Monday, April 14, 2008

Intelligent Design

I'm getting emails from people about the new movie "Expelled", which advocates Intelligent Design, a particular approach to God's role in the creation of life. My own view is a little different than that. My own view is usually called directed evolution.
Evolution advocates think that this idea is useless, that the whole point of natural selection is you can have what looks like intelligent matching of form to environment without intelligent guidance. They like the idea that it can all be handled without outside interference.
For Christians, it's a different story. For Christians, God has a hand in everything, in daily lives, in history, in the formation of the solar system. Even though there are natural explanations for people's behavior that we all understand perfectly well, that doesn't change the fact that somehow it is also caused and fully shaped by God. So to claim that evolution is somehow different from that seems silly. Everything has physical causes. That doesn't prevent it from also being caused by God's purposes at the same time.
For example, if you look at cancer death rates in Utah, they're about half the national average. If you subtract out the effects of smoking, alcohol, and exercise from helping people move, those rates probably drop down to something close to the national average. So the extra number of times that God steps in in Utah and causes a cancer to disappear in a way that the doctors shake their heads about in a way that will get written up in the Ensign can statistically be measured to be rather small. But that's beside the point: the lives saved from not smoking and not drinking are also due to God's influence. Plus the lives across the country of everyone else who doesn't die of cancer. It's all a miracle, all the time.
Mormons usually believe God was once like us, and looked like us, and later became deified. So if he already had a body, there must have already been everything necessary to support it: ecology, chemistry, physics, the works.

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