Re: [xmca] Intelligent Design decision

Date: Fri Jan 06 2006 - 14:47:34 PST

Hi Mike,
Thanks for your very informed comments. I think it important to add that
the approach to and conclusions drawn on the nature of creation and where
evolutionary theory fits (and doesn't) within traditional doctrine varies widely
within both the Jewish and Christian philosophical communities. An
interesting cross-section of opinions and a great resource for me has been Evolution
and Faith, edited by Bas van Iersel, Christoph Theobald and Herman Haring,
published as part of the Concilium series, 2000/1, SCM Press, London. A growing
number of theologians are coming to the conclusion that religious faith is not
meaningful if it is not intimately connected with reality and that science
is providing the opportunity for the grounding of religious faith in an
understanding of the way things really are. Not only is evolutionary theory
compatible with new testament accounts of creation (according to many theologians),
but it goes a long way in explaining some of he more mysterious passages,
like those insisting that God has made us partners in creation. While
scientists are even more reluctant to be open-minded than many theologians, religion
might help explain some of evolution's puzzles. If it is true that all
that we've evolved to be bears a relationship of fit with the environment, how
does evolutionary theory explain the human brain's insatiable hunger for
answers, its aptitude for rational thought, its inclination toward religious
sensibilities, or its capacity for compassion? Isn't it just possible (and
worthy of serious consideration and investigation) that we are evolving towards a
closer fit with an absolute truth, a universal intelligence, a spiritual
world, or a benevolent presence? I happen to believe that scientific facts and
religious insights comprise two different levels of understanding the meaning
of life and that both are necessary if we are to come to a better
understanding and appreciation of the world we live in. So very sorry if this sounds
preachy. I have many conflicting ideas about how this should be approached
critically and respectfully in our schools and it helps me to think out loud
sometimes. Depending on what I read or who I talk to this evening, I may have
a radically different point of view tomorrow!
Peace, Deb
In a message dated 1/5/2006 2:20:37 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

A few points for anyone following this thread...

Firstly, I would like to outline some of the key reasons that 'literalist
bible believing Christians' oppose any other explanation about creation than
that in Genesis.
1. Soteriological implications. In other words, if Genesis is incorrect,
there is no accounting for sin and the resultant curse that befell humankind. As
Paul states in Romans 5, there is a direct relationship between what Christ
accomplishes for those who are 'saved' and between the fallout for the rest
of humankind as a result of what Adam did. No literal 'original sin', no
literal 'saving grace'.
2. The dignity and infalibility of Christ, held very dear by 'literalist
bible believing Christians', is clearly called into question if we assert that
Genesis as literal history is incorrect since Christ refers to it as being
dependable. What else that Christ said can be relied upon if he was wrong about
that? After all, these Christians assert, he was involved in creating and so
was around to observe it!

Creationists critiques of science need to be met with scientific arguements
and as such they could easilly fall within a science class's jurisdiction.
For example, evolution as natural selection is observable and anyone who denies
that might as well deny their own nose. Creationists, or anyone else, should
have no problem with this being taught as scientific fact along with gravity
and the rest. However, evolution as 'molecules to humans' [ie. part of "the
creationist's quest for inconstancies in gene theory"] cannot be so easilly
demonstrated and the public are often treated to what would elsewhere be
considered quite fanciful accounts of how specific organs developed over time (so
slow you cant see it) or instantly (so quick you missed it). Proponents of
'molecules to humans' evolution have, to many creationist's minds, yet to
explain how new genetic information is successfully introduced by mutations that
in any case leave the resultant organism sterile. I realise that this is not
at all the place for a right old-chestnut whambang to-and-fro about
creation/evolution and I hope this post does not spark anything like that off. My
intention is to help people appreciate some of the finer points of the arguements

On the broader educational issue, I absolutely agree that we need to teach
our children to think critically, about their own as well as other's beliefs -
 including challenging scientific orthodoxy which many a creationist has done
 over the last century - indeed they will have been bettered for the
experience. I used to teach Religious Education (compulsory subject here in the UK)
and the current phenomenological approach to teaching this subject lacked
teeth - trying to take a 'liberal framework to non-liberal world views' (Andrew
Wright, 1993, Religious Education in the Secondary School: Prospects for
Religious Literacy) - arguing over 'truth claims' was seen as counter to the
doctrines of tolerance and ambiguity. Thus students sort of knew what a diva lamp
looked like, perhaps knew that the cross was something Christians thought
important, but all of this was shallow titilation when the key questions as to
the 'meaning and truth' of these are squeezed too thinly or not addressed at

Best wishes,


(thoughts and comments welcomed off-board if you are reluctant to perpetuate
this direction of this thread - )

Mike Johnson
Lecturer  Information Management and Teaching
School of Nursing and Midwifery  Studies
Wales College of Medicine, Biology, Life and Health  Sciences
Cardiff University
2:16 Ty Dewi Sant
Heath  Park
CF14 4XN

Tel. 029 20743208 Mobile: 07950 030106

'The range of capacities that technologies have are constituted finally when they are mobilised in use'

Jones, C. (2002) Is there a policy for networked learning? In Networked Learning 2002 Eds S. Banks, Goodyear, P, Hodgson, V and McConnell, M. Sheffield: Lancaster University and Sheffield University 175-182. Available online at: http://www.she

>>> 30/12/2005 19:02:07 >>> I guess I think much of the energy spent on this debate would be better directed at teaching our children to think critically. History tells us that a good portion of even the most scientific theories will be undermined by new methods and discoveries. While this issue taps into emotion more than most, bringing creationism into the science classroom exposes it to scrutiny that it might otherwise escape. Why are we unwilling to directly approach this with our students? Those (like me) who were raised on a diet of fundamental Christianity would be forced to face the fact that our God works through evolutionary processes - and that this does not run contrary to Christian doctrine.


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