Saturday, November 22, 2008


Iced Dice

David White has an interesting take on Intelligent Design Creationism from a theist's viewpoint:

[C]reationism's familiar yet totally unscriptural chimera of "accidental evolution" now lives on as the centerpiece and all-around bogeyman of intelligent design. ...

What proponents of so-called intelligent design have cynically omitted in their polemic is that according to Biblical tradition, chance has always been considered God's choice as well.

When Joshua divided the newly won Promised Land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, it was done as had been specifically commanded by God through the casting of other words, by a roll of the dice. In Acts of the Apostles, the remaining apostles chose between two proposed replacements for Judas by casting lots, clearly understood as a solemn appeal for God's own choice. The Bible abounds with similar examples. ...

Astonishing as it may seem, the stigmatization of chance as the lynchpin both of creationism and intelligent design is not only a totally unscriptural position, but it is borrowed from the atheist viewpoint. You may not ever hear this preached, but for the Bible believer, God can roll the dice infinitely and win at every turn. Much as I cringe at feeling compelled to disagree with Albert Einstein, I have to consider, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, that perhaps God does play at dice with the universe, but only with those ontologically loaded dice. ...

Accordingly, the rejection of biological evolution based essentially on the part played by chance, which appears to have become the sum and substance of intelligent design, is in fact a rhetorical chimera, an unworthy trick from those who should know better and probably hope that no one, not even their "designer," is able to catch them at it. The intelligent design movement has become an unabashedly transparent fig leaf for the urge to insert sectarian creationism into every science curriculum and text. Can any believer truly honor God with such dissimulation?

Instead of arguing disingenuously on behalf of faith that blind chance alone cannot produce such levels of order as science reveals, why don't creationists and their heirs simply state that on scriptural grounds they believe God's hand orders all chance and be done with it? That would certainly put God squarely into the picture for any who choose to agree and would obviate the need to torture science in order to prove anything at all. Simply stated, as with any casino, the house always wins. ...

We're surely overdue for a Sic et Non examination of this dicey and irreductible contradiction in the creationist viewpoint, which tirelessly propels the flagellum of intelligent design as well. I will leave it to the reader to decide to what extent the aggressive promulgation of sectarian religion in science education has helped stoke the greatest blacklash against faith in anyone's recollection.

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