look at the facts, they are looking for evidence to support their assumption. I admit I am like that. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Whilst it is not a book of science or history, what is recorded cannot be contradicted by science or history. Hence, when I read of scientific explanations which support this view, I feel vindicated.

4) Now I come to what I think is the biggest flaw of this documentary. It refuses to acknowledge that evolutionists are guilty of exactly the same bias. They claim to be non-religious, but yet they begin with the assumption that “There is no God”. David Attenborough said on the programme that Evolution is based on scientific observation and analysis. It can explain the majority of natural processes. Where it can’t, we should admit our ignorance and try to learn the truth, and not conveniently attribute it to an almighty God.

Well, I think the truth is closer to this. Evolution can explain only a small fraction of natural processes. In the majority of cases where it can’t, evolutionists simply bring out their magic wand called ‘millions of years’. Creationists say, "With God, nothing is impossible". Evolutionists say, "With Time, anything is possible".

For example, evolutionists say that man evolved from apes. Has anyone seen it? Can it be replicated? Of course not! Why? Because it takes millions of years. But it has to be, otherwise it would mean that there is a God. Isn’t that what you call ‘faith’?

By the way, where are all the ‘missing links’ between apes and men? Why should links be missing in the first place?

5) One final point. I think that part about the Catholic Church’s (and Pope John Paul in particular) acceptance of Evolution does not belong in a scientific debate of this nature. The Catholic Church’s views of this matter ought to be discussed in a religious/spiritual forum, which I shall do in my other blog.



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