The Spectacle Blog

Evolution, ID, and Faith

By on 11.18.05 | 3:23PM

Mr. James G. Poulos, a contributor to TAS Online, takes issue with my post earlier today challenging Charles Krauthammer apoplectic and ill-reasoned column.

After considering my quick summation of ID, Poulos comments,

But it's one thing to say "maybe God did it" and quite another to say "therefore--." In unravelling the basic secrets of life on Earth, we should be none too surprised by a lack of clear evidence as to how mitochondria or the human eyeball eased into being over billions of years. The theory of evolution is on weak empirical reeds because it's being pushed beyond its brief: today bird beaks on the Galapagos, tomorrow the world, past, present, and future.

While he acknowledges evolutionary theory's lack of evidence, he seems to understand ID as concluding that without the evidence of evolution, God therefore created. From a strictly empirical standpoint, we cannot say that either God or blind, random chance is responsible for creation.

Poulos makes this point again in an email,

Alas ID advocates sometimes rather strike me as wanting to be picked for the science team more than they want to be right; or that for both sides, it's not good enough to simply take evolutionary theory for the interesting but limited thing that it is, rather than trying to make the partial evidence and unanswered quetions into ammunition in a war about the meaning of human existence.

I told Mr. Poulos that this aspect of the fight wasn't picked by the ID folks. The Darwinists staked it out long ago, claiming much more ground than their theory can cover, both in terms of certitude and its meaning for human existence. Folks like Vatican scientist Rev. Coyne (mentioned at Poulos's blog), who doesn't speak for Church Magisterium, have become the poster boys for those attempting to reconcile their faith and evolution. The IDers are pointing out that evolution is an incomplete theory, rather than fact, and then suggesting another (scientifically incomplete) theory.

After rightly mocking Coyne's God-on-the-sidelines, Poulos seems to divide faith from the rational world:

The whole purpose of faith is to structure action in accordance with a belief that stands outside of logic, that is free of logic, that faces tragedy or impossible circumstance and holds its power because it is beyond the "real" world, and functions on a plane in which the material universe is roughly akin to the sonic boom left by an airplane speeding silently two thousand feet ahead.

The bulk of faith, or at least the one I (try to) practice, is inherently rational. St. Thomas Aquinas engaged it as such. Catholic moral teaching is grounded in a systematic, logical philosophy. Faith/morality and logic aren't realms, or even classrooms, to be separated into the humanities and social sciences, faith and reason, or the irrational and rational. When evolution claims to explain the "how" of creation, that is not a question easily contained to biology or the sciences.

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