Gallup recently asked America about evolution. Here’s one question:
“Just your opinion, do you think that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is: a scientific theory that has been well-supported by evidence, just one of many theories and one that has not been well-supported by evidence, or don’t you know enough about it to say?”
Here are the results:
A scientific theory well-supported by evidence: 35%
Just one of many theories and one that has not been well-supported by evidence: 35%
Don’t know enough about it to say: 29%
Answering a different question, a full 45% chose the answer that “God created humans as they are 10,000 years ago” over “Humans developed, but God guided the process” or “Humans developed, God had no part.” This makes me seriously wonder if it can really be true that 45% of Americans would not take their children to one of those most notorious repositories of lies: a museum of natural science.
And if I may venture astray from the regular fare here at Angry Bear, there is one question to which I’ve long desired a good anwer. The fundamental premise of Intelligent Design seems to be that complexity is evidence of design, and that design naturally implies a designer, or God. In that, it seems little more than a modern recasting of Aquinas’ 13th century argument:
“It is clear that there are in this world things which are moved. Now, every object which is moved receives that movement from another. If the motor is itself moved, there must be another motor moving it, and after that yet another, and so on. But it is impossible to go on indefinitely, for then there would be no first motor at all, and consequently no movement.”
This is not, of course, a real proof: arguing that all design requires a first-designer is circular, for by its own logic, it means the first-designer must in turn have a designer, which must also have a designer, and so on ad infinitum. Sure, this is an argument many a college student has made or encountered in a coffee shop or late night discussion. But just because it’s an old and not particularly sophisticated point does not mean it lacks merit, and I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer to this issue from those who — like members of the Intelligent Design movement — posit arguments from complexity for the existence of God.
P.S. I’m a godless liberal, so take this with a grain of salt if you wish, but I’ve always found Kierkegaard’s argument in Fear and Trembling to be the most compelling: the fundamental ingredient of faith is faith itself. If proof of God is either available or required for belief, then that is not faith.
Would it not be better to stop with faith, and is it not revolting that everybody wants to go further? When in our age (as indeed is proclaimed in various ways) they will not stop with love, where then are they going? To earthy wisdom, to petty calculation, to paltriness and wretchedness, to everything which can make man’s divine origin doubtful. Would it not be better that they should stand still at faith, and that he who stands should take heed lest he fall? For the movements of faith must constantly be made by virtue of the absurd, yet in such a way, be it observed, that one does not lose the finite but gains it every inch … I make the movements of infinity, whereas faith does the opposite: after having made the movements of infinity, it makes those of finiteness. Hail to him who can make those movements, he performs the marvellous, and I shall never grow tired of admiring him, whether he be Abraham or a slave in Abraham’s house; whether he be a professor of philosophy or a servant-girl, I look only at the movements. But at them I do look, and do not let myself be fooled, either by myself or by any other man. The knights of the infinite resignation are easily recognized: their gait is gliding and assured. Those on the other hand who carry the jewel of faith are likely to be delusive, because their outward appearance bears a striking resemblance to that which both the infinite resignation and faith profoundly despise … to Philistinism.