Paul Dean

Intelligent Design as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution has been much in the news lately.1 The issue even got a nod on a recent episode of Boston Legal while a PBS station cancelled a planned documentary on the subject. A school district in Dover, Pa. became the first in the nation to mention to their biology students that such a "theory" exists in contrast to the theory of evolution.2 The mention was in the form of a short statement read at the beginning of the term simply affirming that both theories are just that: theories. Of course, the ACLU has designs on blocking the new policy. The assistant superintendent read the statement when teachers refused to do so. Students were allowed to stand in the hall during the reading but only fifteen out of one-hundred seventy took that option.

A number of issues are raised in this debate. They may be framed in the form of questions: what about the difference between science and religion? What about religion being taught in school? What about the separation of church and state? These questions are answered easily from an informed and balanced Christian worldview.

First, we must raise the question as to whether or not the theory of evolution is a legitimate, experimental science, or a faith commitment to a particular worldview and set of values. Let's consider just a few things about the so-called science of evolution.3 Regarding the scientific validity of evolution, Dr. Lee Spetner (internationally renowned scientist from Johns Hopkins University) has this to say: "I have shown in my book that the broad sweep of evolution cannot be based on random mutations. I have shown it on both theoretical and experimental grounds. On theoretical grounds, I have shown that the probability is just too small for random mutations to lead to a new species. On experimental grounds, I have shown that there are no known random mutations that have added any genetic information to the organism. I go through a list of the best examples of mutations offered by evolutionists and show that each of them loses genetic information rather than gains it. One of the examples that where information is lost is the one often trotted out by evolutionists nowadays in an attempt to convince the public of the truth of evolution. That is the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics (author's comments,, regarding his acclaimed book Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory about Evolution)."

Understand that biblical creation scientists recognize that horizontal change can occur within a species/genus/kind such as frogs of different size, color, and shape. At the same time, the breeding of dogs can produce horizontal change on the same order. Microevolution of this kind is not in question. However, macroevolution, or frogs becoming dogs, is impossible because the genetic information in each species' gene pool is fixed and can never increase by mutation. A mutation is a loss of genetic information, not a gain. Even bacterial and viral changes in DNA/RNA are not macroevolution as no new information is added. Information is only lost and new creatures cannot be produced.

In order for an endeavor to be called a science it must involve at least three dynamics. One must be able to experimentally manipulate variables, observe the experiment along with its results, and repeat the experiment so that consistent results are produced or not, so that the original hypothesis can be verified or falsified. For example, scientists can verify the cause of diabetes through the scientific method. In contrast, the Evolutionists' attempt to explain the origin of the universe and life itself cannot proceed on scientific ground. The study of origins is not experimental science but history.

Thus, their endeavors should more rightly be called history, or perhaps faith. Consider the definition of faith in Heb. 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the substance of things hoped for but not experimentally controllable or repeatable. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, that is, not scientifically observable. As the Christian would affirm that "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Heb. 11:3)," the evolutionist must affirm in his words "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by something other than God so that the things which are seen were made through an evolutionary process."

What does this discussion have to do with the debate concerning Intelligent Design vs. Evolution being taught in the schools? The ACLU along with "Americans United for Separation of Church and State" filed a lawsuit arguing that Intelligent Design theory is inherently religious. We agree. But, the point here is that both theories, Intelligent Design and Evolution, are inherently religious as both spring from faith commitments. The argument that Evolution is science and should therefore be taught in the schools and Intelligent Design is religion and therefore should not be taught in the schools is simply not true. The argument fails. If so, then either both or neither are legitimate subjects for the public school system. We would thus affirm (except for the term science) Richard Thompson's statement: "Biology students in this small town received perhaps the most balanced science education regarding Darwin's theory of evolution than any other public school student in the nation (Thompson is the president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm representing the school district against the ACLU lawsuit). He went on to say "this is not a case of science versus religion, but science versus science, with credible scientists now determining that based upon scientific data, the theory of evolution cannot explain the complexity of living cells." Again, he is right on target (with the exception that we might say religion vs. religion).

[Tomorrow, Part Two of Intelligent Design, Science, and Religious Freedom]

[1][1]  Information regarding news obtained from WorldNetDaily.

[2][2] We use the term theory in two senses throughout this article. First, the Theory of Intelligent Design is a technical theory and not to be confused with Biblical Creationism. Second, we will use the word theory with reference to Biblical Creationism not because we do not affirm the Bible as absolute truth. We do and we affirm a literal six day creation by God as given to us in Genesis 1. We simply use the term loosely as Christianity is not an experimental science but a faith commitment to a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

[3][3] Information regarding science obtained from