Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

Intelligent Design

BNet Newsletter of January 2005
by Reed Carson

Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,

In the last month a couple of seemingly divergent events occurred that happened to relate to each other and also are of interest relative to the acceptance of the teachings of Theosophy. So I am making them the basis of this month’s newsletter.

On December 10th, The Seattle Times ran an article from Associated Press by Richard Ostling entitled “Science nudges atheist toward God”. In the article he doesn’t sound “nudged”. Rather he has distinctly reversed a decades-long stand.

Antony Flew, an 81-year-old “British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than five decades has changed his mind. He now believes in God – more or less – based on scientific evidence and says so on a video released yesterday.”

He describes his “God” thus: “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins,” he said. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.”

The article describes the high points of his career as a strong proponent of atheism and then describes his change of view. “There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.”

His reason for change: “Yet biologists’ investigation of DNA “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce [life], that intelligence must have been involved,” Flew says in the new video, “Has Science Discovered God?”

If you would like to learn more the news article is at

If this 81-year-old professor, a prominent public advocate of his view, has changed his life-long stand, then something is afoot. What might it be?

There are a number of ways to approach the falsity of Darwinism. If you visit the evolution section of silkroadtraveler.com you will find about 13 books on the subject. Of all those books, the one that seems to me most related to the reasoning of Flew is “Darwin’s Black Box.” 

Here are two quotes from the back cover “Mike Behe … makes an overwhelming case against Darwin on the biochemical level. No one has done this before. It is an argument of great originality, elegance and intellectual power. For readers who have been persuaded that biologists have long since demonstrated the validity of Darwinian theory, Behe’s observations are apt to be a source of astonishment.”

And again “Michael Behe has done a top-notch job of explaining and illuminating one of the most vexing problems in biology: the origin of the complexity that permeates all of life on this planet … This book should be on the essential reading list of all those who are interested in the question of where we came from, as it presents the most thorough and clever presentation of the design argument that I have seen.”

I agree with those two assessments. Behe explains that we now know much more than Darwin did about the details of the molecular design of cells and how they work. Darwin simply did not have this molecular knowledge available from the science of his day. When one sees the details, they are simply too much to assign to chance.

For example, a well-known argument against Darwinism is to observe that unless all details of the organ of the eye are in place simultaneously the eye will not function and will not give “survival value”. Behe looks at this traditional example (as one amongst others) quite carefully and takes it down to the molecular level. Once we see what is involved at the molecular level – we can no longer reasonably accept chance as the source of the evident design.

Here is one of his conclusions (p187):

“The impotence of Darwinian theory in accounting for the molecular basis of life is evident not only from the analyses in this book, but also from the complete absence in the professional scientific literature of any detailed models by which complex biochemical systems could have been produced, as shown in chapter 8. In the face of the enormous complexity that modern biochemistry has uncovered in the cell, the scientific community is paralyzed. No one at Harvard University, no one at the National Institutes of Health, no member of the National Academy of Sciences, no Nobel prize winner – no one at all can find a detailed account of how the cilium, or vision, or blood clotting, or any complex biochemical process might have developed in a Darwinian fashion. But we are here. Plants and animals are here. The complex systems are here. All these things got here somehow: if not in a Darwinian fashion, then how?”

I will extract one last quote from Behe (p232) that shows his writing style at its peak. Mostly I quote it for fun. It is long but I hope you will also enjoy it.

“Over the past four decades modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of the cell. The progress has been hard won. It has required tens of thousands of people to dedicate the better parts of their lives to the tedious work of the laboratory. Graduate students in untied tennis shoes scraping around the lab late on Saturday night; postdoctoral associates working fourteen hours a day seven days a week; professors ignoring their children in order to polish and re-polish grant proposals, hoping to shake a little money loose from politicians with larger constituencies to feed – these are the people that make scientific research move forward.

The knowledge we now have of life at the molecular level has been stitched together from innumerable experiments in which proteins were purified, genes cloned, electron micrographs take, cells cultured, structures determined, sequences compared, parameters varied, and controls done. Papers were published, results checked, reviews written, blind alleys searched, and new leads fleshed out.

The result of the cumulative efforts to investigate the cell – to investigate life at the molecular level – is a loud, clear, piercing cry of “design!” The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of
science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein, Lavoisier and Schrodinger, Pasteur, and Darwin. The observation of the intelligent design of life is as momentous as the observation that the earth goes around the sun or that disease is caused by bacteria or that radiation is emitted in quanta. The magnitude of the victory gained at such great cost through sustained effort over the course of decades, would be expected to send champagne corks flying in labs around the world. This triumph of science should evoke cries of “Eureka!” from ten thousand throats, should occasion much hand-slapping and high-fiving, and perhaps even be an excuse to take a day off.

But no bottles have been uncorked, no hands slapped. Instead, a curious, embarrassed silence surrounds the stark complexity of the cell. When the subject comes up in public, feet start to shuffle, and breathing gets a bit labored. In private people are a bit more relaxed; many explicitly admit the obvious but then stare the ground, shake their heads, and let it go at that.

Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? The dilemma is that while one side of the elephant is labeled intelligent design, the other side might be labeled God.”

Marvelous writing. Well, study Theosophy to learn about the whole elephant. And hurray for the courage of Flew.


At the start of this letter I promised two events. But the letter is getting long. Here is the beginning of an article from the Las Vegas Sun describing the second event:

Today: November 12, 2004 at 1:29:05 PST School Unit Mandates ‘Intelligent Design’ By MARTHA RAFFAELE ASSOCIATED PRESS DOVER, Pa. (AP) –
When talk at the high school here turns to the origins of life, biology teachers have to make time for both Charles Darwin as well as his detractors.

Last month, this rural south-central Pennsylvania community became first in the nation to mandate the teaching of “intelligent design,” which holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power.

Last month, the Dover Area School District board voted to overhaul its ninth-grade biology curriculum. It now requires students to learn about alternate theories to evolution, which holds that Earth is billions of years old and that life forms developed over millions of years.

Critics say it’s a veiled attempt to require public school children to learn creationism, a biblical-based view that credits the origin of species to God.


The above story isn’t over. The ACLU is fighting to prevent the introduction into the public classroom of evidence that Darwin and his materialistic hypothesis might be wrong. Other legal groups are arraigned against the ACLU.

Such is the battle array. I have no idea how this will turn out in the short run. But in the long run, truth will out.


To put this in a more specifically Theosophical context, as I mentioned in the July issue of the newsletter, Madame Blavatsky said “Modern Science is drawn more every day into the maëlstrom of Occultism; unconsciously, no doubt, still very sensibly.”

We see now that our new-found molecular understanding of the cell has pushed us yet more in a direction that confirms her assertion. Flew’s conversion, the discovery of molecular problems for Darwinism, the push for allowing the presentation in the classroom of the facts supporting intelligent design – all these are three more steps in the direction she predicted.

We maybe don’t notice this advance of Theosophical ideas on a daily basis – but it is alive and active in the world around us.

Reed Carson

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