Intelligent Design

The Center for Science and Culture

Reflections on C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength

Most futuristic novels seem out-of-date after a decade or two, but That Hideous Strength is more timely today than when the book was published in 1945. On the day I began to reread the book for this essay, the press reported that a British government agency called the Human Fertilization and Embryological Authority (HFEA) is sounding out public opinion about Read More ›

Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle on the beach
Designed by Freepik, not featured in original article.

DNA: The Message in the Message

We are so conditioned to expect scientific breakthroughs that exceed our expectations, Barr observed, that we reflexively reject any idea that science has limits. Yet science reveals not only the rich possibilities of nature but also its limitations. To give obvious examples, we know that we will never fulfill the alchemists’ dream of chemically transmuting lead into gold. We know that a parent of one species will never give birth to offspring of another species. Science reveals consistent patterns that allow us to make negative statements about what natural forces cannot do. To persist in seeking natural laws in such cases, Barr suggested, is as irrational as any primitive myth of the thunder gods. Read More ›
ava-w-jBbF2lsAwtI-unsplash
Geyser at Yellowstone
Photo by Ava W at Unsplash

The Origin of Life and the Death of Materialism

Introduction Alfred North Whitehead once said that “when we consider what religion is for mankind and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them.” Whitehead spoke early in this century at a time when most elite intellectuals believed that science Read More ›

crossway-readers-bible-and-commentaries-on-shelves-at-the-seminary-library-of-mt-angel-abbey-in-mt-angel-orhttpswwwcrosswayorgbiblesesv-readers-bible-six-volume-set-cob-stockpack-unsplash.jpg
Crossway Reader's Bible and commentaries on shelves at the seminary library of Mt. Angel Abbey in Mt. Angel, OR.https://www.crossway.org/bibles/esv-readers-bible-six-volume-set-cob/
Licensed from Adobe Stock

What Every Theologian Should Know about Creation, Evolution, and Design

Introduction From its inception Darwinism posed a challenge to Christian theology. Darwinism threatened to undo the Church’s understanding of creation, and therewith her understanding of the origin of human life. Nor did the challenge of Darwinism stop here. With human beings the result of a brutal, competitive process that systematically rooted out the weak and favored only the strong (we Read More ›

Monkeying With Science Education

The “Monkey Bill” now before the Tennessee Legislature is a bad means to a good end. The good end is to teach students the fascinating process by which scientific theories come to be established as “facts.” Scientific theories in general and Darwin’s in particular are human interpretations of nature which come to be accepted because they are persuasive. The public Read More ›

Darwins-Black-Box

Darwin’s Black Box

In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe argues that evidence of evolution’s limits has been right under our noses, but its undoing is evident at such a small scale that we have only recently been able to see it. The field of biochemistry, begun when Watson and Crick discovered the double-helical shape of DNA, has unlocked the secrets of the cell. There, biochemists have unexpectedly discovered a world of Lilliputian complexity. As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, bloodclotting, cellular transport, and more, the biochemical world comprises an arsenal of chemical machines, made up of finely calibrated, interdependent parts. For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that led to the complexity we can now see. The more complex and interdependent each machine’s parts are shown to be, the harder it is to defend Darwin’s gradualistic paths. Behe surveys the professional science literature and shows that it is completely silent on the subject, stymied by the elegance of the foundation of life. Could it be that there is some greater force at work?

Read More ›

Alchemy, NK Boolean Style

There’s an old joke about the philosopher Rudolf Carnap and his method of doing philosophy. According to the joke, Carnap’s method was to begin any philosophical investigation with the statement “Consider a formal language L.” As the good logical positivist he was, Carnap desired the precision inherent in formal languages. Unfortunately, precision has its price. Formal languages are not natural languages and the problems expressible in formal languages need not connect to actual problems in the real world. With formal languages the question ever remains whether they adequately capture the subject under investigation.

Appropriately modified, the joke about Rudolf Carnap can be retold about Stuart Kauffman and the scientific method he employs in At Home in the Universe. According to the modified joke, Kauffman’s method is to begin any scientific investigation with the statement “Consider an NK Boolean network.” Indeed, throughout At Home in the Universe just about every real-world problem gets translated into a toy-world problem involving NK Boolean networks. As with Carnap’s formal languages, NK Boolean networks have the advantage of complete logical precision. But they also suffer the disadvantage of losing touch with reality. And it is this disadvantage which ultimately proves the undoing of Kauffman’s project.

Read More ›

Politically Dead Wrong

Review of What is Darwinism? And Other Writings on Science and ReligionCharles Hodge, Edited and with an introduction by Mark A. Knoll & David N. LivingstoneGrand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994. 182 pp. The central administration building at Princeton Theological Seminary is Hodge Hall, named after the most prominent and respected Presbyterian theologian in mid-nineteenth-century America. Charles Hodge taught theology Read More ›

Literature Survey March 1996

Charles Darwin on Social Darwinism Richard Weikart, “A Recently Discovered Darwin Letter on Social Darwinism,” Isis 86 (1995): 609-611. For many decades, historians have debated whether Darwin was himself a social Darwinist, i.e., someone who believed that human beings were and should be subject to the same competitive forces acting on all other living things. The debate is sharpened by Read More ›