Friday, May 30, 2008

ID Theory

A major criticism of Intelligent Design Theory (ID) is that it is not science. One prominent Catholic who has been vocal on that account is George Coyne, former Director of the Vatican Observatory. He wrote an article in response to Christoph Cardinal Schönborn's July 7, 2005 letter, "Finding Design in Nature," in the New York Times. The Cardinal wrote about design and randomness as it relates to science and religion. I'll get to that letter eventually, but I want to make another point here.

Coyne says in The Tablet, Aug. 6, 2005, "It is unfortunate that creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis." (I think it's important for Catholics to not alienate fundamentalists, but that is also another subject). The statement highlights the problem of understanding Intelligent Design Theory. It is different from Biblical literalism and fundamentalist doctrine. Most ID advocates believe the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, in contrast to Young Earth Creationists who think God created the Earth in 6 24-hour days about 10-14 thousand years ago. ID scientists use modern scientific facts to analyze nature. They see the types of things I've been posting on this blog--a phenomenal complexity in living organisms.

Another problem is highlighted in this quote:

Information storage and transmittal is very similar in non-living and living systems. Life began on earth, which formed about 4.5x1 billion years ago within about the first 400 million years, a relatively rapid transition to life. In fact, the search for life's origins may be in vain. There may be no clear origin, no clear threshold as seen by science, between the non-living and living.

I'm not sure what kind of information transmittal of non-living systems he means. The planets are made of elements which can combine and transfer energy, presumably in a random way following laws of physics and chemistry. But "random" is not what we see in biological information stored in DNA. If he speaks of digital types of information storage when he talks about the differences between non-living systems and living, such as computer storage and electronic information transmittal, these are based on physical components and laws but are manipulated by humans for their information content and transmission. There may be natural non-living formations of crystals in minerals and we may get amino acids from lightning, but the claim that there is no clear difference between non-living and living is in my opinion a stretch to put it mildly. I hope this difference which so many take lightly, along with the fact that Intelligent Design Theory is intimately connected with actual science, is becoming clear from this blog.

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I'll probably be repetitive on some subjects--please bear with me. Repitition helps you learn, right? But I'll try not to forget what I've written altogether and present something as a brand new subject when I've done it before! I'd like to post 2 entries per week, but I'm not promising anything. My husband has a local history website which he updates once a week. I'm not getting much done with the mystery book I'm working on and need to get that into my schedule. I've enjoyed my blog so far very much. I thought about doing it for a while and am glad I started. Thanks for joining me!

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