Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s actually a column) appears in the Donaldsonville Chief, a weekly newspaper published in Donaldsonville, Louisiana (population 7,436). It’s titled Intelligent design, and the newspaper has a comments feature.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Bill Tinsley from Fort Collins, Colorado who writes a faith column that’s printed in many newspapers, and he has this website: The Tinsley Center. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s column, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
In 2014 Eric Hedin, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Ball State, promoted the idea to his students that the complex and intricate balance in nature reflects an intelligent design as opposed to a random series of accidental events. The president of the university ruled that such teaching was not a scientific discipline and had no place in academia, an opinion widely shared in the academic community.
We remember it well. The last time we wrote about him was Eric Hedin Leaves Ball State, Goes to Biola. Rev Tinsley feels that Hedin isn’t the only advocate of intelligent design who got a raw deal. He says:
Baylor University was embroiled in the controversy when Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering set up a website and lab on the Baylor server to investigate intelligent design in 2007. Marks used the term “Evolutionary Informatics Lab.” Both the website and the lab were shut down within months and removed from the Baylor server. The lab continues on a third party server at evoinfo.org.
We remember Baylor’s role in the intelligent design controversy — see Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment, but that involved William Dembski, not Marks. Oh wait — we did briefly mention Baylor’s experience with Marks — see William Dembski’s Challenge to Ken Starr, in which we said:
Marks’ research lab was expelled from Baylor because Baylor officials saw it as supporting Intelligent Design … . The expulsion of Marks’ lab from Baylor was reported nationally from World Magazine to the Chronicle of Higher Education. It was also a centerpiece of Ben Stein’s film “Expelled,” documenting the persecution that proponents of Intelligent Design endure from the academy.
Okay, so Rev Tinsley regards Marks as another creationist martyr. Now what? He tells us:
Regardless of academic positions on the subject [which are so unfair!], reflections on creation, purpose and intelligence beyond our own are important to all of us. We must ask the questions, “Are we alone?” “Is there anyone else out there?” “Is the human race simply the result of eons of random chance on this third planet from the sun?” “Have millions of years of random chance and survival of the fittest resulted in, well, ‘us?’ ” Or are we created in the divine image of the Creator?
Yes, we all must ask those questions. The rev continues:
We are quickly making strides in our own creation of artificial intelligence, the design of robotic machinery that perform complex tasks. We already have cars that can drive themselves. [Gasp!] Information technology is taking us into realms reserved for the writers of science fiction. “Data,” the popular android on Star Trek, may not be so far-fetched after all. [Ooooooooooooh!] So, whenever we finally create “Data” and others like him, what will the androids think? Will they sit around and discuss whether they were the result of random coincidence, concluding that they have no accountability or connection to the humans that created them?
Brilliant analogy! Let’s read on:
The Bible is quite clear regarding our own origin. The Psalmist says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made … Psalm 139:13-15.
That’s perfectly clear. Only a fool would doubt it. Another excerpt:
Something beyond science resonates within us when we stand in awe on the rim of the Grand Canyon; when we behold the beauty of a sunset splashing the sky with crimson, purple and gold; when we walk by the sea listening to the waves crashing on the shore.
The rev is right. And that “something beyond science” is Oogity Boogity! Now we come to the end:
Only worship will satisfy the emptiness within. The realization that we are part of a grand design in the mind of God calls us to accountability and fills us with meaning, purpose and peace.
So there you are, dear reader. Heed the rev. He knows how to satisfy the emptiness within.
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