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Letters
February 1, 2006

 
 
 

Dear Editor:

I hope that Rev. Harrison can recognize that I agree with much of what he says, ranging from his concurrence with Rev. Barrett's a priori philosophical assumption regarding the existence of a creator to the fact that Intelligent Design represents a radical paradigm shift. My very simple point is that this very paradigm shift amounts to a redefinition of science. I absolutely agree that it is possible for science to produce gibberish. When it does, it is simply discounted. This is part of the reason that science is generally a slow, meticulous, conservative process. However, science is only an empirical method - regardless of what anyone may claim (scientist or nonscientist, atheist or faithful, Jew or gentile). As a practitioner of science, I merely assert that science has been quite fruitful for society thus far, and caution the naive against throwing out the baby with the bathwater!

I do not, as Rev. Harrison implies, refuse to consider the existence of an atheistic bias within the scientific community (and yes, maybe even "the establishment," as we used to say when we were kids). I simply assert that such opinions are largely irrelevant to the painstaking, day-by-day conduct of science. Moreover, God is not the ONLY taboo subject for science. Science has, in its turn, denied consciousness, mind, and free will as well (i.e., the "behaviorist revolution"). As a free American, are we motivated to discount science for this insult? To the contrary, I assert that we have lost nothing that was empirically testable, but have gained a methodological handle on those VERY SAME ISSUES that were once scorned. They were simply rephrased scientifically. This is all I demand of ID.

I must confess a degree of amusement at being accused of asserting "unchallengeable dogma, something which is as unscientific as it is possible to be." A collaborator and I concluded a recent editorial in Clinical Neurophysiology with the statement, "Some choices can be shown to be superior to others for a given purpose, and their preference should be determined by empirical insight rather than dogmatic principle. The challenge of the new empirical landscape demands nothing less." However, the challenges we addressed differ from the revolutionary paradigmatic changes implied by Intelligent Design. We confronted dogma with empirical evidence, but did not require fundamental changes in the scientific method.

Science... it was my sense of awe that led me to it. I marvel at the wonders of His creation, wonders beyond the simplifications of meager human minds, models, concepts and words. I also trust in the Lord; God does not desert us, even when age or disease steal our language, sense or reason. Some may be fearful of the motives of atheists who confuse science and faith, but this is not the battle they perceive it to be. I share some of Rev. Barrett's concerns. I worry about those whose understanding and faith might be so tenuous that it could fall based on a single experiment. In a parody of the people at Massah, they plead "Reveal yourself to us in our science! Let us put your purpose to the test!"

One final point regarding Bruce Byne's assignment of Behe's “Darwin’s Black Box": I'll take him up on it when time allows.

Yours in Christ,
Craig E. Tenke, Ph.D.
Elder, Center Moriches, NY
Research Scientist
NYS Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University


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