“Gee, that’s complicated. God did it.”
This sentiment is representative of the many who are critical of anyone positing an intelligent designer. We’ve broached the subject repeatedly in this space, so it’s nothing new, but when theistic explanations for natural phenomena come in the form of testing, a similar complaint arises.
“Why do so many of you religious types think that you are sooooooo smart that you understand how God may have created the earth and life? Do you claim to understand everything he did? Seems pretty presumptuous to me.”
Both statements came from an online discussion on MSNBC in response to an article that was critical of EXPELLED. In considering the two comments, what’s a believer to do? If you simply say God did it, you get hammered, but if you lead with a model that attempts to explain the natural realm (and even naturalistically, as much as possible) you get hammered for that too. Yet critical statements such as these often come from people who trumpet the success of science but also advocate that religion (rightly practiced) is generally good.
It seems that those who want to keep religion and science in separate arenas offer only lip service to the notion that both are valuable and should occupy their place in educated society. Setting aside the ideas springing from the more rancorous new atheists, who unabashedly lay many of the world’s ills at the feet of religion, many atheists appear to respect religion as a valid intellectual pursuit. But are they merely mollifying what they consider a gullible group?
Skeptics know that Christians see the Bible as a God-breathed revelation, so wouldn’t it show respect for the religion to allow the Christian to see the harmony between his holy book and the record of nature? When a Christian sits in church and reads passages like, “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), and then he gains a greater appreciation of the universe through an organization like Reasons To Believe, why would a skeptic complain?
And what’s the purpose of a model anyway? Aren’t scientists trying to plug holes in gaps of understanding? If RTB proposes a scientific model for creation, why is that presumptuous? Nobody’s claiming to understand everything God did (we’re his creatures after all), but believers are motivated by a God-given curiosity to learn as much as possible about the creation. That enhanced understanding should lead to more meaningful worship of the Creator, but also more-educated, well-rounded citizens. Is that a bad thing?