THE VALUE OF DEBATE BETWEEN THEOCRATS AND ATHEISTS
Is intelligent design—a theory that posits that all organic and inorganic matter was created by an intelligent entity—more believable than Darwin’s theory that it was created by mutation and natural selection? Is intelligent design’s weakness only that it is non-falsifiable? That is, since there is no strong evidence to falsify the belief that an intelligent entity created the world and all that is in it, isn’t it a reasonable alternative to evolution?
Kenneth R. Miller in “Finding Darwin’s God” contends compellingly therein with the questions and beliefs of intelligent designers. A pre-eminent designer is Phillip Johnson, a law professor, who in his book “Darwin on Trial” poses a question designed to cast doubt on evolution: “Can something be non-science, but true, or does non-science mean non-sense? Given the emphatic endorsement of naturalistic evolution by the scientific community, can outsiders even contemplate the possibility that this officially established doctrine might be false?”
Miller, an eminent evolutionist, responds: “The matter is that, if Johnson is right, then we should apply the explanation of design to every event in the natural history of the planet. It’s not logically tenable to allow that evolution could have produced some species but not others; therefore, the explanation of design must be invoked for the origin of every species. The modern advocates of this idea seem to have forgotten that at one time that is exactly what biologist did. Until, of course, it became impossible to take seriously.”
It is impossible to take seriously on common sense premises that some omnipotent intelligent entity residing somewhere in the universe with a cosmic and infinite view decided some four billion years ago to create an earth— a speck in an infinite spectrum—to ignite a spark thereon and in a frenetically busy workshop begin and continue for the next four billion years to hammer out an incalculable number of species on a divine anvil.
Here was an entity with the power to populate earth at once with every species conceivable with the wave of a wand, as the creationists believe, but who chose, as the designers believe, to expend inconceivable labors and geological ages creating and discarding and creating and discarding, ad infinitum, species, upon species, upon species. Until, finally, creating mankind, the apple of its eye, in which it deposited a spirit that would endure eternally in paradise or in inferno depending upon mankind’s use of free will. Common sense is sufficient evidence to refute the theory of intelligent design. But there is an abundance of convincing evidence in Miller’s book that intelligent design is falsifiable and false.
Theocrats contend that once one becomes an atheist and does not believe in a heaven or a hell, he exists then without moral compunctions or guidance and becomes a sociopath that will sin and commit crimes without scruples and who will be inhibited from evil doing only by the threat of apprehension and punishment. The crimes of believers subvert this contention.
Unbelievers maintain that the basis of all morality is conscience—that entity that evolved through mutation and natural selection. Conscience is the cohesion of community. Empathy and sympathy are the father and mother of mankind’s concern for mankind and the parents of ethics, equity, and compassion, all of which mental entities evolved as did all else. Mother love is ubiquitous among species.
Free will is the virgin that births immaculately accountability, the cross upon which the fortunate crucify the unfortunate owing to the latter’s choosing not to be as prudent and provident as the former. The priests of accountability bed with simplism and obtuseness and thus are unaware of the effects of circumstances and the determinisms of nature and nurture. The successful attribute their success to their free choices and they attribute the failures of the poor to their freely made bad choices. The former never consider free will’s limits and chains resulting from the genes of their parents, from their place and time of birth, their anatomy, physique, race, color, sex, luck, fate and countless other determinations running back to the very advent of life. Humans act and believe they do it freely, but, in fact, every act is the son or daughter of historical parents whose ancestry runneth to the very beginning of time.
Here is the provocation for the above and what follows: “Like our kinship to other species or Copernican solar system, it changes nothing in the world where the sun still ‘rises,’ we generally do ‘the right thing’ for good reasons, and relatively few people act like monkeys. Trying to settle these ‘issues’ in a newspaper is a sterile, politically divisive distraction from the reality we share.”
One could expend a seashore of words refuting that people generally do the right thing for good reasons, that few act like monkeys and that it is sterile and a distraction from reality to try to settle free will and other illusions in a newspaper. The author would leave undisturbed the concepts that the world is flat and the earth is the center of the universe and call it reality
E. Housman, English scholar, poet and atheist, had this to say regarding leaving illusions and delusions alone: “The house of delusions is cheap to build, but it is droughty to live in, and ready at an instant to fall; and it is surely truer prudence to move our furniture into the open air.” An admirer of Housman commented: “Housman preferred the spacious abode of science to the ramshackle dwelling of metaphysics and mysticism.”
Any society whose cornerstones and keystones are illusions and delusions will ever be in a state of conflict between a majority that are comfortable in the belief of a flat earth and a minority that believe the earth revolves and the sun does not rise. Educating the masses is the primary hope of mankind. Even in newspapers.