“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” — Nobel Prize holder Charles Townes on design thought and anti-evolutionism, in light of Michael Shermer in Sci Am on “the standard scientific theory” of evolution
|April 8, 2012||Posted by kairosfocus under Atheism, Creationism, Culture, Darwinism, ID Foundations, Science, science education, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society|
What on earth does the title of a famous Good Friday Sermon have to do with the ID controversy? (Even, come Easter Sunday morning . . . )
As I was reading and thinking about Dr Torley’s latest amazing UD series and some of UD’s ever so fascinating comments [one of the best features of UD is comments], I was led to look at the Dr Townes story, and related matters.
One of the findings is how Dr Townes, a Nobel Prize holder for physics, turns out to be a cosmological design thinker who actually supports intelligent design in an evolutionary framework [i.e. pretty similar to Wallace, co-founder of modern evolutionary theory], but sees ID as anti-evolutionism.
It’s worth pausing to clip an article in which he was interviewed, after all, this is a Nobel Prize holder in the senior science speaking out in support of design theory:
[Townes:] Science and religion have had a long interaction: some of it has been good and some of it hasn’t. As Western science grew, Newtonian mechanics had scientists thinking that everything is predictable, meaning there’s no room for God – so-called determinism. Religious people didn’t want to agree with that. Then Darwin came along, and they really didn’t want to agree with what he was saying, because it seemed to negate the idea of a creator. So there was a real clash for a while between science and religions.
But science has been digging deeper and deeper, and as it has done so, particularly in the basic sciences like physics and astronomy, we have begun to understand more. We have found that the world is not deterministic: quantum mechanics has revolutionized physics by showing that things are not completely predictable. That doesn’t mean that we’ve found just where God comes in, but we know now that things are not as predictable as we thought and that there are things we don’t understand. For example, we don’t know what some 95 percent of the matter in the universe is: we can’t see it – it’s neither atom nor molecule, apparently. We think we can prove it’s there, we see its effect on gravity, but we don’t know what and where it is, other than broadly scattered around the universe. And that’s very strange . . . .
People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent . . . .
People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they’re saying, “Everything is made at once and then nothing can change.” But there’s no reason the universe can’t allow for changes and plan for them, too.People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one. Maybe that’s a bad word to use in public, but it’s just a shame that the argument is coming up that way, because it’s very misleading. [” ‘Explore as much as we can’: Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes on evolution, intelligent design, and the meaning of life,” Bonnie Azab Powell, NewsCenter, Univ of California, Berkely, 17 June 2005]
It’s also worth looking at his Wiki bio, to see how they predictably duck the issue:
Science and religion
A member of the United Church of Christ, Townes considers that “science and religion [are] quite parallel, much more similar than most people think and that in the long run, they must converge”. In 2005, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for “Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.”
We all know how the debate over design is being misframed, but, I thought, why is that so.
A bit of puttering around led me to a fascinatingly and inadvertently revealing 2002 article by Michael Shermer of Skeptic Mag, writing in Sci Am, under the rubric: “The Gradual Illumination of the Mind: The advance of science, not the demotion of religion, will best counter the influence of creationism.”
The money extract is:
In one of the most existentially penetrating statements ever made by a scientist, Richard Dawkins concluded that “the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” [–> Do we not see here the naked amorality of the ideology of evolutionary materialism on public display, a warning for all those able to discern the implications of amorality?]
Facing such a reality [–> Notice, the echo of Lewontin, on how such ideological evolutionary materialism is “reality”], perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so”; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process”; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.” [–> notice the ideologisation of origins science, the concern that the majority of the public does not agree, and the correlation of the numbers who believe this “standard” view with the roughly 10 – 15% of the US public who would have agreed to atheism at the time? (And, yes I am freely using highlight colours and emphases to draw our attention to things we need to see and focus on. This is too important to let silly objections block us from highlighting and thinking seriously about serious matters. And yes folks, some of the objector sites want to make that a point of dismissive attack! One objector actually went as far as putting he word colours in rainbow colours . . . )]
I replied, and I think it is worth headlining as a UD post, as the just above clip is ever so revealing on what is still going on in the name of science and science education, as well as what so often happens to those who blow the whistle on this ideological imposition.
>>. . . demonstrably, this is an a priori Lewontinian ideological, philosophical materialistic view imposed on the science, not a properly objective scientific view. So, if “evolution” is so understood/defined by many who are spokesmen for “Science,” who can then properly object that many people will for good reason reject this imposed materialist ideology and so find themselves labelled “anti-evolution,” if that is the “standard” scientific definition.
It is time to cleanse the halls of science of materialist ideological hucksters posing as leaders of science and enlighteners of the public in the name of science!
(And yes, I am quite deliberately echoing a pivotal event of Passion Week; the decisive confrontation with the elites of the time, who had taken respected institutions and manipulated them to serve their agendas. In short, part of the legacy of Jesus, is that he is a prophetic voice against the corruption of hallowed institutions, and the sort of behind closed doors manipulations and scheming that are then often used in whistleblower retaliation. And yes, the events of Good Friday as we just remembered them, are the ultimate case of whistleblower retaliation. Of course, that was Friday, but Sunday was coming. And, every hated cross on every spire that some are so eager to take down is a reminder of what so often happens to whistleblowers on Friday; but Sunday always comes in the end.)
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!>> END