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January 30, 2006

Dear Editor:

Like Dr. Craig Tenke, I too must confess my amazement in my case, at his persistence in missing the point of arguments with which he disagrees. He misinterprets the Rev. Wayne Barrett's comments, for instance, for the "a priori philosophical assumption" to which the Rev. Barrett refers is precisely that of a creator. If the universe is in fact the product of unguided natural processes, be they random, chaotic, or something else, we have no good reason to assume an "ordered, objectively experiential and able-to-be-validated universe." Instead, we're left with Einstein's observation that "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."

As for Dr. Tenke's refusal to consider the bias of the scientific establishment, I think I'll just let a couple distinguished members of that establishment speak for themselves. First, here is a statement from Dr. Franklin Harold, a molecular biologist and author of The Way of the Cell:

"We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity; but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations."

In other words, the rejection of ID is not on the evidence but in spite of the lack of evidence; ID is to be rejected as a matter of principle, due to a prior commitment to an opposing position. For an elaboration of that position, we have the words of Dr. Richard Lewontin, of the Harvard biology faculty:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

Put bluntly, from Dr. Lewontin's perspective, the reason why ID must be rejected, and why the allegiance to the neo-Darwinian construct must be upheld in spite of the lack of evidence, is because of a prior commitment to atheism. Offhand, I'd call this more than just a perception of an "an organized, malicious, antichristian (atheistic, antitheistic) bias"--I'd call it evidence. Just like I'd call the work of Dr. Michael Behe, to name one, evidence that the neo-Darwinian construct is an inadequate explanation of reality.

Finally, Dr. Tenke's summary of ID is highly problematic, for two reasons. First, it simply isn't true that "ID is only a subspecialty of Darwinism." When the neo-Darwinian paradigm has been replaced, if it is replaced by the paradigm put forth by the ID movement, ID--namely, the understanding that the design of the universe requires a designer--would then be the regnant paradigm, and science would have moved back to a deist footing (and would then, I suspect, continue on much as it has in most respects). Second, this paradigm shift would be the repudiation of Dr. Tenke's assumption that science must assume a closed system and the work of unguided natural processes--an assumption which he has never logically defended, only asserted. This assertion has been elevated to the status of unchallengeable dogma, something which is as unscientific as it is possible to be--and it is this elevation which ID challenges and which he is defending. This is the crux of the issue, yet Dr. Tenke consistently refuses to address his allegiance to this unscientific dogma. Why?

For Christ and his church,
(The Rev.) Rob Harrison
Pastor, Trinity Church in the Pines
Grand Lake, Colorado

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