Scientific Materialism and the Divine Foot

From KHouse.Org


Modesto, California is embroiled in a debate about whether a science teacher will be permitted to teach the theory of intelligent design alongside evolution in his classes. Last month, Roosevelt Junior High teacher Mark Ferrante told parents on back-to-school night he planned to do just that, to give his students a balanced understanding of the arguments involved. Modesto City Schools district has said that it won’t happen.

“He will not be teaching intelligent design. He has been instructed to teach the state standards and intelligent design is not in the state standards,” Modesto City Schools spokeswoman Emily Lawrence said last week.

The school board decided a decade ago not to teach intelligent design, but today it is divided. Trustee Nancy Cline wrote in an email, “The current curriculum states that the evolution of man, Darwinism, must be taught as a theory. I feel we do our students a disservice by not helping them become critical thinkers when we forbid the teaching of competing scientific theories, such as intelligent design.”

The Great Divide:
Why does the possibility of teaching intelligent design send panic into the hearts of evolutionary science educators? National Center for Science Education director Eugenie Scott consistently brings up the tired “religion v science” argument. “This is neo-creationism,” she says of intelligent design theory, “trying to avoid the legal morass of trying to teach creationism overtly and slip it in through the backdoor.”

ID proponent David Berlinski, a self-described agnostic secular Jew would disagree that his support for ID has anything to do with religion. Berlinski – again, an agnostic – attacks the idea that all life arose by small steps from primordial ancestors, saying, “Yeah, biologists do agree that this is the correct theory for the origin and diversification of life — BUT, here are some points you should consider as well: 1) the theory doesn’t have any substance to it, 2) it’s preposterous, 3) it’s not supported by the evidence, 4) the fact that biologists are uniformly in agreement could as well be explained by some solid Marxist interpretation of their economic interests.”

And thus goes the mudslinging. It goes back and forth. Evolutionists say, “ID isn’t falsifiable. It’s not science. It makes no predictions.” ID proponents say, “Yes, ID does make predictions and it is falsifiable – unlike many of the claims evolutionists make about the origin of life.”

There are those folks on both sides of the aisle who truly believe that the science backs up their position. Both sides. However, at the root of everything, it seems that the tenacious beast that keeps the scientific community committed absolutely to evolutionary theory, no matter what, is its devotion to materialism. The supernatural is simply not permitted to be part of the picture. Therefore, by default, we had to all get here by evolution.  No other answer is allowed.

Lewontin’s Famous Materialism Admission:
On the 9th of January in 1997, famous American evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor Richard Lewontin published a review of Carl Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World in The New York Review. Lewontin noted that a number of ideas in science don’t make a great deal of immediate sense. “What seems absurd,” Lewontin wrote, “depends on one’s prejudice.”

His purpose was to argue that the facts of science appear on the surface to make little sense – but are in fact true. Atoms – “tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them” truly do provide the basic building blocks of matter. Light does present itself as both a wave and a particle. Incredible as these things sound, they are indeed true – that was what Lewontin wanted to say. And yet, as he proceeds, Lewontin makes a startling admission (now widely circulated) that goes far beyond the context of astronomy and the cosmos. He reveals the heart of scientific materialists, not simply to discover the true nature of the universe, but to battle against faith in the supernatural. He wrote:

“[W]e have a priori commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Ah… that Divine Foot. The problem with Lewontin’s position about the universe is not his skepticism. Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection kit” does have some good rules of thumb for not falling into crazy beliefs that have no basis in reality. Yet! Both Sagan and Lewontin make the assumption that a good scientist must also be a materialist.  God gets kicked into the corner with fairies, unicorns and George Foreman’s hair.

Yet, materialism is not itself science.  It is an “ism” – a philosophy.  It cannot be proven.  As Berlinski points out in his book The Devil’s Delusion, materialists cannot disprove the supernatural.   Lewontin and Sagan both made a philosophical decision to not “allow a Divine Foot in the door,” and others like them have consistently brow-beaten (or fired) anybody else who offers a contradicting view. Therefore, they close out a whole realm of possible answers.

If a so-called “miracle” truly has some naturalistic explanation, then the materialists will be most likely to find it – they are looking the hardest. However, if it truly was Almighty God who healed Kelli Thomas or AmyJoy Hess or Bill Cortemanche or Tony Darmanin [see eNews issues from March 23, 30 and May 25, 2010 through the links below], then no naturalistic explanation will ever be correct.  In that case, the materialists will never discover the truth because they’ve refused to allow God to be the answer – ever.

We should never fear the truth. Whatever it is.  We should never be afraid to wrestle with the facts as honestly as possible.  As Rev. Don Humphries once said, “Think about it. If it is true, you can think about it and it will still be true.”

And Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:31-32

Related Links:

Lewontin on Materialism –
Modesto Science Teacher’s Plan to Teach Intelligent Design Sparks Debate – The Modesto Bee
David Berlinski on Science, Scientists, and Darwinism – Uncommon Descent
FAQ: Does Intelligent Design Make Predictions? Is It Testable? – IDEA
Unraveling DNA’s Design – Koinonia House
Miracles Part IX: But If Not – (From May 25, 2010 eNews) – Koinoina House
Miracles Part IV: Can You Hear Me Now – (From March 30, 2010 eNews) – Koinonia House
Miracles Part III: Instant Healing – (From March 23, 2010 eNews) – Koinonia House


  1. says

    Berlin is just one of those cities that you need to visit over and over again. So much to see, I have been there now twice for 8 days in total and still I want to go back. Nightlife is fantastic so many sights to visit and read about. Just love Berlin in the spring.

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