Gift Giving for Hanukkah or Christmas?
Here is an old idea … but maybe a good one just the same!
From time to time we see older writings that helped to move people’s thinking. Two of the significant book titles we have referenced at WindowView qualify as still applicable, still relevant, and still worth a read.
A Crisis or An Opportunity!
The first title that comes to mind is “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.” This writing, by Dr. Michael Denton, raised a lot of controversy when first released in the late 1980s. Is this too old to be important? Fact is Dr. Denton suffered the criticisms of many a critic. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say suffered at the hands of the cynics. Over the past year, 2011, I queried several individuals who are central proponents of the intelligent design movement. I asked if they knew of any criticism that posed a set back to anything Dr. Denton wrote. I’m saying that these folks were being fair in their assessment, because others refused to answer the question without a lot of rhetoric. The answers tell me that the text written by Denton has withstood the critics.
What may be most important is that Dr. Denton wrote a book that inspired many other minds to write about science and the unique qualities to living beings that reflect design … and thus the thought that you and I are not mere products of chance, trial and error, and evolution in general terms. There is a place to use the word evolution, but do read Denton’s text. There are reasons to restrict the broader uses of the word. The idea that cells are filled with sophisticated specific information and molecular machines is still an astounding thought. To revisit Dr. Denton’s text is a timely venture–indeed for today, why wait longer!
Inspired Thinking – A New Look
A second title of importance … comes with the idea that Denton’s book inspired an academic to think about putting ideas on trial, like putting Darwin’s thoughts and theories on trial, was the momentum leading to Phillip Johnson’s writing entitled “Darwin On Trial.” And critics have had their day with Johnson, but the underlying thoughts on how humans have continually defined their life experience in material terms — materialism in the naturalistic sense — brings us back to what is on the other side of the coin. If material naturalism is a shadow of what really is at the heart of our existence, then that requires opening up one’s mind. Could you even do that? What might happen to our thoughts on the value to being alive? What is on the other side of that coin? This puts us at the cross roads of science and Scripture without even cracking open the biblical text. Science itself forces some revealing questions.
But here is the value to stepping back for a minute. A couple and a half decades ago, Phillip Johnson pointed to others as the next generation to think about how life reflects design. Even Darwin struggled with the notion of life’s many features reflecting evidence of design, but he got distracted by one side of the coin so as to deny the preponderance of evidence (on that other side) that told him design had it’s place in understanding life.
The reality is Darwin rationalized away the possible further exploration of the concept of intelligent design. But if alive today, perhaps you’d be faced with a Darwin who would tout design qualities in nature to declare a whole other side to his thinking. That coin has two sides you know! Oh perish the thought critics might say. True, Darwin is gone now. But if he had only a look at electron micrographs of cells as science sees the details today … then we’d be in another ball game–there might even be a different Darwin to deal with. Have you looked at the intricacies of living cells or biochemical machines?
DNA and Evidence for Design on an Information Base of Specificity
What we will offer is a third title of a more recent text by Dr. Stephen Meyer: “Signature in the Cell.” If you explore the story on intelligent design, you’ll find that Denton and Johnson cleared a way for the writings of Dr. Meyer–and others.
No matter where you are in thinking life is not a mere product of chance or only material causes explain being here … Dr. Meyer spins a tale of science and history and of the specificity and probabilities that really make us think. A well written text, readable by a wide audience, is just the ticket … and so too worth your exploration.
And if you are giving a gift for Hanukkah or Christmas, it might be due to a belief that there is a G-d of Israel and that life is not by chance but a product of His will. Perhaps that is the origin of specificity!