Monthly Archives: May 2014
“Evolution by natural selection is one of the best ideas in all of science. It predicts and explains an incredibly wide range of biological facts.” So says a Wall Street Journal article, which ponders how we can teach children this “fact” and drive out of their little heads the mistaken intuition that biology is the product of design. It claims that so many people reject evolutionary theory simply because they don’t understand it, and suggests that we should remedy this by attempting to “reach children with the right theory before the wrong one is too firmly in place.”
Contrary to popular belief, many in the Intelligent Design community agree that we should teach evolutionary theory. If it is a theory in play within the scientific community, then it deserves to have a hearing. Even if it stopped being “consensus” science, then we should still teach it as a historical artifact, as astronomers do with the Steady State and Oscillating Universe theories. But if we’re going to teach it, then we should teach the whole thing, warts and all.
Provocative statement? Sure. But let me prove to you that it is necessarily true.
I’ve followed astronomy and cosmology for over three decades. In that time I’ve seen many discussions on the origin of the universe and its remarkable design. One of the things that has been increasingly revealed and noticed is that the universe seems to be fine-tuned for the existence of life. Not just “life as we know it,” but any life. In fact, fune-tuned for any complex molecules or objects at all. It has been noted that if any of the forces or constants of physics were tweaked up or down (often in even fractional ways) it would have a dramatic impact on the entire universe. We could get a universe that has no light elements, or one with no heavy elements. We could get one infested with black holes, or one with few stars. We could get one that is filled with nothing but diffuse hydrogen gas, or one that collapsed back upon itself before anything interesting happens.
As you might imagine, there has been quite a bit of reaction to these “anthropic coincidences,” some in book-length treatments(1). What is most interesting is to see what atheists do with this information after admitting it(2). What does one do with the thought that they live in a universe that is so providential? While some choose to offer flippant non-answers, like, “well you wouldn’t be here to observe it if it hadn’t happened,” many others have offered more creative solutions.
Jesus is a real authoritative guy. Apparently, even what He didn’t say carries weight and defines the moral standards for some people. In support of homosexuality, I often hear that “Jesus never spoke against homosexuality.” Let’s assume that those who say this are not just trying to stop the conversation and let’s unpack it.
What’s the argument?
My first thought is, “so what?” What’s really the argument here? Whenever people make general claims like this I think it’s helpful to break it down into what’s know as a syllogism. Since the point of those who use this argument is clearly to affirm homosexuality in some way, then I think the syllogism must be something like the following.
- Anything Jesus did not speak against is morally permissible
- Jesus did not speak against homosexuality
- Therefore, homosexuality is morally permissible