Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Intelligent Design and Las Vegas

Also creating some static both on the media air-waves and on Christian blog sites is the debate about intelligent design. The state of Kansas for instance is embroiled in a debate about teaching evolution in public schools. Recently they voted to add Intelligent Design to the school curriculum. I have studied some intelligent design although I do not propose to be an expert. My reading of Dembski's work with intelligent design is that he is attempting to address certain failings in traditional evolutionary theory. In my reading Dembski is not a creationist. I have never read any of his work that espoused the idea that the universe was created in six literal days, that called into question the fossil record, or any of the other creationist arguments against evolutionary theory. I still remain a bit puzzled as to why the evangelical church is so excited by dembski since he does not appear to be a biblical literalist. I am also puzzled by scientists who seem so bothered by the idea of intelligent design since I do not find Dembski's work to be a rejection of evolutionary theory, but a reworking of legitimate issues.

In a recent radio program (that I cannot now recall the name of) a doctor was asked about his view of the creation v. Evolution debate in Georgia. His response was that Intelligent Design needed to be included in school curriculum because if God is taken completely out of society, we will have nothing but chaos. Now this is an interesting argument. He does not support Intelligent Design on the merits of its own arguments, but instead as a symbol of national piety. God will bless us with peace if we utter God's name in school. That is what I heard. I was reminded of Isaiah chapter 1 where God rejects the prayers (God-talk) of the people because the words are not backed up by actions. It seems to me that all this God-talk that the evangelical church is involved in with Intelligent Design is equally empty. Why would God care that God is mentioned in science class, (or a school prayer) when the actions of the people (greed, violence, racism) do not reflect God's way of being or acting in this world.
For instance, take recent legislation in Las Vegas that makes it illegal to feed the hungry homeless. Apparently local leaders feel that feeding the hungry causes the homeless to congregate in public areas, like parks. This is not good for tourism. People might have to deal with the moral qualms of wasting thousands of dollars in casinos while people go hungry across the street. Not only do we live in a culture that is so enamored of pleasure at any cost to the point where we waste millions of dollars in casinos, in strip clubs, and on cars, boats, homes, that we really do not need; we create legislation that punishes the poorest of the poor so that we can continue to waste millions of dollars 'for fun.'
Matt 19:21-24; Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Personally I do hope that God is assuaged by something as pointless and empty as a mention is Science class. That is a lot easier to fight for than to engage in the painful personal battle of spending less, giving more, and getting close to the sick, hungry, mentally ill and homeless. And it is a lot easier to rail against the godless atheistic evolutionists than to rail against $500,000 dollar homes, $65,000 SUVs, and all the other expensive stuff that keeps us happy.

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