The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Thoughts and Reasons, Part One

I responded by email to a Professor who regularly contributed an Opinion piece in his Sunday paper and invites responses via email.


Dear Mr. Cawelti,
I keep an eye out for your column and enjoy reading it when I have the chance. You once visited my Language Arts Enrichment class in high school English. The only thing I remember is "post hoc ergo propter hoc." You gave us a discourse on Latinate logic and on your experiences as a writer. That was some 6 years ago. Do you still do that?

I've kept abreast of the Intelligent Design-Evolution debate for some time now. I don't think that it will dissolve any time soon. Now with Iowa State's and UNI's anti-ID letters circulating, it has certainly hit close to home.

I am neither a scientist nor a logician nor a professor, but could I offer one thought? You quoted part of the UNI letter saying, "Whether one believes in a creator or not, views regarding a supernatural creator are . . . claims of religious faith, and not within the scope or abilities of science."

I certainly agree that proving the existence of a creator is beyond the scientific scope. Philosophy has wrestled with it for thousands of years without anything conclusive. This quote recognizes one thing though: to believe that a creator exists and to believe that a creator does not exist are both matters of "religious faith." Both beliefs are foundations upon which the Intelligent Design theorists and the Evolution theorists, respectively, form their whole scientific approach. Yet, if both are based on equally unprovable grounds, why are the ID theorists ostracized and disregarded for their view? Neither camp can definitively show that a supernature exists or that nature is all that exists.

Coincidentally, I have been reading a book pertaining to these issues which was written some sixty-plus years ago. It is not by a scientist but a professor of literature and a man of logic like yourself: CS Lewis. As such, he does not consider the science, of which he is not an expert, but the logic of a belief in a supernature. The title is "Miracles," and I would imagine Barnes & Noble would have it in stock. I encourage you to pick it up. He is a man far above my own feeble writing skills and thinking ability. He provides ideas which might challenge your thinking--always a worthwhile endeavor. And I would be interested to exchange thoughts with you on it. If you have time to respond to this letter, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.