Wednesday, February 09, 2005

God of the gaps

In Michael Behe's NYTimes op-ed piece that I referred to yesterday, he says: "Unintelligent physical forces like plate tectonics and erosion seem quite sufficient to account for the origin of the Rocky Mountains. Yet they are not enough to explain Mount Rushmore."

True enough. But Behe should keep in mind that not so long ago folks of a creationist stripe thought the Rocky Mountains were an artifact of intelligent design. And he should recall that when Alfred Wegener first proposed that continents move, the idea was rejected by most geologists because they could not imagine any natural force that would shift continents laterally on the surface of the Earth. Now plate tectonics and continental drift are thought of as completely natural, even by Behe.

For some folks, an unexplained mystery is cause for throwing up one's hands and invoking a deity. For others, an unexplained mystery is a riddle to be solved.