Each February, admirers of Charles Darwin celebrate his birthday. “Darwin Day” is a celebration of secularism and of materialistic science, and particularly a celebration of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Some particularly enthusiastic Darwinists compare Darwin Day to Lincoln’s birthday. Their motto (I’m not making this up): “Lincoln freed the slaves; Darwin freed our minds.” Some of us take a more nuanced view of Darwin’s legacy. This May is a poignant time to pause and to reflect on Darwin’s influence on American medicine and society. This May 2nd marked the 80th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Buck vs. Bell.
It’s clear from the ideologically motivated attacks on Dr Guillermo Gonzalez, an assistant professor of astronomy and co-author of The Privileged Planet, that scientists who acknowledge the evidence for design in the universe are not welcome as tenured members of the Iowa State University faculty. Anti-design scientists and bloggers have admitted publicly that they will continue to exclude intelligent design scientists from academia. Yet in the 20th century many of the advances in the understanding of our universe were accompanied by vigorous open discussion of the design implications of cosmological theories.
Fundamental to the argument of many Darwinists against intelligent design theory in biology is the assertion that design in biology is undetectable. Darwinists argue that biological design is undetectable because, while we have experience with ‘designers’ in archeology, forensic science, etc., we have no experience with designers in biology, and thus cannot reliably detect the work of a biological designer. Intelligent design proponents reply that there are reliable criteria that indicate design, regardless of whether we have actual knowledge of the designer.
My friend and colleague John West wrote an essay recently commenting on my post about the link between Darwinism and eugenics. He raised some very important points, with which I agree, and I’d like to clarify my view and clarify our fundamental agreement.