Friday, November 11, 2005

People unclear on the concept

of science.

Headline for today is "Pope Weighs in on creation controversy" . The article quotes the pope:

“How many of these people are there today? These people, ‘fooled by atheism,’ believe and try to demonstrate that it’s scientific to think that everything is free of direction and order,” Benedict said.

And follow that up with:

His comments were immediately hailed by advocates of intelligent design, who hold that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power.

Now, I think it is fine for the Pope to weigh in on The Creation, though probably a bit of a miscalculation or misunderstanding for the pope to mix atheism and science. And it's an outright blunder for anyone who wants Intelligent Design theory to be considered as an alternative scientific theory to Darwin's evolution theory. Science, and scientific theory, aren't based on faith - they are based on observation and experimental investigation.

We've now got experimental data that "advocates of intelligent design" - at least some of them - are approaching their theory as a way to validate their faith - not as a way to scientifically explain the origin of species.

It seems to me a shame that these folks can't let go of a literal interpretation of the Creation story and accept the idea of some greater intelligence as a leap of faith rather than as a trump card in a war with science. Lots of scientists are comfortable making a leap of faith and separating their scientific work from their spiritual relationship with the world; but most of those same scientists don't believe that intelligent design theory is based on science, rather than on faith.

An alternative religious thread was reported on last month that I thought offered promise to theologians who believe that faith and science are separate domains. Schoenborn appears able to accept science as science, at least as long as science doesn't try to disprove The Creator. But the pope's line of thought appears to be that the church would like to have The Creator literally acknowledged by scientific theory, and historically, that has proven to be a dangerous position for the church to take.

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