IN regards to Vatican Letter (“Faith and uncertain science”, CL 19/11/06): This is an interesting discussion on science, knowledge, unknowing and faith.
For the most part, ordinary believers are left to struggle with the secularised worlds of science, media, the entertainment industry and the general culture.
All, in the main, have opted for a secular scientific understanding of life and the world, and are proactive and effective in pushing its perceived advantages over the ancient “unscientific” belief in creation.
Carol Glatz cites Fr Maldame (Dom) who says some intelligent things but causes “much confusion” through lack of homework on the concept of “intelligent design”.
Of course the world is intelligently designed and richly so.
All scientific research proceeds on the basis that any entity under scrutiny will be found to have internal organisation and coherency and will fit coherently into the whole.
The seculars choose to explain these intelligent effects by the random principle, where this organised universe – which by that fact contains the intelligent life – is drawn out of an almost infinite number of disorganised ones.
This is untidy but possible and precludes the mysterious creator, who is for secular scientists an anathema.
All mainline denominations believe in “intelligent design” as does Fr Maldame who proclaims God as creator, but few hold to “creation science” which is the author of the problem Father raises.
I do not condemn creation scientists who have drawn their faith line in the sand, where they oppose the formidable foes of faith listed above.
“Intelligent design” was given impetus in recent times by the brilliant scientist and author Paul Davies.
In his book, The Mind of God (Penguin 1993), Davies cites a number of outstanding scientists who see design in the universe.
For example in the chapter “Designer Universe”, he cites Lawrence Henderson, a biochemist of Harvard, who wrote: “The properties of matter and the course of cosmic evolution are now seen to be intimately related to the structure of living being and to its activities … the biologist may now rightly regard the universe in its very essence as biocentric”.
Davies further cites Henderson as saying that the “fitness of the environment” for life is too great to be accidental.
Our own somnolent Church left Davies’ material on the shelf, not so the creation scientists.
But then, this adoption by these people gave the secular scientists and media (ie ABC TV’s Catalyst) the opportunity to frame “intelligent design” as a creation science product, which nullifies Davies’ work for their audiences.
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