Thursday 18 August 2005

“Intelligent Design”

Tyler Williams has pointed out this hilarious essay in the latest issue of the satirical magazine The Onion: “Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity with New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory.” This is of course a spoof of all the recent discussion of “Intelligent Design” in the United States.

It seems to me that the new Intelligent Design fad is simply the latest incarnation of the old “God of the gaps” argument. Intelligent Design proponents claim that only an intelligent designer could explain the complexity of various observable systems in the world. Thus “God” is brought in to fill this gap in scientific understanding.

We can be certain of one thing: advances in scientific knowledge will always exorcise any “God of the gaps”—for it is precisely the task of science to eliminate such “gaps” in our understanding of the natural world. And science is well equipped to perform this task. Thus Christians who enthusiastically greet each new scientific “gap” as a new opportunity to secure a place for God are simply setting themselves up for disillusionment, when their God is exorcised yet again—i.e., when he is shown to be only a dispensable God, and therefore only an idol, after all.

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