Why Darwinism Survives

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

In essence, Wolfson sees the debate over Intelligent Design as an example of philosophical, rather than scientific, conflict. He also recognizes that the most well-known advocates of Intelligent Design argue that the theory should be taught as part of the science curriculum in the public schools. Wolfson clearly believes that the Intelligent Design theorists are on to something, and he acknowledges his own concerns about the viability of Darwinism as a worldview, but he accepts the argument of the dominant scientific community that Intelligent Design is simply not science.

He cites Princeton professor Robert P. George as another conservative intellectual who believes that Intelligent Design is more properly considered as philosophy rather than science. Like Wolfson, George believes that the theory of Intelligent Design has been useful in countering the hyperbolic arguments offered by evolutionary radicals such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould, along with Daniel Dennett. Accordingly, Dawkins, who once claimed that "if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane," is dismissed as one who misuses Darwinism "as a battering-ram against religion."

Yet, Wolfson argues that Intelligent Design simply has no adequate scientific model that would replace natural selection in a scientific context, and he cites George as a supporting authority on the question. He also cites Stephen Barr, a theoretical physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware, as arguing that "some IDers have strayed beyond the confines of science rightly understood." To these authorities Wolfson adds Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics. As Wolfson argues, "Kass credits IDers for drawing attention to various difficulties in orthodox Darwinian theory, as well as for understanding the human stakes involved in such questions." But Kass argues that the idea of a "Designer-God" is not warranted by the evidence. "There is simply no evidence in support of this proposition," he claims.

As should be evident by now, Wolfson has attempted to write an essay that praises Intelligent Design as a means of humbling Darwinism but rejects claims that Intelligent Design can be a replacement for Darwin's theory of natural selection. He fears that Darwinism has become something of an untouchable subject among the elites. Furthermore: "What's unfortunate is that the ideology of Darwinism – that is, the mistaken notion that Darwin defeated God – not only reigns culturally supreme, but also apparently increasingly has the legal backing of the state."

Beyond this, Wolfson laments the establishment of "orthodox Darwinism" as the dogma taught in the public schools. "This marks not so much enlightenment's progress as a narrowing of our intellectual horizons," he suggests.

Missing from Wolfson's argument is any intellectual suggestion about how Darwin's theory is properly scientific while Intelligent Design is presumably not. Beyond this, even as Wolfson rightly criticizes the elites for their ideological insecurity in anxiously dismissing all challenges to evolution, he never explicitly points to a factor that would have strengthened his argument – the fact that Darwinism is as much about a theory of life's meaning as about its origin. In other words, if Intelligent Design is criticized as philosophy without science, Darwinism is excused as science without philosophy. This is hardly the case.

Nevertheless, Adam Wolfson has demonstrated his intention to write a balanced and fair introduction to the controversy over Intelligent Design and evolution. For that, he deserves our appreciation. Furthermore, the fact that an essay of this character is found in the pages of The Weekly Standard indicates that many conservatives, who would not be counted as conservative Christians, are open to a credible critique of Darwinism. In our present intellectual climate, that factor alone may serve to distinguish conservatism from liberalism and to reveal which system of thought is truly open-minded.


This article was originally published on Tuesday, January 17, 2006.
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R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to mail@albertmohler.com. Original Source: www.albertmohler.com.

In essence, Wolfson sees the debate over Intelligent Design as an example of philosophical, rather than scientific, conflict. He also recognizes that the most well-known advocates of Intelligent Design argue that the theory should be taught as part of the science curriculum in the public schools. Wolfson clearly believes that the Intelligent Design theorists are on to something, and he acknowledges his own concerns about the viability of Darwinism as a worldview, but he accepts the argument of the dominant scientific community that Intelligent Design is simply not science.
He cites Princeton professor Robert P. George as another conservative intellectual who believes that Intelligent Design is more properly considered as philosophy rather than science. Like Wolfson, George believes that the theory of Intelligent Design has been useful in countering the hyperbolic arguments offered by evolutionary radicals such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould, along with Daniel Dennett. Accordingly, Dawkins, who once claimed that "if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane," is dismissed as one who misuses Darwinism "as a battering-ram against religion."

Yet, Wolfson argues that Intelligent Design simply has no adequate scientific model that would replace natural selection in a scientific context, and he cites George as a supporting authority on the question. He also cites Stephen Barr, a theoretical physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware, as arguing that "some IDers have strayed beyond the confines of science rightly understood." To these authorities Wolfson adds Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics. As Wolfson argues, "Kass credits IDers for drawing attention to various difficulties in orthodox Darwinian theory, as well as for understanding the human stakes involved in such questions." But Kass argues that the idea of a "Designer-God" is not warranted by the evidence. "There is simply no evidence in support of this proposition," he claims.

As should be evident by now, Wolfson has attempted to write an essay that praises Intelligent Design as a means of humbling Darwinism but rejects claims that Intelligent Design can be a replacement for Darwin's theory of natural selection. He fears that Darwinism has become something of an untouchable subject among the elites. Furthermore: "What's unfortunate is that the ideology of Darwinism – that is, the mistaken notion that Darwin defeated God – not only reigns culturally supreme, but also apparently increasingly has the legal backing of the state."

Beyond this, Wolfson laments the establishment of "orthodox Darwinism" as the dogma taught in the public schools. "This marks not so much enlightenment's progress as a narrowing of our intellectual horizons," he suggests.

Missing from Wolfson's argument is any intellectual suggestion about how Darwin's theory is properly scientific while Intelligent Design is presumably not. Beyond this, even as Wolfson rightly criticizes the elites for their ideological insecurity in anxiously dismissing all challenges to evolution, he never explicitly points to a factor that would have strengthened his argument – the fact that Darwinism is as much about a theory of life's meaning as about its origin. In other words, if Intelligent Design is criticized as philosophy without science, Darwinism is excused as science without philosophy. This is hardly the case.

Nevertheless, Adam Wolfson has demonstrated his intention to write a balanced and fair introduction to the controversy over Intelligent Design and evolution. For that, he deserves our appreciation. Furthermore, the fact that an essay of this character is found in the pages of The Weekly Standard indicates that many conservatives, who would not be counted as conservative Christians, are open to a credible critique of Darwinism. In our present intellectual climate, that factor alone may serve to distinguish conservatism from liberalism and to reveal which system of thought is truly open-minded.

This article was originally published on Tuesday, January 17, 2006.
____________________________________________________
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to mail@albertmohler.com. Original Source: www.albertmohler.com.