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Political ID

Stanley Fish, that noted literary theorist and Post-Modern reader-response relativist, has posted a review of Steven Smith’s new book, The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse. I thought I was going to disagree with Fish, but I found myself in complete agreement (which might actually be Smith). Morality is “smuggled” into secular debate, into the “naked public square” through these presumably “religion-free” concepts like equality and fairness.

The corollary with ID is astonishing. The political “separation of church and state” is nearly identical with the scientific “methodological naturalism” (MN) principle. Just as MN requires “smuggling” of information to function, so Smith is acknowledging, and Fish agreeing, that the political world is having the same “smuggling” of morals leading to the same kind of crisis that ID is facing in science.

So two questions which work both directions:

1) What is the equivalent of ID in political science? — ideology? Burkean conservatism? Pragmatism?

2) What is the consequence of smuggling? What if Islamic values are smuggled in? What if materialism is smuggled in? How do we adjudicate?

Okay, now for the interesting part. Convert those to ID problems.

a) What is the equivalent of Burkean conservatism in ID? What does ideology look like in ID?

b) What is the consequence of smuggling ID into science? What if Koranic ID were smuggled (design is arbitrary and therefore indetectable)? What if Hindu ID were smuggled (design is in the fabric of space-time)? How do we adjudicate?

Looks like ID is going to be around a lot longer than anyone wants to admit.

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One Response to Political ID

  1. Nice stuff. Shameless plug: I said something similar in an article I published last year in the Journal of Law & Religion: “Must Theology Sit on the Back of the Secular Bus?” Find it here: http://homepage.mac.com/francis.beckwith/JLR2.pdf

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