Monday, September 12, 2005

Science Welcome

In my post below, announcing that I will be giving some ID talks this fall at several colleges, Ed Darrell makes two comments. His first is:
Why would you seek out religious groups to discuss "cosmological ID," were there any science in it?
To which I responded:
Why not? You don't [think] religious groups should discuss science?
Ed then replied:
Sure, religious groups occasionally study science -- but I've never seen any group that invited an ID presentation study science. What other science topics have these churches you're visiting studied?

Here in Dallas we have three or four churches that study science from time to time. Those churches are the ones the Discovery Institute avoids like the plague when they come to town.

A science-literate congregation appears to me to be one any advocate of ID avoids. Are there any counter examples?
A couple points to be made here. To begin, I infer that Ed believes all my talks are to Christian organizations on campus. If so, he is wrong.

More importantly, his first comment, if I am parsing it correctly, is meant to imply that there is no science in cosmological ID because, after all, if there were, why would a religious group be interested? This viewpoint is

(a) common, among both secular scientists and Christians, and

(b) patently absurd.

True, scientists and Christians alike profess a tension between science and Christianity. However, such a tension exists only in the minds of foolish men. Science is the study of creation—God's creation. An incompatibility cannot exist between the creator and the created. Christian groups are the most natural place to discuss science, apart (perhaps) from interchanges among scientists.

In Ed's second comment he states that he has never seen a church that invited an ID speaker study science. Ed is asserting his conclusion (ID is not science) in his premise.

He also needs to get out more. While it is true that churches I have spoken in probably don't have a Wednesday night quantum field theory class, while I talk to them about cosmological ID they are, in fact, learning and studying science—hearing and asking about super novae, nuclear chemistry, orbital perturbations, etc. This is independent of whether the ID is science. Taking just one example, the fact that an exploding supernova seeds its neighborhood with the stuff of planets and people most definitely qualifies as science, and it is also a critical fact in any cosmological ID talk.

Ed's point seems to be that if ID is science then why would the churches invite ID speakers, since churches are not in the business of science, ergo ID is not science. That is, in this case, it is convenient for him to trust the church's discernment in not permitting science to darken her doorway. He misses the boat completely. Churches inviting ID speakers is, in truth and rather obviously, irrelevant in the debate over whether or not ID is science. But if you wanted to take it as a sign one way or another, Ed picks the wrong direction. Science and Christianity (as opposed to scientists and Christians) are friends, and friends invite one another into their homes.

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