Thoughts on Science and Spirit from a man of the Spirit

My good pal Mandeep sent me a lovely blog article from “Jim Burklo, minister at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church”:http://tcpc.blogs.com/musings/2005/08/beyond_the_fish.html. Jim talks about how intelligent design is a discredit to both science and religion. Well, Jim puts it best so let me just quote him:

But [intelligent design] isn’t a “theory” at all. “Intelligent design” posits that the structure of life is so complex and delicate that it is unimaginable that it could have come into existence without having been designed by some intelligent force. Therefore such an intelligence must be responsible for it. But this is a conclusion that can be reached only by assuming that it is true in the first place – a classic tautology, or example of circular reasoning, which has no place in science. It is not a theoretical alternative to evolution, because it suggests no other credible means by which this outside intelligence created the complexity of life. There is nothing in the theory of evolution, the only theory that holds any water in explaining the origin of the species, that proves or disproves the existence of such an intelligent “designer”. Even if one thinks of God as a separate, distinct being that manipulates the universe, “intelligent design” offers no intelligent reason that God didn’t employ evolution as his or her means for creating life on earth.

Circular reasoning doesn’t belong in science education. “Intelligent design” is a thinly-veiled and inappropriate attempt to inject religious indoctrination into public schools. If it gets into school science textbooks, it would damage both science and religion in this country.

The emphasis was added by me to highlight the key conclusions he draws. Hear, hear, Jim. Let us both hope that together science can continue to map out the order of the natural world and religion can map out the order of the spirit, and through both we can gain a deeper insight into this wonderous universe.

Three Senators attend Hearing on Climate Change

It’s sad. I know it was a busy day on the Hill, but every day is a busy day on the Hill. So when I read that “only three U.S. Senators from the Senate Commerce subcommittee on global climate change attended hearings where the new head of the National Academies spoke about the scientific consensus on global warming”:http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/07/21/global.warming.ap/index.html?section=cnn_space,
I was saddened.

Who were the three attentive Senators? They were David Vitter, R-Louisiana, Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. What at least impressed me about the mix is that is was statistically bi-partisan. If you read literally into small numbers, it was overwhelmingly Republican – also encouraging.

Who were the missing subcommittee members? They were Republicans John McCain (AZ) and Olympia Snowe (ME), and Democrat John Kerry (MA). What a sad list of those missing. Half the committee was not present, and 2/3 of those not attending were people I know well enough to admire! John McCain and John Kerry are two of my favorite Senators, some of the few I consider Statesmen and not just politicians.

I just hope they had a good excuse. This was a rare opportunity for such a group of Senators to sit, ask questions of the National Academies’ new President, and have a healthy public discourse on the science of and the overwhelming evidence for human-induced global climate change.