Monday, June 30, 2008

No Discussion?

Good morning from Durphee Lake! Toni and the kids and I are up at the Dahlin cabin until Saturday. After talking and praying last night, and after a good sleep, I am full of gratitude for this amazing place and this amazing family. I'm even thankful for the new bathroom reading material someone provided (too private? naw, not really...).

One of the new magazines is _Discovery: Science, Technology and the Future_. I haven't read much, but something on the book review section caught my eye: The proponents of intelligent design seek nothing less than a true scientific revolution, an uprising of the first order that would do a great deal more than just displace Darwin from our textbooks and curricula. They seek the undoing of four centuries of Western science, and that surely should be enough to make anone sit up and pay attention.**

Call me simple, but that's not what I think of when I think of "intelligent design." Like I said in Christians and Climate, I'm not a scientist. I'm also not someone who understands the creation stories in Genesis to be literal history. The main thing, I think, is that God is the designer and we are responsible for this earth. It's like in Jeremiah where the Lord says "I am the potter. You are the clay." It's true, but not literal.

I'll probably take a lot of guff for writing this on a Monday morning at the cabin. It's not like I'm absolutely clear about evidence or that I'm prepared to defend my position. Since my youth I've seen, in Genesis, a succession and order to the way God created things, a pattern that seemed to me to be similar (though not the same) to what some discern as evolution. I know it's probably more complex than that, but that's where I start.

My concern is the polarization. Can't there be more discussion? Are Christians somehow forced, because of fear or loyalty, to dismiss every scientific advance that is vaguely connected with Darwin? Is the pattern revealed in Genesis totally different from evolution?

Now, it's true that a person cannot believe in "unguided" or "mindless" evolution and be a God-fearer. But if theists see intelligence and design in the cosmos, does that really mean we "seek the undoing of four centuries of Western science"?

Maybe I'll read Miller's book. Or maybe I'll relax and enjoy the creation God loves so much, however it is He chose to create.

**Discovery magazine review of _Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul_ by Kenneth R. Miller, 2008, Viking Press

For more, see my 2001 post "A Trip to the Zoo."


  1. Have a great time at the lake this week. I must say, I am jealous!!


  2. Oh, boy! This could be a very deep discussion. I would be very interested to know your definition of evolution. Allan and I were just discussing this subject and came to the agreement that intra-species evolution could be within God's creative framework. However, inter-species evolution, what many non-intelligent design theorists suppose to be how we all came to be here, just doesn't make sense. We'll have to discuss this sometime.

    As far as global warming is concerned, since you mentioned it again (and this is a hot button of mine), I have the privilege of reading more opinions on both sides of the issue than the normal person, since energy is my business and I don't have the media bias that usually gives one view. Many venerated scientists (one even received a Pulitzer Prize for his part in global warming studies) say the climate models that they use to predict global warming don't work in reverse; by applying them to what we already know, the models are flawed. Despite what the media and politicians say, the science still is unproven to me. However, be that as it may, we run a real risk of creating greater poverty in this country by rushing to take care of our environment. Had the Lieberman-Warner bill passed, electricity would likely have been outpriced for many people that we know and care for. I believe in being good stewards of God's creation, but not at the cost of caring for the people He created in His image. I believe God provided for our needs with fossil fuels. However, moving onward to alternative energy makes sense since we have the technology. I just hope that it is done in a sane way. If not, our entire economy is at risk, and not from global warming, but from the remedy.

    I pray that you all have a super time and come back refreshed! Becky S.

  3. Hey Becky! What a treat to hear from you. When it comes to both of these issues it's my hope that Christian people can discuss them without either side being labled as outside the faith. I would love to talk more, and when we have the opportunity face-to-face I'd enjoy that. A couple of questions: why couldn't God have chosen to "design" creation using some sort of gradual process? This seems to be so repugnant to some and maybe I'm just ignorant of why this is such a hard thing to imagine. I have delved deeply into the climate change issue and am pretty much convinced of the danger - but, again, I hope we're not so deeply into our respective corners that we can't listen to each other. And yes, I have read and talked with people who know a lot more than I do on both sides of the issue. The problem is that I do believe that we are stewards of the creation - one of the very clear messages from Genesis in my opinion, and so we need to pay attention and not pretend that God will somehow just "take care of things" in spite of wasteful behavior on humanity's part. So, if there is the possibility that we are putting God's creation in danger, then we need to be very careful. I agree that we need to look at all of the effects, as the misguided push toward corn based ethanol is showing us. So often as we try to make things better we make things worse. But that does not make me want to wash my hands of the responsibility given to us in the beginning by God.