Sooner or later everyone asks the question, "Where do we come from?" The answer carries profound implications. Until this question is answered we cannot solve another fundamental question that is key to ethics, religion and the meaning of life (if any): "Are we here for a purpose?"
There are two possible answers: the universe and life and its diversity - natural phenomena - are the product of 1) a combination of only natural laws and chance (the "naturalistic hypothesis;") or 2) a combination of law, chance and design - the activity of a mind or some sort of intelligence that has the power to manipulate matter and energy (the "design hypothesis.") The latter produces purpose, the former does not.
The naturalistic hypothesis is supported by theories of chemical evolution (with respect to the origin of the universe and life) and by Darwinian evolution (with the respect to the origin of the diversity of life.) The design hypothesis is supported by the purposeful characteristics of exceedingly complex natural systems that are frequently described as "fine tuned." Each hypothesis is densely laden with philosophical and religious baggage, and clear thinking is required in order to separate the science for the philosophy, the evidence from the implications and reality from imagination.
William Harris and John Calvert in their paper entitled "Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution" (www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/NCBQ3_3HarrisCalvert.pdf) explore the substantial scientific controversy that exists about our origins that cannot be resolved without objective consideration of Intelligent Design (ID) and its challenge to evolution, and that a resolution of the controversy is enormously important to our worldviews about science, religion, ethics and morals. In discussing the issues, Harris and Calvert make several propositions: 1) that the most important, defining characteristic of Darwinian evolution is that it is an unguided, unplanned and purposeless process; 2) that ID is science and not religion; and 3) that there are profound religious, ethical and moral implications associated with each origins theory.
This response is to the letter (Un) Intelligent Design Debate (tSW 6-11) in which the author show himself to be incredibly ignorant of, or just plain foolhardy, regarding a major paradigm shift that is going on in science today.
Scott Weber and Koosah, his Intelligently Designed Alaskan Husky, Bend