Darwin Didn’t Get God Off the Hook
|October 30, 2007||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
As Michael Behe discusses in the article I linked in my last post, Darwinists Kenneth Miller and Francisco Ayala reject ID, because they believe it makes God (if one assumes God is the designer) culpable for all of the pain and misery in the natural world. Ayala goes so far as to suggest that ID is blasphemous because it implicates God in causing this pain and misery.
Miller and Ayala are wrong, and their error stems from their failure to understand elementary principles of culpability that any 1st year law student can stand and recite from memory.
Generally, the law recognizes four culpable mental states (mens rea for the Latin buffs). In descending order they are:
Intentional conduct. An actor acts intentionally when he specifically desires to achieve the consequences of his act.
Knowing conduct. An actor acts knowingly when he is aware that — whether or not he intends a result — it is practically certain that his conduct will cause the result.
Reckless conduct. An actor acts recklessly when he consciously disregards a known and substantial risk.
Negligence. An actor acts negligently when he fails to use the care a reasonably prudent person would have used.
Now, Miller and Ayala say that Darwinism gets God off the hook because it is an indirect process that works itself out through purely mechanical means. Therefore, by definition, no one can be said to have “intended” its results, such as the maleria parasite that kills millions.
The problem with this analysis is that it ignores three other levels of culpability. If God exists, then He must be a Being of supreme, indeed supernatural, knowledge and intelligence. Therefore, he must have known that it was practically certain that the mechanical process He set in motion would result in the consequences that have in fact resulted.
Even in the unlikely event that God did not know that the results were practically certain, it is inconceivable that He did not know that there was a substantial risk they would occur.
Finally, would a reasonable person in God’s position of practically infinite knowledge (a hypothetical “reasonable God”) have set in motion a process that resulted in untold pain and misery? The answer is clearly no.
In summary, therefore, Miller and Ayala may have gotten God off the hook for acting “intentionally” (though even that is debatable). But by no means have they gotten God off the hook for acting “knowingly,” “recklessly,” or “negligently.”
Before anyone accuses me of blasphemy, let me hasten to assure you that I think there are answers to the “problem of evil” that vexes Miller and Ayala so. I do not intend to suggest otherwise. My purpose is simply to point out that Miller’s and Ayala’s purported reason for rejecting ID because it implicates God in the problem of evil does not stand up under scrutiny.