In an interview with the online Astrobiology Magazine, Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Vatican’s Astronomer, discusses Intelligent Design (ID). I think he’s right on target.
For the record, I am not a Catholic. I belong to a congregation and observe some religious rituals, but for the cultural and social bonds, not because I am persuaded in the existence of an all-powerful Creator. If some people believe in such a creator, that’s fine with me, but I draw the line when they insist that public schools include that belief as science.
So far, the courts agree with me, but I am paying careful attention to the Federal Court in Harrisburg that is hearing the case against the Dover Board of Education, asking that it not be allowed to insist that ID be presented as an alternative to Darwinian Evolution in ninth grade. I live about 200 miles to the west of that district, and I will be making school presentations in that general area next month. If anyone asks me about it, I’ll refer them to a page on my web site where I answer a youngster’s question about a scientist’s view of creation.
As for Brother Consolmagno’s comments, I think he gets to the heart of the matter quickly when he states his objection to ID, not as a scientist but as a person of faith: “The trouble is that some people think they can use science to prove God. And that puts science ahead of God; that makes science more powerful than God. That’s bad theology.”
He also states that faith is essential to science. “If you’re going to be a scientist, there are three things you have to believe. Number one, the universe really exists….Two, you have to believe that the universe makes sense…. And the third and hardest thing, the most religious of the beliefs, is you have to believe it’s worth doing.”
I believe science is worth doing and worth sharing. Leaving aside the mechanism of Creation and the existence or non-existence of a Creator, I have faith that what I am doing in my work makes a difference in this world.
That’s the way most of us live. Even in the absence of scientific evidence, we make our best judgments about the consequences of past actions and make choices about how we act in the future.