Hope, not Proof
|March 26, 2006||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
In my prior post I said (actually, as one commenter pointed out, I meant to say), ID gives us reason to hope for freedom from Darwinism and its implications with respect to objective morality. One commenter asked what ID has to do with establishing an objective basis for morality. The answer, of course, is nothing. ID is a scientific theory. It is not a system of ethics or even the basis for a system of ethics. As has been pointed out many times, ID says nothing about the nature of the designer or his/her/its ultimate purposes. The designer may be supernatural, but the theory does not posit a supernatural designer; nor is the existence of a supernatural designer necessary for its validity.
That said, ID does have implications for ethics and morality.
Because while ID does not depend upon a supernatural designer, it does not exclude a supernatural designer either. ID does not speak of Ã¢â‚¬â€œ far less prove the existence of Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the God in which I believe, but it is not incompatible with His existence. And therein lies the basis for my hope. Maybe, just maybe I say, the designer is in fact a supernatural God, and maybe that God has established a transcendent moral standard that gives us a firm foundation for ethics and principles of justice. I personally believe both of these things, but I believe them on faith, a reasoned and reasonable faith, but faith nevertheless.
I am firmly convinced that the God I worship exists, but I candidly admit I could be wrong. Over the centuries many philosophers have tried to prove the existence of God, and while many of their proofs are quite impressive, none is logically compelling. There is no ultimate or final Ã¢â‚¬Å“proofÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in the apodictic sense of that word Ã¢â‚¬â€œ of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s existence, and at the end of the day we must admit that, if He exists, God has given us freedom to doubt or even deny Him.
Logically, therefore, I am forced to admit at least the possibility that metaphysical naturalism (and its handmaiden Darwinism) could be true. And if naturalism is true, the cold, dark and frightening nihilism of Nietzsche and his intellectual progeny is the only clear-eyed way to look at the world.
Many people say Darwinism is a scientific theory, and as such does not speak to morality or ethics. Strictly speaking, this is true, but like ID, Darwinism also has profound implications for morality and ethics. It is not for nothing that Dawkins said Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. And as Nietzsche was honest enough to admit, an atheist is compelled to say that morality, ethics and justice are illusions. The only thing that exists is a brutal competition of wills. There is no right and wrong. There is only strong and weak. The 20th century was one long bloody lesson in the practical application of NietzscheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas.
We must always be very careful to distinguish between our science and our metaphysics. ID is science and Darwinism is science. Neither ID nor Darwinism addresses morality, ethics or justice, but both have implications for these matters. ID is consistent with my hope that a loving God exists Who has established a transcendent moral order. Darwinism is consistent with atheism, which in turn is inconsistent with the very idea of objective morality.
In summary, naturalism may be true, but ID gives me reason to believe that it is not necessarily true. Unlike Oliver Wendell Holmes, I have reason to hope. This is a fairly simple distinction, and it never ceases to amaze me that so many people seem unable to grasp it.