Science or Religion?

October 3, 2013

The latest debate about science textbooks has surfaced a typical complaint about the scientific basis of intelligent design. Critics of intelligent design say that it is not science because it cannot be falsified. But nearly every critic then goes on to argue that intelligent design has been falsified. Obviously it can’t be both falsifiable and non-falsifiable at the same time. Such is the level of argumentation against intelligent design.

book coverBut there is another argument I find even more fascinating. It is that intelligent design cannot be considered science because it has religious implications. As I point out in my book, A Biblical Point of View on Intelligent Design, just because an idea has religious (or philosophical implications) shouldn’t necessarily disqualify it from scientific consideration. There are significant religious and philosophical implications for Darwinian evolution. Consider just a few of these.

Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins believes that Darwinian evolution provides the foundation for his atheism and claims that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

Daniel Dennett says: “In the beginning, there were no reasons; there were only causes. Nothing had a purpose, nothing has so much as a function; there was no teleology in the world at all.”

Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer argues that we must “face the fact that we are evolved animals and that we bear the evidence of our inheritance, not only in our anatomy and our DNA, but in our behavior too.”

Each of these men draws religious or philosophical inferences from the theory of evolution. Does that disqualify evolutionary theory? Is evolution unscientific because there are religious and philosophical implications? No. Likewise, intelligent design’s possible implications should not render it unscientific.

“What’s Up With Animal Rights?”

My question is partially about the ‘animal rights’ movement that seems very popular these days. I was curious to know what you thought about the idea of giving animals rights. I have recently read a book about postmodernism and culture by Peter Augustine Lawler – it is not about animal rights, but he makes the statement that: “At the end of history, human distinctiveness is negated. The laughably incoherent ‘animal rights’ movement exists for a moment before the nonexistence of rights.” I don’t know much about the subject of rights, but I was hoping you could possibly recommend some book that touched on the subject from a Christian perspective – not necessarily animal rights, just the philosophy of rights in general- or maybe tell me what you think about what rights are and who has them and so forth.

Former Probe staff member Rich Milne authored an article on animal rights. You are essentially correct that post-modernism dictates an equalization of rights between animals and humans. We are after all just another animal. Non-human animals should be treated no differently than we wish to be treated. Animal rights ethicist Peter Singer now holds a professorship of ethics at Princeton University and is continuing to humiliate himself with the logic of his own position by recently suggesting that bestiality was OK! What else can he say and remain consistent?

Not being a philosopher, I am not familiar with the literature on human rights, but Probe published a book with Zondervan in the 70s which is now out of print titled, Human Rights and Human Dignity by John Warwick Montgomery. Montgomery now has the rights to this book and he may have republished it so you may want to do a search on Amazon or elsewhere on the net to find it or a book like it.


Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries