ID straw

Gary Bourque writes in:

Scientists generally consider a million-to-one odds as mathematically impossible. So I’d say one to the number-of-atoms-in-the-universe is right up there, wouldn’t you?

Does that mean it’s literally impossible? No. But neither is it literally impossible to win the lottery every week for 10,000 years (assuming your life and the money could last that long). It’s just not likely, in the extreme. The odds that life formed or evolved on Earth are worse than that. The fact that these things have had billions of years to happen don’t improve those odds at all.

I’m not sure how making the above claims compromises my “intellectual integrity.” But if you like to debate the issue you are invited to come to my blog and do so.

There are two issues here that need work. One is the ad hominem perception about intellectual integrity and the other is the straw man parading as an attempt to secularize religion.

Since integrity is indeed a personal characteristic, it is all to easy to toss it around as a personal attack. This makes it all the more important to be very clear about the behavior that leads to conclusions about intellectual integrity in order that offense can be minimized and constructive critique can be made more likely. When a series of misrepresentations is presented or contradictory logic is used then it is that series or logic that should be labeled as lacking intellectual integrity, not the person who expressed them. This is something that the person who exposed the series or used the logic can use to convey more accurate perceptions and more rigorous logic if he or she desires.

Intelligent Design asserts that the sophisticated characteristics of living things on earth and their evolution are no accident, but instead the design of an intelligent force. But while most Intelligent Design adherents are Protestant Christians, they stop short of identifying the “designer” as a religious figure like God. Instead, they carefully treat the concept in a secular manner. [‘Intelligent Design Belittles God,’ Says Priest by Monisha Bansal, Correspondent
October 24, 2005]

The introduction of astronomical odds or other secular measures to ‘prove’ the existance of something greater does belittle religion. As one science fiction writer once said, all sufficiently advanced technology is magic. When we teach our children about the Bible we stick to the concrete, to fables and stories. Religion is, at most, magic. It is only later, as our children develop and mature, that we can begin to hope they can comprehend the true meaning of the Holy Trinity.

It belittles religion to takes its meaning away from it. ID demotes the supreme being. It means thaty G-d not only created man in his imiage but suffered Himself to the same limitations that we, as men, have. G-d cannot be more than we can image.

But that attempt to secularize religion is a straw man because the issue is really about what should be taught as science in the public schools. Should we teach concepts as science in public high schools that do not fit within the scope of science as determined by the ‘market’ that public school students are being prepared to meet? It is not what is true nor is it even what is right. That is another can of worms with a much broader set of concepts in public education.

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