Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sometime last week the American President said something about teaching "intelligent design" in classes or something. So now there's a big uproar between people who think "intelligent design" is a way of sneaking God into classrooms as a "scientifically proven" theory and people who think "intelligent design" should belong up there beside evolution. I can't give an unbiased account of this because of my own beliefs, but I think a section from CS Lewis' Mere Christianity is helpful..

Ever since men were able to think they have been wondering what this universe really is and how it came to be there. And, very roughly, two views have been held. First, there is what is called the materialist view... (explanation follows)... The other view is the religious view... (explanation follows)... Please do not think that one of these views was held a long time ago and that the other has gradually taken its place. Wherever there have been thinking men both views turn up. And note this too. You cannot find out which view is the right one by science in the ordinary sense. Science works by experiments. It watches how things behave. Every scientific statement in the long run, however complicated it looks, really means something like, "I pointed
the telescope to such and such a part of the sky at 2.20 a.m on January 15th and saw so-and-so," or, "I put some of this stuff in a pot and heated it to such-and-such a temperature and it did so-and-so." Do not think I am saying anything against science: I am only saying what its job is. And the more scientific a man is, the more (I believe) he would agree with me that this is the jobof science -- and a very useful and necessary job it is too. But why anything comes to be there at all, and whether there is anything behind the things science observes -- something of a different kind -- this is not a scientific question....

Or if I were to vastly simplify, the simple question "Why?" defeats, has always defeated, and will always defeat learned men of all kinds, scientific, religious, or otherwise.

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