“Is James Shapiro a Design Theorist?”: James Shapiro Replies to Bill Dembski
|January 16, 2012||Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Self-Org. Theory, News|
Dembski writes (Dembski’s opener here. ):
So Shapiro admits that the basic structures required for life are unexplained within his framework, and yet intelligent design is off the table. But why should it be off the table? In the last quote above, he interprets ID as requiring constant supernatural interventions. But ID is hardly limited in that way, a point he tacitly admits in the quote before that: “the ID argument is greatly undermined if it has to invoke supernatural intervention for the origin of each modified adaptive structure.” Note the conditional.
ID does not have to invoke supernatural interventions for every modified adaptive structure. Indeed, ID does not have to invoke supernatural interventions at all. ID only requires that intelligence acted in the formation of biological systems. How that intelligence acted — the precise timing and mode of implementation — is left wide open.
My response: These statements are confusing. Is Dembski saying that he abandons the supernatural as a component of ID? If so, then we can start a real scientific dialogue about the possible natures of intelligence, teleology and design in biology and how to investigate them both theoretically and experimentally. However, if he does not want to abandon the supernatural (as Michael Behe has repeatedly told me he does not) and if he wishes always to have recourse to a literal Deus ex Machina, then we cannot have a serious scientific discussion. Doing that requires respecting the naturalistic limits of science. I think it would be a very positive development for ID proponents to give up on all theological crutches and engage in a strictly naturalistic inquiry, independent of whatever their beliefs in final causes may be. Is Bill Dembski willing to do that?
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