This webbed editorial and the unwebbed article in my next post, both calling for ID to be taught in Western Australian schools, appeared in Perth's yesterday's (Easter Sunday) Sunday Times newspaper.
Here is an excerpt from the webbed editorial with my comments (in bold):
Fresh look at clearing up life's mysteries, The Sunday Times, Editorial, April 07, 2007 ... PERTH's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have taken a fresh and welcome approach to an old debate this Easter. As reported in The Sunday Times today, they want to break new ground by having a religious genre of intelligent design taught in WA public schools. Even though it doesn't find favour with Education Minister Mark McGowan, it is an interesting and provocative thought.
I would be surprised if the Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft,
was in favour of ID, since from comments in the media he seems to be a religious liberal (indeed he is described in the media as "a leading liberal"), and there is nothing in his latest reported comments specifically about ID.
But the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey, has made positive comments about ID before, e.g. "Intelligent design is a far more elegant description of historical changes than an entirely evolutionary approach, and it therefore should not be ignored in the classroom" and "Intelligent design, while it does not demand belief in a creator, sits very comfortably with Catholics who believe ... God ... has a clear design for the universe and for each human being in it":
Archbishop Hickey on Intelligent Design theory, The Church Around the World, "The theory of evolution is an inadequate way to describe the universe and life because it ignores too much and makes great presumptive leaps without evidence," said Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth in August. He was commenting on the debate over whether Intelligent Design theory should be taught in schools. "The problem in our society is that the theory of evolution has been installed in our education system and is defended by too many educators as the sole scientific approach to the existence of the universe and the appearance of the many forms of life. "One result is that too many students are unable to protect themselves from the conscious or sub-conscious assumption that human life has no purpose or meaning. "They are asked to accept that all the marvels of nature and the complexity of living organisms, even intelligent human life, are the products of two laws, natural selection and the survival of the fittest, that is, the result of chance. "Intelligent design is a far more elegant description of historical changes than an entirely evolutionary approach, and it therefore should not be ignored in the classroom. "Intelligent design, while it does not demand belief in a creator, sits very comfortably with Catholics who believe that whatever came first came from God who has a clear design for the universe and for each human being in it." ... 'The Record' (Perth) ...
As for ID "doesn't find favour with Education Minister Mark McGowan," this is no surprise, since Western Australia has an Australian Labor Party State government, so its Education Minister (whatever his private views) is beholden to the support of the (presumably predominantly atheistic) WA State Teacher's Union. As evidence of this, when the issue of teaching ID in State schools, McGowan's predecessor was initially in favour of it ("Creation theory wins support," 13-Aug-05) but then `backflipped' ("Teachers reject creation theory," 13-Aug-05) the next day when she found out that the Teacher's Union was against it!
Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey says that intelligent design would give students an opportunity to question the mysteries of life that science can't explain. And Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft said: "I think if our classrooms do not allow for the exploration of the spirit, the exploration of the questions of meaning, then we're going to produce ultimately, human beings who have deep emptiness in them"
As mentioned previously, only Roman Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey mentioned "intelligent design." From Hickey's comments above evolution making "great presumptive leaps without evidence" and "mysteries of life that science can't explain," it sounds like he is well aware of evolution's scientific and philosophical problems and presumably he is also aware of the evidence and arguments for ID.
ID is the term for the controversial theory that, because of the complexities of certain features found in nature, an "intelligent designer" exists as a biblical God or some other superior being. ID supporters point to various questions that science can't answer to back their claims.
The media just cannot seem to get it into their heads that ID is not a theory about a "designer" - it is a theory about design! Nevertheless, progress has been made in that most journalists these days understand that ID does not claim that the design was necessarily caused by the "biblical God" (although those IDists who are Christians, like me, assume that it was).
In opposition, are atheists, including many scientists, who believe in the theory of evolution which they say shows that all living things developed naturally from simple organisms over the course of millions of years. Nearly all scientists consider evolution to be a scientific fact. ...
This makes a good point that those opposed to ID are mostly "atheists" (who therefore have no option but to rule out intelligent design irrespective of the evidence). The claim that "Nearly all scientists consider evolution to be a scientific fact" is often asserted but it has never been demonstrated scientifically to be true, since there would have to be a worldwide scientific survey of all scientists and "evolution" would have to be clearly defined as, "the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process'":
"Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer, M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis).
It would be very interesting to see the results of such a worldwide survey of all scientists. It might well turn out that most scientists do not "consider evolution to be a scientific fact," in the sense that "God" (or an Intelligent Designer) "had no part in this process."
Some argue that ID and traditional creationism go hand-in-hand; others claim that there are fine differences but important ones. ...
It is good to see that this editor is aware that the claim that "ID and traditional creationism go hand-in-hand" is false, because "there are fine differences but important ones" (my emphasis). Those "differences" include:
What logically follows is that religious teaching at all levels and at all ages, but particularly among the young, should be questioned to reach a considered judgment between ID/creationism and evolutionism. After all, there are those who form beliefs somewhere between these extremes. .... And if the teaching of intelligent design was introduced in schools and it resulted in more young people questioning the basis for traditional religious beliefs so that they can make informed judgments, then it would be an effective innovation. ...
This seems confused and sounds like the "camel is a horse designed by a committee" insertion of a different editor. It is not only "religious teaching" that "should be questioned to reach a considered judgment between ID/creationism and evolutionism" but also the scientific teaching, i.e. the actual evidence for and against evolution, and also the materialist-naturalist = atheistic philosophical assumptions supporting evolution (what Archbishop Hickey above called "The ... great presumptive leaps without evidence" of the "theory of evolution") that should be questioned.
If "the teaching of intelligent design was introduced in schools" it would not so much "result... in more young people questioning the basis for traditional religious beliefs" but more likely result in them "questioning the basis for traditional" scientific materialist "beliefs" (which is why evolutionists are so much against ID being taught in schools)!
Continued next post with the unwebbed article.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
Exodus 14:1-4,8,15-20. 1Then the LORD said to Moses, 2"Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' 4And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." So the Israelites did this. ... 8The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. ... 15Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me... Tell the Israelites to move on. 16Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen." 19Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.