POV: Ayn Rand excerpts on Religion
by Ayn Rand | 1988
The New Atheists
by The Editors | December 05, 2014
Religion in America
by The Editors | December 05, 2014
Religion vs. Freedom
by Onkar Ghate | December 03, 2014
Bernie Madoff, Steve Jobs, and Wall Street Greed
by Don Watkins | September 26, 2013
Abortion Rights Are Pro-life
by Leonard Peikoff | January 23, 2013
Capitalism without Guilt
by Yaron Brook | January 21, 2013
Does America Need Ayn Rand or Jesus?
by Onkar Ghate | June 29, 2011
The Guilt Pledge
by Don Watkins | September 22, 2010
Our Moral Code Is Out of Date
by Yaron Brook | September 16, 2010
Atlas Shrugged’s Timeless Moral: Profit-Making Is Virtue, Not Vice
by Yaron Brook | July 20, 2010
Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays
by Onkar Ghate | December 18, 2009
No More Green Guilt
by Keith Lockitch | May 01, 2009
No “Footprint,” No Life
by Keith Lockitch | January 09, 2009
The Easter Masquerade
by Keith Lockitch | March 22, 2008
After Ten Years, States Still Resist Assisted Suicide
by Tom Bowden | November 02, 2007
It Isn’t Easy Being Green
by Keith Lockitch | October 16, 2007
The Road to 9/11: How America's Selfless Policies Unleashed the Jihadists
by Elan Journo | September 10, 2007
The Real Disgrace: Washington’s Battlefield “Ethics”
by Elan Journo | July 28, 2007
Atlas Shrugged — America's Second Declaration of Independence
by Onkar Ghate | March 01, 2007
Religion and Morality
by Onkar Ghate | October 18, 2006
The Jihad on America
by Elan Journo | Fall 2006
The Conservatives’ War on Birth Control
by Keith Lockitch | September 18, 2006
“Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense
by Yaron Brook | Spring 2006
The Twilight of Freedom of Speech
by Onkar Ghate | February 21, 2006
“Intelligent Design” Is about Religion versus Reason
by Keith Lockitch | December 11, 2005
Creationism in Camouflage: The “Intelligent Design” Deception
by Keith Lockitch | November 17, 2005
The Foreign Policy of Guilt
by Onkar Ghate | September 29, 2005
The Bait and Switch of “Intelligent Design”
by Keith Lockitch | August 04, 2005
The Faith-Based Attack on Rational Government
by Tom Bowden | June 27, 2005
The “Sin” of Pride
by Edwin Locke | May 18, 2005
Morality of War
by Yaron Brook | September 09, 2004
Council on Bioethics Antagonistic to Man’s Well-Being
by Elan Journo | April 08, 2004
A Passion Against Man
by Onkar Ghate | March 15, 2004
America vs. Americans
by Leonard Peikoff | April 21, 2003
“End States Who Sponsor Terrorism”
by Leonard Peikoff | October 02, 2001
Fact and Value
by Leonard Peikoff | May 18, 1989
On Moral Sanctions
by Peter Schwartz | May 18, 1989
Religious Terrorism vs. Free Speech
by Leonard Peikoff | 1989
Lexicon excerpts on Religion
by Ayn Rand | 1988
Religion vs. America
by Leonard Peikoff | 1986
The Sanction of the Victims
by Ayn Rand | November 21, 1981
The Age of Mediocrity
by Ayn Rand | April 26, 1981
The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age
by Ayn Rand | 1961


Culture And Society in Voice for Reason
Culture & SocietyReligion & Morality

“Intelligent Design” Is about Religion versus Reason

by Keith Lockitch | December 11, 2005

In his Dec. 2 Op-Ed, “Atheists can’t prove it, either,” Robert Camp criticized my Nov. 17 lecture in Irvine on “intelligent design” creationism, though without mentioning me by name.

Camp was unhappy that, in addition to discussing the flaws of “intelligent design,” I also criticized religion in general. The creationism controversy, he feels, is a “scientific and pedagogical issue,” not a clash between reason and religion.

But the view that “intelligent design” is a scientific position, to be answered with scientific arguments, is — as I explained in my talk — precisely the view its promoters are desperate to convey. Though they have no data supporting their claims, their arguments are carefully calculated to appearscientific and non-religious. Why? In hope of skirting the constitutional ban on religion in public schools. This is why the title of my lecture (which Camp also failed to mention) was “Creationism in Camouflage: the ‘Intelligent Design’ Deception.”

What makes “intelligent design” an inherently religious viewpoint is its appeal to a supernatural “designer.” This appeal brings it directly into conflict with reason, because the very notion of the supernatural — of something “beyond” nature that defies natural laws — is a contradiction. As I argued in my lecture, one cannot properly oppose the efforts of “intelligent design” creationists without rejecting their attempt to make the “supernatural” part of science.

Although Camp, himself, claims to be “intellectually opposed to supernatural ideas,” he finds it troubling that I would dare to proclaim in a public lecture that the idea of the “supernatural” provably contradicts the facts of reality. Ssshhh! Don’t let the religious folks hear you!

Especially troubling to Camp, was my rejection of the belief that supernaturalism is necessary for morality — the belief that without God there can be no absolute standards of right and wrong. “The last thing we need,” he explains, “is a bunch of people who believe they have no internal moral compass to be running around without their external one.”

What he ignores, however, is the possibility of a scientific, provable code of ethics — a moral philosophy based neither on subjective, “internal” feelings nor on “external” religious dogmas. A particularly telling omission was Camp’s failure to mention that my lecture was sponsored by The Ayn Rand Institute (my employer). This is relevant because Ayn Rand’s ethic of rational egoism provides precisely the alternative moral system that Camp ignores in his critique.

Rand locates absolute standards of right and wrong in the objective requirements of human life. In her view, morality arises from the fact that we, like all living beings, must pursue values in order to survive. Unlike the lower animals, however, we are not pre-programmed for survival. To define our values and guide our choices in life, we need a code of moral principles — principles based on the unalterable facts of human nature and of man’s long-range survival needs.

Rand’s ethical system — and, more generally, her philosophy of Objectivism — comprises the positive message underlying the ideas in my talk. But apparently, it is the very advancement of a positive system of philosophy that Camp really objects to. He finds it “reasonable” to be an atheist, but not to defend the view that atheism, or any other idea in philosophy, is a provably rational viewpoint. “I think they’re wrong, too,” he says, “but there is no, nor can there be, proof of it.” Strangely, he seems to think it is “unreasonable” to defend the importance of reason.

What his viewpoint dismisses is the essential difference between reason and faith. In reason, one accepts only conclusions one can prove to be true — conclusions based on sensory evidence and logical inference from such evidence. Faith, on the other hand, is belief unsupported by facts or logic — the blind embrace of ideas despite an absence of evidence or proof.

The only ideas that are reasonable to believe are those you know to be true by means of reason. And when you know them to be true, it is perfectly reasonable to argue in their defense and fight against false ideas, like creationism, that stand opposed to them.

About The Author

Keith Lockitch

Vice President of Education and Senior Fellow, Ayn Rand Institute