Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Truly Intelligent Design

I remember it was another pretty nondescript day in Mr Van Gilder’s General Science class 42 years ago at East Orange High School. It wasn’t the day when, after being caught not paying attention to a lecture on the weather, Curtis Brockman answered that they call the wind Mariah. No, that day was pretty descript, because I felt embarrassed for the poor white kid who just made a fool of himself in front of the 27 other members of the class…all of whom were black.

The day was nondescript because we were finishing up watching a film on the circulatory system that we had started the previous day. It was an OK film. I already knew pretty much all of the stuff in it, because I was a human body geek, and had been one since about 4th grade. At the end of the film, the narrator came on-camera and said a few words about how the way that this incredibly complex circulatory system worked in this incredibly complex body meant that there had to be a designer.

Well, duh. Of course there was a designer…and it was God. Where was the news in that?

Apparently, this 14-year-old who could name and draw every organ in the human body, had missed the news that, aside from the occasional atheist, there was any question about whether or not God had made us.

And this 14-year-old knew and understood Darwin’s theory of evolution.

You see, to me, evolution didn’t necessarily mean that we lived in a totally God-less, random universe. Far from it; it meant that God was so slick that he set up this method to eventually create us, and that the stories from Genesis were told to and by people who at that point would’ve scratched their heads going “Mah?” (Hebrew for “what”) if you tried to explain to them what a half-life or a singluarlity was.

And I went blissfully unaware that there was any debate about this until I was in college.

I mean, yeah, we read Inherit the Wind in English class, but that was about people 50 years ago. Surely no one really questioned it now, did they?

Little did I know that not only did people still question it, but that college-educated people questioned it, and tried, and still try, with all their might to come up with some alternative thesis that would allow them to believe that the Bible was word-for-word, literally true, in the current translation…totally forgetting the fact that we may have misunderstood some of the original Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin.

And so these people went on to do what I call “science with an ax to grind.”

You see, real science does a few experiments, looks at the results, and says, “OK, until proven differently, it looks like this is how things work.” The Creationists, Intelligent Designers, and Young Earthers aren’t doing experiments and letting the chips fall where they may…they have a very clear goal, and that goal is to prove evolution and everything that the scientific community has accepted for years about the age of the universe, and our planet, wrong.

And this is so that they might “prove” the Bible to be right.

The Creationists and their ilk seem to think that science is trying to prove that there is no God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Granted, there are a fair number of scientists who believe that evolution and an old universe negate the need for God to exist, but there are also quite a few who believe that the apparent randomness of Quantum Theory is where God and miracles hide from the view of us mere mortals.

And that, to me, is truly intelligent design.