Home » Intelligent Design » Fresh Divergence of Opinion at Biologos – Analogy versus Univocal Language

Fresh Divergence of Opinion at Biologos – Analogy versus Univocal Language

Who speaks for Biologos? Recently a divergence of opinion has arisen between Dennis Venema and others at Biologos over a literal understanding of Adam and Eve. Now a fresh question has arisen between Venema and a post by Mark Noll.

Dennis Venema gives reasons over at Biologos why he came to reject intelligent design and accept evolution. From Intelligent Design to BioLogos, Part 4: Reading Behe

He writes that ID ‘was an argument from analogy, ignorance and incredulity.’ Instead he was ‘looking for an argument from evidence.’

However, ID need not be seen as an argument from analogy, but is an inference to the best explanation involving univocal thinking. As Mark Noll writes, also over at Biologos, The Bible and Science Historically Considered, Part 2
creationism and ID depend upon univocal language between the divine intelligence and human intelligence. If that is so, then it is perfectly appropriate, as the best explanation, to compare human engineering systems with divine engineering , and see the order of the flagellum, or ATP synthase motor, or kinesin walking transporter, in that light.

ID is also not an argument from ‘ignorance and incredulity’, but the univocal belief leads us to the reject the need to reduce explanations to laws of physics and chemistry. Instead it leads us to offer explanations at the most appropriate level – i.e. the best level. It is also univocal ways of thinking that allow us to believe that the universe is intelligible, because of a correspondence between the Creator and humanity. This makes science possible because we can read the created order literally if there exists a degree of harmony between special revelation and general revelation.

It is though the pressure of naturalism that leads to us reject univocal thought patterns, but this will ultimately undermine science because naturalism doesn’t obligate us to read nature literally. Intelligent design proponents are thus the true custodians of science.

Venema also writes that ‘the 2005 Nature paper comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes’ was more satisfactory because it was as ‘argument from evidence.’ But the evidence presented in that paper comparing the two genomes can be read as common design instead of common descent. Ignoring a logical possibility does not lead us to truth in science. In the same way Enlightenment thinking rejects the miraculous because it is generally not part of our direct experience, but then calls such an approach rational. But in truth we need to see our own direct experience as being extremely limited in time and space, and we can only remain rational beings if we are fully aware of what we know and what we do not know. Otherwise we will be self-delusional as scientists if we reject logical possibilities and then think we are engaged in a search for truth.

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7 Responses to Fresh Divergence of Opinion at Biologos – Analogy versus Univocal Language

  1. “the 2005 Nature paper comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes’ was more satisfactory because it was as ‘argument from evidence.’ But the evidence presented in that paper comparing the two genomes can be read as common design instead of common descent.”

    Interesting. What do you mean by “common design”? Design by the same designer? Analogous to conclusions about monophyly (common descent) and its opposite polyphyly (independent descent), what is the opposite of common design, and when do you conclude either one?

  2. 1- ID and analogies: it should be noted that “their” position can’t even muster that for evidence- Seriously what can “they” point to for an analogy for accidents accumulating and constructing new, useful multi-part systems?

    2- The design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships meaning it is ignorance and incredulity, only, that drives the anti-ID agenda

  3. I just love how “thinking scientifically” is seen to be a replacement for thinking logically.

    I’d wager that this Venema has an incoherent worldview.

  4. Steno: “It is also univocal ways of thinking that allow us to believe that the universe is intelligible, because of a correspondence between the Creator and humanity. This makes science possible because we can read the created order literally if there exists a degree of harmony between special revelation and general revelation.”

    So ID is NOT about God or religion?

  5. ID is noy about God nor religion:

    “The Design Revolution”, page 25, Dembski writes:

    Intelligent Design has theological implications, but it is not a theological enterprise. Theology does not own intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a evangelical Christian thing, or a generally Christian thing or even a generally theistic thing. Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

    “Intelligent Design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief.”- Jonathan Wells “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design”

    In his book “Signature in the Cell” Stephen C. Meyer addresses the issue of Intelligent Design and religion:

    First, by any reasonable definition of the term, intelligent design is not “religion”.- page 441 under the heading Not Religion

  6. Common design does not require the same designer. Geez read IEEE standards- or standards for building houses, electrical standards, etc.

    IOW common design would mean all designed per the same standard.

  7. Ok. Common design = designed according to a common standard. So what does that mean? What is that standard? How do you decide what’s designed according to a common standard versus a different? / lower? / higher? standard? And, again, analogous to conclusions about monophyly (common descent) and its opposite polyphyly (independent descent), what is the opposite of common design, and when do you conclude either one?

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