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From: Ross Olson
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007
To: Editor Star Tribune (opinion{at}startribune.com)
Subject: Confusion about Origins

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about evolution, science, intelligent design, proof and faith. We all live by faith all the time. If you ate breakfast this morning, it was with the faith that no one, from production to preparation, intentionally or accidentally did anything to poison you. Now, of course, it is faith based on the best evidence that you have -- even though you may have some doubts about some of the breakfast food companies. You would be careful, for example, to not mistakenly pour a bowl of dog food after recent revelations.

As to proof, if you talk to certain philosophers, you may come to the conclusion that you cannot even prove your own existence. But the chances are that you would still continue to act on the assumption that you and the rest of the world are really there. We operate on the basis of incomplete information and make decisions to go this way or that, stand still or back up, all without rigorous proof of anything. And this is necessary in order to lead a normal life. Otherwise we would be paralyzed, which is also a decision.

As to design, if you see an arrowhead on a path, you recognize it immediately as a result of intelligence and skill having been performed on a natural material. Even though it is low tech, you will also notice that the ancient specimens are much more beautifully done than the cheap imitations found in souvenir stores, indicating that some shaping secrets have been lost or are too time consuming. And if SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) received a Morse-Code-like message from a distant galaxy, they would conclude that it was produced by intelligence.

So why is the incredible complexity seen in life not recognized as a product of intelligent design? There is at least one gigabyte of information in the nucleus of a human cell and a bacterium is nearly as complex as a city. To say that science only accepts "natural explanations" is either a sincere misunderstanding or a clever deception. Science looks for natural explanations, but cannot define other explanations out of existence. For example, a body is found with bullet holes. Is it scientifically logical to say that death must have been by natural means? Of course not. The conclusion is that this person or some other, acted upon nature to cause the bullet holes and the subsequent death.

In the many discussions that I have had with people of nearly every opinion on these topics, I have found that some are sincere seekers of truth who are open to information and logic. Others are unwilling to consider the possibility that there might be a designer and particularly oppose the thought that they may be responsible to this power higher than themselves. To oppose such talk on legal grounds is at best a red herring and at worst a trip down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. There the red queen might say, "Even if there is evidence against evolution, you cannot teach it to children because it might cause them to believe in God which is un-Constitutional."

Ross S. Olson MD