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Transcript
Evolution and Intelligent Design
in the age of faith and reason
Is there an Islamic perspective?
Imran Nasrullah, Esq.
Background
• Several school districts across the country have enacted
•
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local measures to place Intelligent Design into the school
curriculum along with Evolution as a viable alternative to
Evolution.
Other measures required a disclaimer to be placed in
school science books stating that Evolution was a theory
with unexplainable gaps, and that other explanations,
i.e. Intelligent Design should be taught.
Part of a concerted effort between Christian
conservatives and Intelligent Design proponents
Set up battle lines between secularists/atheists and
religious conservatives
Background
• Christian conservatives view Darwinism and
•
•
•
Evolution as an atheistic domination over
American culture
Intelligent Design appears to be gathering
momentum even among non-Christian
conservatives
Battle line now seems between people of faith
versus secularists/atheists
Secularists claiming that Evolution and the
Science obviate the need for God
The culture war
• Christian conservatives (primarily) have
come to see Evolution as a threat to their
religious beliefs
• Take over of the education system by
atheists
• Devolution of American culture by
Godlessness
The culture war
• Evolution has been claimed by Atheists/Secularists
• Evolution obviates the need for God because it
•
demonstrates that life and species arise without divine
will
Science is increasingly perceived as a threat to faith.
– Evolution is considered one of the cornerstones of modern
science
• Conservatives are attempting to bring faith-based Cause
into science class
– Allegedly through Intelligent Design
• Alternative to Evolution
– As a counter to efforts by Atheists/Secularists
Darwin’s discovery
• Darwin himself was reluctant to publish his findings because the current climate of
religious orthodoxy.
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Aware of the religious implications of his theoryatural selection can be expressed as the
following general law (taken from the conclusion of The Origin of Species):
If there are organisms that reproduce, and
If offspring inherit traits from their parents(s), and
If there is variability of traits, and
If the environment limits the size of natural populations,
Then those members of the population with maladaptive traits (as determined by the
environment) will die out or reproduce less, and
Then those members with adaptive traits (as determined by the environment) will survive to
reproduction or reproduce more
The result is the evolutionary change of populations and eventually of species.
• He waited until he was 50, happily married, and settled before publishing
• Darwin would have been branded a blasphemer, and sedition
• Darwin, himself, was religious and believed in God (early career was seminary school)
and thought Evolution as another example of God’s handiwork
Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection
• Darwin's theory of evolution has four main parts:
– Organisms have changed over time, and the ones living today are
different from those that lived in the past. The world is not constant,
but changing.
– All organisms are derived from common ancestors by a process of
branching. Over time, populations split into different species, which are
related because they are descended from a common ancestor. It also
explained why similar species tended to occur in the same geographic
region.
– Change is gradual and slow, taking place over a long time. This was
supported by the fossil record, and was consistent with the fact that no
naturalist had observed the sudden appearance of a new species.
• This is now contested by a view of episodes of rapid change and long
periods of stasis, known as punctuated equilibrium.
• The mechanism of evolutionary change was natural selection.
Natural selection
• Natural selection can be expressed as the following
general law (taken from the conclusion of The Origin of
Species):
–
–
–
–
offspring inherit traits from their parents(s), and
If there is variability of traits, and
If the environment limits the size of natural populations,
Then those members of the population with maladaptive traits
(as determined by the environment) will die out or reproduce
less, and
– Then those members with adaptive traits (as determined by the
environment) will survive to reproduction or reproduce more
• The result is the evolutionary change of populations and
eventually of species.
What is science (methodology)
• A methodology by which observation of natural phenomenon posits a hypothesis- a
theory of explanation regarding the phenomenon- which in turn is tested against
controlled observation.
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The failure of the controlled observation to support the hypothesis renders the hypothesis
untenable.
Controlled observation must be measurable and observable
Testing of the hypothesis must be repeatable and reproducible by others
• Iterative process of inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning
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Inductiion: the attempt to create some general principle –from some observations-which
both describes what happened and, more importantly, explains why it happenedHypothesis
Deduction: From the general principle which putatively describes accurately and explains
the observed phenomenon, to testing of hypothesis to assess its validity by predicting
outcomes. This is accomplished by creating predictions - these are phrased as statement in
the form "if principle P is true, then event E should occur or fact F should be true."
• Testing:
Once we have predictions, it is time to go out and actually see what we find by collecting more
observations. We try to determine if some fact (F) is already true about the world or if some event (E)
occurs or can be caused to occur.
• Accumulated body of knowledge of the observable world (physical reality) obtained
through the systematic pursuit of observation, hypothesis, prediction, and testing
Intelligent Design
• Irreducible Complexity
– The notion that certain biological systems/organs
cannot be reduced any further without compromising
their innate function.
– Therefore, how could the system/organ evolve into its
present form since certain basic components, unless
“installed” simultaneously, are absent or in a deficient
state
– The conclusion: there must be an intelligent designer
• Finding a watch on the beach
• Flagella on a bacteria
• The optical system of the eye
Irreducible Complexity
What happens
when you
remove a
component?
Can this arise
through
evolutionary
means?
Paradigm shift
•A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when
scientists encounter anomalies which cannot be explained
by the universally accepted paradigm within which
scientific progress has thereto been made. The paradigm,
in Kuhn's view, is not simply the current theory, but the
entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the
implications which come with it.
•When enough significant anomalies have accrued against
a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into
a state of crisis… Eventually a new paradigm is formed,
which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual
"battle" takes place between the followers of the new
paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm .
-Kuhn
Kuhn used the duck-rabbit
optical illusion to
demonstrate the way in
which a paradigm shift
could cause one to see the
same information in an
entirely different way.
Paradigm shifts
• “…a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making
them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new
generation grows up that is familiar with it." – Max Planck
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Newtonian physics to relativistic physics
Maxwell’s theory of aether to Einstein’s universe (spacetime)
• Science is a human endeavor and therefore susceptible to human biases, prejudices,
and politics
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Science seems susceptible to dogma, just like religion…
“"microevolution," the ability of species to adapt to changing conditions in their environment.
But he holds to the opinion that science has not convincingly shown that one species can
evolve into another…I think there's a lot of problems with evolutionary dogma." -Dr. Gregory
J. Brewer
• Intelligent Design could be another reconciliation between Ultimate Reality and
physical reality
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If only the secularists and ID could stop talking past each other
• Are other advances in science, mathematics, and cosmology suggesting additional
mechanisms at work besides Evolution
The role of faith in religion and
science
• Does Evolution necessarily obviate
religion?
• Does religion necessarily exclude
Evolution?
Evolution is a natural law and thus one of the
laws God and His creation
Interpretation
Darwinian fundamentalists (secularists primarily)
and religious fundamentalists
Faith
• Much of science is taken on speculation and
faith despite the lack of data, observation, etc.
– Many worlds hypothesis/multiverse
– Universe is part of a “foam” of other universes
• Having the right conditions for life are
Cosmologically remote, and yet we are willing to
believe in those odds; on the other hand, belief
in God is considered to be putting faith in the
improbable
In the News
December 21, 2005
Judge Rejects Teaching Intelligent Design
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 20 - A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present
intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology courses because it is a religious viewpoint that advances "a particular
version of Christianity."
Eleven parents in Dover, a growing suburb about 20 miles south of Harrisburg, sued their school board a year ago after it voted to have
teachers read students a brief statement introducing intelligent design in ninth-grade biology class…The statement said that there were "gaps
in the theory" of evolution and that intelligent design was another explanation they should examine.
-New York Times
February 15, 2006
Ohio Board Undoes Stand on Evolution
By JODI RUDOREN
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 14 — The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 Tuesday to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology
classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its
second serious defeat in two months. The board… stripped the language from the curriculum partly out of fear of a lawsuit in the wake
of a December ruling by a federal judge that teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., public schools was unconstitutional.
Darwin's defenders celebrated the reversal as a sign of a backlash against the inroads made last year by critics of evolution. But leaders
of the Discovery Institute, the intellectual home of intelligent design, warned that Ohio's move would create a backlash of its own.
"The effort to try to suppress ideas that you dislike, to use the government to suppress ideas you dislike, has a failed history," Mr. West
said. "Do they really want to be on the side of the people who didn't want to let John Scopes talk or who tried to censor Galileo?“
-New York Times