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Letter to the Editor


Posted: 4/25/07

The Rev. Thomas Condon preached with the Bible in one hand and a fossil in the other. Condon was the first scientific investigator to examine the abundant fossils in eastern Oregon, and later became Oregon's first state geologist. He trusted the evidence supporting biological evolution, yet he was a devout Christian. This may seem odd since science, especially evolutionary theory, is often portrayed as agnostic or even atheistic. Condon used science was a way to understand how God worked; not test his beliefs in God.

Intelligent Design proposes that irreducible complexities in life can only be caused by a designer. This argument is not a recent development nor scientifically testable.

Natural processes can be repeatedly tested with results that can be reproduced. This is a main principle of the scientific method. Adherence to these methods allows scientific knowledge to reach beyond cultural borders, political ideologies and religious beliefs.

This method is praised: when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, when new medicines are developed curing diseases, when fossils are discovered providing us with evidence of mysterious ancient life, and when new technologies developed for efficient communication and travel. This method is scorned if the results conflict with one's views. Some examples: Stable isotopic analyses from ice cores illustrate a recent global warming trend; radioactive isotopic analyses imply the Earth is billions of years old; and fossil evidence, examined in the context of time, climate, ecology, geography, anatomy and genetics, suggest that life evolved by natural selection.

The objection is not that life wasn't designed, but that the designer is not verifiable by scientific methodology. Scientists cannot choose when to use and not to use the scientific method to test their claims. If scientists chose, the psychic would replace the psychologist and the paranormal, like the "Marfa Lights," would be evidence of extraterrestrials rather than the verified natural cause (for those who prefer the mystery, it won't be ruined here).

ID is not a threat to science, but it clouds the public perception of what science is and what is verifiable.

Christopher Strganac, tstrgana@smu.edu
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