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Creation Scientists in Three-Way Debate with Intelligent Design, Evolution

Two creation scientists applauded Tuesday’s federal court ruling banning intelligent design theory from being taught in a Pennsylvania public school district because it is considered religious.

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December 22, 2005|12:57 pm

Two creation scientists applauded Tuesday’s federal court ruling banning intelligent design theory from being taught in a Pennsylvania public school district because it is considered religious.

Dr. Hugh Ross, an astronomer, and Dr. Fazale Rana, a chemist belong to a group which bills itself as a “science/faith” organization called Reasons to Believe. They say that Intelligent Design is not science and add that they have developed their own testable theory for creation.

"In the context of scientific credibility, these court judgments against 'intelligent design' cannot be construed as the audacious judicial moves many people make them out to be," said Ross.

Although Intelligent Design proponents acknowledge that the theory does not contradict theistic religions, they emphasize that the theory cannot identify what the intelligent cause is, only that design can be inferred from the evidence found in nature.

U.S. Federal Judge John E. Jones III held in his decision for the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case that teaching intelligent design was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of a religion by the state. The ruling can only be enforced within the district.

The Discovery Institute, a leading proponent of intelligent design issued a statement saying that the judge had mistakenly aligned the theory with creationism.

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The creation scientists at Reasons to Believe, on the other hand, echoed comments of some evolutionists who oppose intelligent design.

“As currently formulated, ‘intelligent design’ is not science,” said Rana, who serves as the organization’s Vice President of Science Apologetics. “It is not testable and does not make predictions about future scientific discoveries.”

Reasons to Believe professes old earth creationism, stating that the six days of creation in Genesis can be interpreted as “a very long time,” even billions of years.

“At Reasons to Believe, our team of scientists has developed a theory for creation that embraces the latest scientific advances. It is fully testable, falsifiable, and successfully predicts the current discoveries in origin of life research,” said Rana, who holds a PhD in Chemistry from Ohio University.

The group rejects the idea that God guides evolution, saying instead that God has “miraculously intervened throughout the history of the universe” millions and even billions of times to create new species of life on Earth. Regarding the Noah’s Flood, the group says that all humans on earth except for Noah and his family did die because the catastrophe did not need to extend beyond Mesopotamia (the Near East) before humanity could extend over the whole planet.

“I would refer to him as an old earth creationist,” said John H. Calvert, Managing Director for the Intelligent Design Network referring to Rana. “That is contrasted with a young earth creationist that argues that everything was created in seven days with a worldwide flood.”

Calvert is an attorney with a background in geology and paleontology who has co-written a paper called, "Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution,” published in National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly in 2003.

“ID is simply an inference from the data,” he said. Calvert gave an example of the events that took place on 9/11.

When the first airplane hit, one could think it was an accident, he said. After the second plane hit, most people no longer thought it was an accident.

“By subconscious pattern matching, it was highly improbable that two planes would hit the towers,” explained Calvert.

The way of thinking about the crashes changed from an accidental hypothesis to design hypothesis, he added.

According to Calvert, old earth creationists and young earth creationists seek to prove the Bible, something that intelligent design does not. “ID,” he says, simply tries to infer answers from the facts much as a coroner would at a crime scene or an arson investigator would at a burned down building.

“One of the reasons he (Rana) gets upset with ID is that we don’t seek to prove the Bible. It’s not a part of our agenda. It is a part of his agenda. That doesn’t mean that inference doesn’t have religious implications.”

Calvert said that both ID and evolution have religious implications or worldviews. He faulted Judge Jones in the Dover case for just focusing on the religious implications of design.

“That judge didn’t understand that it was an inference from the data,” he said. Judge Jones said ID was a repackaging of creationism.

“He is completely wrong in that aspect of his decision. There is theistic and non-theistic religion,” he said, adding that evolution is “mythological naturalism.”

“They essentially promote a materialistic view. If he (Jones) only says we can consider the no-design claim (evolution), that promotes materialism and that is unconstitutional,” he added.

In his decision, Judge Jones said evolution did not necessarily preclude a belief in God who has a hand in guiding the evolutionary process.

As the debate over Intelligent Design continues, the Reasons to Believe doctors meanwhile say the evolution and creation controversy will change to “an all new level” from “science vs. religion to science vs. science” with the new discoveries in recent years.

“After all, science is the search for truth. We must be willing to follow the trail of evidence wherever it leads," they stated.

And according to the doctors, creationism is gaining ground on evolution.

In a news release, Reasons to Believe quotes late 1996 Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Smalley, who said that was he was convinced that evolution was not valid after reading a book by the organization called “Who Was Adam.”

“After reading Origins of Life with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred,” Smalley said. “The new book Who Was Adam, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death.”

During a visit to Tuskegee University in 2004, Smalley said that in the debate between evolution and creationism the burden of proof was on those who don't believe Genesis was right and that the Creator is still involved.

 

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