Thursday, August 25, 2005

Intelligent Design vs Evolution

Can you be a scientist and believe in a creator God? Well, obviously yes. I do, and I know many others who do too.

The funny thing is that both sides in the latest science vs. religion debate seem to say "no".

The Intelligent Design (ID) camp essentially claim that all science is atheistic at heart (despite trying to take evolution on in the scientific arena) and some of the science camp are claiming that if there is a creator then all scientific endevour is fundamentally pointless.

Of course, there's (unstated) assumptions on both sides which invalidate both arguements (in my opinion).

The atheistic/science camp seem to make a lot of assumptions along the lines of "if there is a creator/god then he must be like..." [insert stereotype deity here]. What they end up saying is that science and a belief in their misconception of God are incompatible, which may be true. But doesn't say anything about whether real science is incompatible with the real God.

The other side in the debate has unstated assumptions about what science actually is. As far as I can see, the ID camp have a definite agenda to undermine certain bits of 'science' whilst totally avoiding others. But I won't go into this too much as it is all said elsewhere - see one of the issues of New Scientist magazine last month (July 2005).

So how can I, a scientist and a Christian, reconcile the two apparently incompatible world views? Well, its easy really: my experience of life has lead me to the absolute conviction that God exists and that he interacts with His people and His creation. My experirence of His creation is that it works according to certain testable and repeatable 'laws' which science is able to determine.

Science tells us how the world works. Sometimes it gets it wrong of course, but we eventually get it right. Science does not generally tell us why the world works in the way it does. Then again, Christianity frequently doesn't tell us that either - but it does tell of the person behind the 'why'. And you can experience that person for yourself.


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