One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest
(14 February 2005)
The ACLU is currently fighting efforts in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to require teaching Intelligent Design, along with evolution, in public schools. It is, they say, a thinly veiled attempt to promote religion in the classroom. An attempt which, the ACLU claims, represents an unconstitutional establishment of Christianity.
Personally, I believe that the ACLU realizes that Intelligent Design has the potential of dislodging the entrenched humanistic concept of Darwinian evolution and opening minds to the reality of God. Consequently it is a very real threat to their goal of eliminating all vestiges and influences of Christianity from the public arena and effectively establishing secular humanism as the state religion.
Intelligent Design is a concept that has arisen largely out of the study of biochemistry. Briefly, it holds that the complexity of certain biological systems is unable to be accounted for by time, chance, and natural selection. In order to exist they must have been designed to meet a certain function initially...
One of the chief proponents of Intelligent Design, Dr. Michael J. Behe, is a professor of Biochemisty at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. In his 1998 book, Darwin’s Black Box (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster, New York, NY), Behe concludes that "Life on earth at its most fundamental level, in its most critical components, is the product of intelligent activity (p. 193)."
Intelligent Design, he claims, "...flows naturally from the data itself—not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years... (p. 193)."
Ironically, in Rupert Sheldrake’s 1981 book, A New Science of Life (St. Martins Press/J.P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, CA), he states, "The chemical nature of the genetic material...is known…The mechanism of protein synthesis is understood...the properties of living cells can, in principle, be fully explained...In light of past successes, this optimism that all the problems of biology can ultimately be solved mechanistically is understandable (p. 17-19)."
It’s a commonly held misconception and quite different from Behe’s observation that "Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science’s attempt to explain their origins…More importantly, there are compelling reasons—based on the structure of the systems themselves—to think that a Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive. (p. x - the preface)."
Now I recognize that Intelligent Design is not the same as creation science. In fact, there are many scientists who accept Intelligent Design but, like Behe, would balk at the Genesis account of a six-day creation, as well as most of the rest of Bible. However, Intelligent Design is a powerful argument that there is something or someone greater than us who has actively intervened in the universe to create living organisms.
The powerful argument for a Creator is probably why the ACLU is fighting Intelligent Design so stridently in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. After all, Darwin himself said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down (Origin of Species, 1872, 6th edition, 1988, New York University Press, New York, NY, p.154; quoted by Behe, p. 39)."
The ACLU recognizes, and rightfully so, that Intelligent Design could mean the demise of Darwinian evolution as a naturalistic, godless explanation for the origins of life. A demise that would seriously undermine their efforts to oust Christianity from the public arena and replace it with secular humanism.
Witness the "evolution" of a prominent British atheist, Dr. Antony Flew. Flew is a renowned Oxford Professor of Philosophy and prolific author. He has been a noted champion of and icon for atheists worldwide for decades. Now, at 81, Flew has renounced atheism and embraced deism, partly due to the impact of Intelligent Design theories.
Now Flew has not by any means become a born-again Christian. He has however, accepted the idea God exists. He explains in a recent interview with Dr. Gary R. Habermas in the Winter 2005 issue of Philosophia Christi (http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/), "...while reason, mainly in the form of argument to design, assures us that there is a God, there is no room for any supernatural revelation for that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings."
In other words, Flew has accepted the truth of Psalms 19:1-3: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." Flew, like many scientists who have embraced Intelligent Design, has accepted the general revelation of creation but not the God of creation.
General revelation is obvious enough that the Bible says in Psalm 14:1 and 53:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." That is partly why every tribe, culture, or people group ever discovered has some god concept.
Unfortunately however, general revelation—and Intelligent Design—is limited. It can only point to the existence of God. It cannot put us in touch with God. For that we need special revelation.
Special revelation, in a sense, is direct revelation as opposed to the indirect revelation of general revelation.
The Bible is special revelation: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)" "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21)"
While general revelation has helped to convert Professor Flew from atheism to deism, it has not brought him to salvation. What it has done is opened him up to belief that there is a God. And that, I believe, is what has the ACLU and their ilk up in arms.
Here’s the problem for the ACLU. Their agenda is based on the rejection of God and His removal from the public arena. However, general revelation, as found in Intelligent Design, makes people think about the possibility of God existing. If they come to the conclusion that God exists, as did Antony Flew, then they may begin to reject that which is based on the rejection of God (ie. Darwinian evolution, atheism, humanism, etc.). Perhaps that helps to explain why ACLU’s March 2002 position paper on "Creation-science" labels "intelligent design theory" as "religious doctrine" and urges vigorous opposition to any attempt to allow it to be taught to impressionable public school children.
Once a poor impressionable child, or adult, comes to accept the idea of God existing, that child or adult may begin to wonder about their relationship with God. Those dangerous thoughts may then make people susceptible to special revelation in the form of God’s Word. Exposure to God’s Word may in turn cause these folks to realize that "...all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)" and that "the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)."
Worse yet, for the anti-God forces, further exposure to God’s Word may reveal to them that, in spite of their sin, God loved them so much "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)"
In short, general revelation might lead one to special revelation which in turn might lead one to God. And that is something that the devil and his crowd absolutely do not want.
After all, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! ...So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:14-15,17)"