Saturday, August 13, 2005

Atheist has no faith in Nelson's new course

Here is are two more articles on the same page in yesterday's (Friday, 12 August) The West Australian. The first is pro-ID, about a Rev. Noel Newton who is promoting the Intelligent Design DVD "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" to schools (and anyone who wants it) on behalf of Campus Crusade for Christ, Australia. The second is about a David Nicholls who is "President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia," and (surprise, surprise!) anti-ID.

The pro-ID article comes across as positive and the atheist anti-ID article as negative. I have used the heading of the article about the atheist, because it is more informative, and I think it is clever, making the point that atheist's must have "faith" in evolution (not to mention that there is no God) to claim that there is no design. Also, note that the atheist (as they all do) uses theological arguments (i.e. what God would not do) to support what he claims is just another scientific theory! Notice how the journalist subtly shafts him:
"Mr Nicholls describes himself as a layman with a deep interest in science. He says he does not have, and does not need, academic qualifications. And for a man so passionate about facts, he is curiously reticent about how many people belong to his organisation."
If you had asked me a week ago how long it would be before ID had a full-page (and only 5 pages into the paper) devoted to it, sympathetically, in Western Australia's main newspaper, I would probably have said, "never."!

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol)
"Problems of Evolution"


Pastor on the road to show that seeing is believing

Spreading the word: The Rev. Noel Newton is in WA to explain the intelligent design theory by showing the Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD.


The controversial theory of intelligent design may have received presidential blessing and ministerial backing, but in WA the masses are hardly flocking into churches to hear the word.

Queensland Churches of Christ pastor the Rev. Noel Newton has spent the past week in WA travelling to a dozen venues to show the new DVD called Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

Mr Newton is a missionary with the group Campus Crusade for Christ, which wants to promote the DVD as a resource in schools. This week the group presented Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson with a copy.

United States President George Bush, an evangelical Christian who supports the theory, believes schools should teach both evolution and intelligent design side by side.

This week, Mr Newton said his organisation had written to every church in Perth - about 900 in total - inviting anyone interested to watch the video. About 150 people had turned up so far. But to the passionate preacher, a former bank accountant turned Bible college graduate, even one interested participant is a gift.

He said the DVD usually provoked a reaction of amazed awe in viewers, who were given an animated insight into DNA and the make-up of cells.

"Everyone who sees it says, `We have just never seen anything like it'," he said. "I gave it to an atheist just a few weeks ago and the atheist said, `Before I watched it I was content, now I'm confused'."

Most screenings had been attended by adults, but older students were also entranced with the concepts.

Mr Newton said the group hoped to market the DVD as a resource for Year 11 students.

Atheist has no faith in Nelson's new course

For David Nicholls, the facts are simply not in dispute - the facts of evolution at least.

Mr Nicholls, president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, is adamant that intelligent design should not be taught in schools because it is a mere hypothesis with no basis in proved science.

He also feels Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson has been irresponsible for weighing into the debate and giving the go-ahead for the subject to be taught.

"The result is that you teach children there is a doubt about evolution," he said. "There is absolutely no doubt about what is known about evolution.

"There are many things that are not known about evolution, but science cannot answer all things at once. Schools, especially State schools, are there to pass on factual knowledge to students. There is no factual knowledge in ID."

Mr Nicholls said the theory of evolution came from testable, repeatable and checkable information. "Intelligent design works on the principle of having a shot at ... the stuff that is unknown about evolution," he said. "They don't say God, but they mean God. Why did the intelligent designer have fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, disease, genetic malfunction?

"Did he, or she, or it, do that as a joke?"

Mr Nicholls describes himself as a layman with a deep interest in science. He says he does not have, and does not need, academic qualifications. And for a man so passionate about facts, he is curiously reticent about how many people belong to his organisation.


(c) 2005 West Australian Newspapers Limited All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that ID should not be taught. It should be self-evident to anyone with any sense at all. It is a mandatory starting point from which one can begin to understand both ontogeny and phylogeny, neither of which can be understood without it. The IDists should never have introduced it as a subject for debate.

On the other hand the Darwinians should never have assumed that there was an exogenous cause for organic evolution as there is not a shred of evidence in support of that notion. Both ontogeny and phylogeny have been driven entirely be endogenous forces which are as yet little understood but whose existence cannot be denied. Creative evolution is apparently a phenomenon of the past and cannot be demonstrated at present.