Home » Intelligent Design » Theology corner: Why is the ID guy at the open theology conference a pork chop at a Jewish wedding?

Theology corner: Why is the ID guy at the open theology conference a pork chop at a Jewish wedding?

Recently, a caffeine-deprived friend was grousing about the fact that ID proponents don’t tend to be welcomed at “open theology” conferences.

“Open theology” implies a much more limited sort of God than the Immortal, invisible, God only wise of the Western monotheist (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) tradition.

Now, it’s unclear to me why the ID guys, who are mostly hard math and science types, should even want to hang out with these children of a lesser god. But my friend insisted on hearing the view from O’Leary’s Point, so here goes. And I have followed it up with a testable prediction, too:

First, what is theistic evolution? Basically, its message is this: Our God is so powerful that you can see no evidence of his presence in the creation of life (though, for some reason, you can see such evidence if you look at outer space). That’s genome mapper Francis Collins’ approach.

As a traditional Christian, I am handicapped in even considering theistic evolution (TE), not because I have a problem with evolution as such, but by the many places in Scripture where the whole creation, including life – together with its imperfections – is said to provide evidence of God’s work. Forced to choose, I consider the TEs more likely to be wrong than the Scriptures.

Now, TE is marketed to Christians mainly as an escape from, say, Kent Hovind vs. Lenny Flank. Many would rather spend an evening watching catfights in the back alley.

The devil, however, is in the details. Pressed to explain why God’s work is not evident in the design of life, the theistic evolutionist announces that Darwin’s theory explains how life comes into existence and develops into the plenitude of forms that we see today without any input from God.

But strangely, while life forms, which are staggeringly complex, can easily perform such a feat, the cosmos itself cannot. No no, the typical theistic evolutionist protests, that couldn’t be done without God. The universe is fine-tuned for life to come into existence.

Yet many cosmologists think the cosmos can do just that. And their evidence is no better or worse than the Darwinists’ evidence. Like the Darwinists, these cosmologists start with their conclusion and place enormous weight on some pretty slender branches of evidence. Then they command you to believe because materialism is true.

(Materialists are like all other sects, except for one critical difference: They generally do not hold out a collection plate or wave a sign on the street. They scalp your tax money to promote their philosophy in the school system and make your kids study from their books.)

So now what becomes of our dear old theistic evolution?

Well, up to now, we have been making certain assumptions about God, right? “Immortal, invisible, God only wise … ” as the old song goes. We have assumed that we must decide between that God or no God.

And if we decide that the evidence from nature favours an omnipotent God, we must treat the Scriptural accounts as evidence too. We do not have to accept the Scriptures in a fundamentalist way, but we must consider them evidence. That means we must confront the fact that Scripture insists that God’s hand IS evident in the design of life. So we should not be surprised to find such evidence, any more than we should be surprised to find that the cosmos is apparently fine-tuned for life. There is no reason in either case to feel compelled to explain away the evidence as arising accidentally from brute forces – let alone to accept large promises from the materialists that some day someone will prove such a proposition.

Materialists can currently compel your tax money, but they cannot compel you to accept their IOUs. Not yet, anyway.

So bye, bye TE. Put simply, what TE is trying to do doesn’t need doing. So it has morphed mainly into an opposition to ID – an opposition which becomes less and less coherent as the materialist agenda becomes more obvious.

For example, one often hears TE’s blaming the ID folk for starting trouble with materialists. Which raises the question of why they themselves haven’t. With arch-Darwinist Dawkins planning to mail tons of anti-God crapola to Brit schools and an evolutionary biologist declaring that ID-sympathetic students should be flunked, the TEs are merely making their irrelevance plain to everyone.

But there is another possibility! Some reluctantly agree with ID that there is evidence for God – but guess what, he is NOT the God portrayed in Scripture. He bungles. He goofs. He’s kinda smart, but he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

What difference does that make? Well, if you got struck blind, the open God would say, “Crikey! What bad luck! I shoulda seen that coming, Awful sorry there, fella, I wasn’t paying attention …. Tell you what, I’ll … ”

He would NOT say “Who gives [man] sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” and inform you, with no further explanation, of your next tour of duty.

Okay, so where are we now? We have a god. Actually, why be exclusivist? We could have lots of gods. We could be back in pagan culture, with the lovable and irresponsible gods. They don’t damn people, because they don’t give a damn – but they do damage them. They are divinized celebrities. Watch the Ring Cycle and you will get the idea, especially Gotterdammitall, where the gods go up in smoke.

So, why might my ID friend’s theology-prone buddies not be welcome at open theology conferences? Well, open theologians are their competitors! Open theologians can make the same claims as ID. They can  go ahead and attribute the design of life, alongwith its apparent flaws, to the equivalent of Wotan or – better yet – to an anthropomorphized force.

Darwin, meet Carl Jung.

See, as materialism slowly throttles itself, anyone with a non-materialist idea sees an opportunity. It’ll be wild and woolly.

Conclusion: If ID were not so closely associated with a traditional “Almighty” concept of God, ID guys would be more welcome at open theo conferences.

Testable prediction:  The open-ists will probably permit the hearty priestesses of Gaia to declaim, and now and then they will host a pundit known as something like Thundercloud who claims to be a male witch, and assures you that he is in touch with himself, or some part of himself ….

Go ahead, I told my friend. Call me wrong – until they actually do it. Meanwhile, let the professoriat hold forth with predictions that do not come true – for example that the Dover trial was a curtain call for ID.

Now, for me, back to journalism. For him, back to teaching.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

70 Responses to Theology corner: Why is the ID guy at the open theology conference a pork chop at a Jewish wedding?

  1. “Materialists are like all other sects, except for one critical difference: They generally do not hold out a collection plate or wave a sign on the street. They scalp your tax money to promote their philosophy in the school system and make your kids study from their books.”

    Great Stuff!

  2. Denyse,

    I am struggling to understand what you are getting at but I note from the link that Robin Collins is a participant and he is quite involved in ID – isn’t he a fellow of the DI?

    Also you mention Gaia. I believe that there is rich potential for synergy between ID and Gaia proponents. The Gaia hypothesis (aka ‘earth systems science’ in the US) could easily be reinterpeted as say ‘planetary ID’. They have done hard work in establishing themselves as a scientific discipline (albeit not a mainstream one). This could serve as a good model for ID. An interesting thing they have in common is that both ideas are despised by Darwinists because they are teleological. James Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia has some interesting snippets about Darwinian opposition to their early ideas.

  3. I would also add that a link up between ID and Gaia proponents would be a great acid test as to whether ID is wedded to Christian theology or not. As Denyse intimated, Gaia is often strongly associated with new-age philosophy.

  4. “As a traditional Christian, I am handicapped in even considering theistic evolution (TE), not because I have a problem with evolution as such, but by the many places in Scripture where the whole creation, including life – together with its imperfections – is said to provide evidence of God’s work. Forced to choose, I consider the TEs more likely to be wrong than the Scriptures.”

    How do you tell that the two options are mutually exclusive? Do TEs in general suggest the Scriptures are wrong?

    “Yet many cosmologists think the cosmos can do just that. And their evidence is no better or worse than the Darwinists’ evidence. Like the Darwinists, these cosmologists start with their conclusion and place enormous weight on some pretty slender branches of evidence. Then they command you to believe because materialism is true.”

    Is string theory science? Is multiple universe theory science? A materialist gives possible explanations as to how the universe could have formed. But unless their theories are falsifiable and make verifiable predictions, I don’t think it is science, and I don’t think the scientific community thinks it is science either. I don’t think anyone has trouble with the idea that evolution is falsifiable. IDists show their evidence that falsifies it. Evolutionists show how their evidence verifies their predictions. To me, it seems that there is no question as to whether evolution is falsifiable, but I don’t get the same sense regarding multiverse theory or string theory. (Well, I don’t know a lot about string theory, but I’ve heard a lot of people suggest it isn’t science).
    —-

    More about multiverses. Suppose a different universe exists with different physical laws and constants. In addition this hypothetical universe is very fine tuned, even more so than ours. Let’s further say it has more physical dimensions, more time dimensions, amongst other amazing characteristics I cannot even imagine. The more I think about it, the more I realize how analogous such a universe would be to the spiritual realm. When we use the term “supernatural”, we really mean an order of things that are alien to our universe. In that sense, a different universe is also supernatural. Or, I sometimes think, why don’t we just say that the spiritual realm is natural, just like people would say a different universe is natural? It seems to me that multiverse theory isn’t any more scientific than Christian theology.

  5. antg,

    You are correct about Robin Collins. Robin Collins is a TE, and a fellow of the DI. (He happens to have a very good essay on atonement theory, which has helped illuminate my Christian faith to a large degree).

    It seems that some in the DI are welcoming of cosmological IDists even if they believe in evolution. I think Salvador’s thoughts on Francis Collins is at least one example of someone who greatly appreciates the contributions of cordial TEs, but there are others who think the Big Tent, is too big. Others appear to be somewhat antagonistic towards people like Francis Collins.

    Any relation between Francis Collins and Robin Collins? I greatly respect them both.

  6. Denyse,
    You have made the essential point. Christian IDists start with a conception of God created in them by the scriptures. The Christian God is a certain kind of God. As you say, a God who will leave tracks. On the other hand, the God of theistic evolution doesn’t leave tracks or if he/she/it/them does, it’s in the creation of the universe-initial conditions which inexorably lead to life. These are two different Gods. For a long time I didn’t understand the antipathy I saw from IDists to TE’s. But, your really talking about two different Gods, and Christian IDists don’t believe the God of the TE’s is the God of the bible.

  7. bj, denyse, and whoever else,

    If I remember correctly, TEs generally believe humans are set apart from other species in terms of their relationship with God. It seems reasonable and consistent to me to believe that God may have no need to intervening the process he originated until a species came along which God has ordained to have a special relationship with. At that time, miracles and divine intervention are to be expected from time to time. Having said that, TEs also believe that nature itself is the creation of God, and that what God does, is often what occurs through natural processes. Perhaps the universe is even more fine-tuned that biological IDists would admit to, because the fine-tuning of the cosmos that TEs believe is advanced enough to permit evolution and the origins of man, whereas biological IDists believe that the origins of man requires more continual intervention (perhaps due to lack of fine-tuning). In principal I don’t think ID and TE is very far apart. The amount of fine-tuning required by an out of this universe intelligence is about equal in both hypotheses.

  8. Excellent, Denyse!

  9. Hi Paul,
    “In principal I don’t think ID and TE is very far apart. The amount of fine-tuning required by an out of this universe intelligence is about equal in both hypotheses.”

    This seems right at a first look, but both parties seem to hold that there are different and significant elements between their respective philosophies. One of the those elements is that some, perhaps many, Christian IDists do not believe in common descent. This puts a vast gulf between them and TE’s.

  10. As one of the open theists who will be participating at the “Open Theology and Science” conference, I have two points to make.

    First, many open theists, like myself, are proponents of ID, both cosmic and biological.

    Second, Denyse’s characterization of open theism as being committed to a “limited” or “lesser god” that “bungles” and “goofs” is nothing short of an out-and-out straw man. Open theists are committed to a robust monotheism that ascribes to God maximal knowledge, power, and goodness. The view is fully compatible with divine omniscience, understood as knowing all and only truths (as I argue in forthcoming article in Faith and Philosophy). It is also compatible with divine sovereignty, because the world is exactly as open – no more, no less – than God wants it to be.

  11. antg

    Gaia could certainly fit into the big tent. Lynn Margulis (endosymbiosis fame and Carl Sagan’s ex) is the other big flag carrier for it besides Lovelock. Allen MacNeil said she was a good friend of his. Both Allen and Lynn have proclaimed the death of NDE but still eschew ID. At least Allen does. I don’t know about Lynn.

  12. Paul

    It seems that some in the DI are welcoming of cosmological IDists even if they believe in evolution.

    These include deists like Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein who believe the universe was created and unfolded according to a plan. Deists don’t have any particular argument about not being able to detect design in nature that I’m aware of.

  13. “…not because I have a problem with evolution as
    such, but by the many places in Scripture where the whole creation, including life – together with its imperfections – is said to provide evidence of God’s work. Forced to choose, I consider the TEs more likely to be wrong than the Scriptures.”

    What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean you reject TE, not based on evidence and reason, but based on what Scripture tells you? And why does TE go against Scripture? Do you have to have empirical evidence to have faith? Does an omnipotent God have to leave blatant evidence that he struck a person blind for us to know that it was in his control? I, as a TE, believe through faith that all things are in His control, but I don’t need empirical evidence to prove this to me. I accept it on FAITH. “By grace are ye saved, through FAITH…” It is my opinion that the very existence of the universe is all the evidence I need to know that there is a god, the rest is based on my personal relationship with Him and the faith that has been given to me.

  14. I think my apologetics hero, William Lane Craig, considers himself an Open Theist. I could be wrong. Anyone know?

  15. Scott,

    Craig takes a view called “middle knowledge” which seems to be halfway between Calvinism and Arminianism. I don’t think I could adequately describe it off the top of my head. But, I’m confident it is different than open theism.

  16. bj, you are right that many IDists don’t believe in common descent, but I think the majority of the big name IDists that I know of do believe in common descent. The list would include (to my knowledge) Dembski and Behe, who are perhaps the biggest two names in the Intelligent Design community. So, if there is a gulf between TE and ID because of common descent, you would also have to acknowledge that there is a gulf within the ID community. There may be a lesser difference between Francis Collins and Behe then there is between Behe and Paul Nelson.

  17. Ahhh, that’s right Paul. Thanks. He’s essentially a Baptist in that regard, it would seem.

    Cool.

  18. Open theists are committed to a robust monotheism that ascribes to God maximal knowledge, power, and goodness.

    Alan, one problem I’ve found with defenders of TE is that they only seem to be defending it against ID, which by definition is something to which they should subscribe.

    I never see a TE proponent standing up to a Darwinian materialist.

  19. “I never see a TE proponent standing up to a Darwinian materialist.”

    Then you didn’t see all the flack Ken Miller got from the materialists about his little talk in Kansas… there was a huge fuss made about it on the Panda’s Thumb a while back.

  20. Hi Paul,

    “bj, you are right that many IDists don’t believe in common descent, but I think the majority of the big name IDists that I know of do believe in common descent. The list would include (to my knowledge) Dembski and Behe, who are perhaps the biggest two names in the Intelligent Design community. So, if there is a gulf between TE and ID because of common descent, you would also have to acknowledge that there is a gulf within the ID community. There may be a lesser difference between Francis Collins and Behe then there is between Behe and Paul Nelson.”

    I am probably just uninformed here, but I didn’t know Prof. Dembski believed in common descent, but I know Behe does. You are right about the difference of opinion within ID regarding common descent. I have been of the opinion that ID will never be taken seriously as a science until it accepts the reality of common descent, but I know some will disagree.

    I am also struck by Denyse’s statement about scripture informing what to look for in nature regarding design. I thought that was the general definition of creationism-those who used sacred writings to guide their understanding of what to find in nature. However, I may have misunderstood her comments.

  21. Tribune,

    You may be right about few TE standing up to Darwinists. For what it’s worth, I’m not a TE, nor is there anything in open theology proper that ought to incline one to TE.

    Regards,

    Alan

  22. Tribune, you may want to see the debate between Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins in a recent issue of Time magazine (or read Collins’ “Language of God”). UC also posted a debate between David Quinn and Richard Dawkins a month or two ago. Both Collins and Quinn are TEs. I also know Kenneth Millers’ book “Finding Darwin’s God” attacks those who mix up philosophical naturalism with science.

  23. bj, after your last post, I’m unsure what you believe. My prior post to you assumed that you would consider yourself part of the ID camp. Perhaps this is the case, but if it is not, then my post to you may not make a lot of sense.

    Regarding what Dembski believes about common descent, I think he has said things that implies he does. Come to think of it, I do find it interesting that I can’t think of anything he has said that would positively affirm that. He tends to be a little more ambiguous. It may be tactful for him not to say, seeing that he is a leader of a movement that welcomes people on either side of that particular issue.

    But, I see your point that it will be difficult to get scientific recognition without positively affirming a 13 billion years old universe and rejecting a view that thinks it is 6000 years old. It is quite understandable why a person of one view will think the other view is completely nuts judging the rather large magnitude between the two numbers. I was a YEC for the vast majority of my 28 years here on earth. It was quite the pill to swallow when I came to grasps that I was wrong. If ID were to leave behind the YECs, they would be sacrificing their largest segment of followers. If they want general public approval, for the time being that means a big tent including YEC. If they want approval from the scientific community, they need to burn some bridges, and focus more on the science, and less on public relations. But, realistically, I don’t think burning the bridge with YECs is going to help a whole lot.

  24. Tribune, another example came to mind. I’ve been reading a bit from Panda’s Thumb lately, and one of their thread authors, “PvM” is a Christian, who is continually standing up to those who think religion is all a bunch of hooey. Now, he is quite negative towards ID, and for myself, I intend to be a bit more cordial than he is. But, I think because there are voices such as his out there, scientific materialists won’t be so quick to fail students if they don’t sign the Darwinian creed.

  25. OK, Alan fair enough about open theology.

  26. Paul, I appreciate what you are saying. I have not read Time for many years so I can’t comment on that.

    Miller sends far more fire our way — usually unfairly — than he does at the materialists, and he seems to think we are a much bigger threat. I think that’s kind of strange.

  27. Classic:

    But there is another possibility! Some reluctantly agree with ID that there is evidence for God – but guess what, he is NOT the God portrayed in Scripture. He bungles. He goofs. He’s kinda smart, but he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

    What difference does that make? Well, if you got struck blind, the open God would say, “Crikey! What bad luck! I shoulda seen that coming, Awful sorry there, fella, I wasn’t paying attention …. Tell you what, I’ll … ”

    You pointed it – idolatry!

    Besides who wants to worship and depend on a God like that? No thank you.

  28. Alan, good to see you’re a supporter, looked at your blog briefly and noticed the links to here and IDtF. But what do you think the general view is within the O’Theo?

    Also, if anyone has not seen the Philosopher’s football match between the Greeks and the Germans, it is quite worthy of thought, with a brief moment of inspiration.

    From Alan’s blog, I give you – Philosopher PhilosoFoe; YouTube,
    http://www.alanrhoda.net/blog/.....chive.html
    A match made in history… or was it?

  29. Whoops… forgot to say, you’ll need to scroll down almost to the bottom to watch the video. LOL…, just seeing Marx warm-up, run, then….

  30. Perhaps Darwinists could mail tons of “anti God (“abstract”, “conceptual” immaterial unidentified intelligent agent) crapola to Jack Trevors and David Abel… It wouldn’t change anything…

  31. DaveScot,

    Do you know if anyone has looked at the ID-Gaia relationship? I know Bill asked the question recently. Are there any links you can suggest.

    btw, Lynn Margulis still calls herself a Darwinist, according to Michael Shermer’s ‘Woodstock of Evolution’ article.

  32. Hi Paul,
    I am interested in ID from a philosophical point of view, but have found the movement difficult to understand at times. Is it science or religion or both? Your last paragraph is actually quite helpful. thanks

  33. Michael7 asked:
    “But what do you think the general view is within the O’Theo?”

    From my interaction with other open theists, I don’t get the impression that there is any ‘general view’ on ID, as contrasted, say, with YEC or TE. If there is more ‘openness’ to TE among open theists than among Christians generally, that is not because of anything to do with open theism per se, but rather because of demographics. Most of the more conservative denominations, with the exception of some Arminian and pentecostal denominations, are rather hostile to open theism. (Often because of straw-man type arguments, unfortunately.) Open theism is more tolerated among the more liberal wings of Christianity. Since it’s the more conservative denominations that are typically more friendly to ID and YEC, and the more liberal ones that are typically more friendly to TE, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a great many open theists are also TE’s. But there are also a great many who are not TE’s (like myself), and it’s important to remember that open theism as such is neutral on ID/YEC/TE matters.

  34. This is a really, really poor and unfair reading of TE. TE’s do not deny that God is evident in creation, nor do they deny the scriptures like Psalm 19 that say this. What TE’s deny is that there is specific evidence of design in creation apart from the “ordinary” symmetry and beauty of the “natural” created order. TE’s argue that their approach is more true to Biblical texts such as Psalm 19. After all, Psalm 19 says the “heavens” — the ordinary nature we see all around us — evidence God’s glory. The assumption of Psalm 19 and similar passages is that God made all of creation and that all of it displays His glory. This is very different than an ID position that says “this particular aspect of the created order can’t be explained by those beautiful natural laws and therefore proves God made it.” The latter assertion may or may not have merit on its own, and may or may not be important as we try to interpret Gen. 1 and 2, but the argument that it is somehow more Biblical than a TE position based on passages like Psalm 19 is unfair bunk.

    Further, you are ignoring a deep thread of theology that runs through TE here, which is the notion of the “hiddenness” of God and the Reformed aversion to natural theology. Luther and others in the Reformed tradition largely rejected the Catholic Scholastic approach to faith, revelation, and reason, which tended to give reason an autonomous status, such that people could know quite a bit about God based on human reason alone. The reformers (and some Catholic thinkers, notably Pascal), said this is not so: God is “hidden,” in the sense that, although we can see something of God generally in creation, we cannot really know anything about Him apart from revelation. The TE position here arguably is much more in line with the Reformed tradition than the ID position. That doesn’t make TE or ID right or wrong, but it illustrates that you’re stepping on a deep fault line in Christian theology here — not something you can or should make into a polemic against TE.

    Finally, as to whether and why TE’s aren’t invited to “open theism” meetings, if that’s the case, I suspect it’s partly because many TE’s take a strong, Reformed view of God’s sovereignty. The evangelical TE’s I know hold that God sovereignly directs every little step of evolution. This obviously clashes head-on with open theism. OTOH, I’ve read some TE’s who I think essentially are open theists or close to it, so frankly I doubt that this claim about being invited to conferences it sustainable.

    The clash within the evangelical camp between ID and TE is stupid. I’m not convinced by every TE argument, but neither am I convinced by every ID argument. A third way needs to develop, and the ideologues in both the TE and ID camps need to lay down their rhetorical swords, stop misrepresenting each other, and cooperate.

  35. I’m not convinced by every TE argument, but neither am I convinced by every ID argument. A third way needs to develop, . . .

    How is TE incompatible with ID?

  36. dopderbeck,

    I found your response quite informative. I have a question regarding Reform theology and science. In your first paragraph you made reference to “beautiful natural laws” and in your 3rd paragraph you say that evangelical TEs believe God directed every step of evolution. To, me these statements are in tension, or even in contradiction. I can understand the view that God directed evolution through the creation of natural laws, but I don’t have the impression that is what you are saying. Maybe its stuff like this that draws me away from Reformed theology. I can’t seem to sort out the apparent contradictions. How do you sort through it?

  37. Paul,

    I don’t see the contradiction. Physical laws are not truly deterministic. They set boundaries, but various things can happen within those boundaries, and outcomes, particularly in complex systems, can’t be predicted with any certainty (and can’t really be predicted at all at the quantum level). Thus, we can use words like “random” and “chance” even though the universe is governed by natural laws. To the materialst, evolution truly happened by “chance,” meaning not only that evolution is uncorrolated with observable outside causes, but also that there is no external force, intelligence, purpose, etc. guiding evolution.

    The Reformed view (and really I’d suggest, generally, any orthodox Christian view) is that nothing happens truly by “chance” or “randomly.” God is sovereign, which means that He knows and directs even events that we cannot correlate with any observable cause. Further, because God is sovereign, the universe is contingent on God’s will and depends on Him for its continued existence (in theological terms, God continually “sustains” the creation).

    This is where the notion of the “hiddenness” of God becomes important. We do not possess the mind of God, and therefore we do not expect to be able, ordinarily, to discern God’s sovereign will and sustanance of creation, apart from appreciating the beauty and orderliness of physical laws. Generally, we need special revelation (the Bible) to instruct us concerning the specifics of God’s plans — although we sometimes can see God working, or see how He has worked, in some limited ways through circumstances (for example, when everything “just happens” to line up just right so my friend for whom I’ve been praying gets that job he so desperately needs). So we are tying together here the doctrines of creation, providence, revelation, and scripture, and they fit together very nicely. I’d recommend to you here the work of Thomas Torrance, which traces many of these themes.

    To make this a little more concrete, think of the End Cretacious extinction (and let’s just assume for now it was caused by a massive meteor or comet strike and that the story of it making room for mammals is true). We can explain that event and its aftermath in purely natural terms. Yet, we could also say it was unlikely that a comet would strike the earth at just the right place and time to clear out the dinosaurs and allow mammals to diversify. The theological TE perspective is that this was one of those many events that happened in God’s sovereign plan so that humans possessing the imago Dei eventually could occupy the Earth. Of course, this is a particularly dramatic event, and most events in natural history seem mundane. But the theological perspective is that the way this all came together, in a way that ultimately is unkowable by us, came together within God’s sovereign plans for creation. In other words, it is not truly random or accidental that we are here blogging about it today.

    And this leads to Tribune’s question: many TE’s find “strong” versions of ID incompatible with the foregoing expectations about how God works in creation, providence, revelation and scripture. Strong versions of ID, such as irreducible complexity, expect to find essentially revelatory evidence of God’s existence in creation apart from the ordinary operation of natural laws — indeed, precisely by contrast to the ordinary operation of natural laws. This is what irreducible complexity, for example, tries to do.

    I think most evangelical TE’s would allow that God sometimes does this, and would call such actions “miracles.” But the expectation is that, according to the pattern of scripture, miracles are relatively rare and usually are specifically part of redemptive history — the paradigmatic example being Christ’s resurrection. Most TE’s would argue that the Psalm 19 type passages in scripture don’t lead us to expect to find super-natural miracles in natural history. To the contrary, such passages tell us we should see the glory of God in the ordinary working of nature.

    That said, my experience is that some TE’s are relatively comfortable with a more modest natural theology, which could in some ways be called “ID.” For example, most TE’s, including folks like Francis Collins, are comfortable with “design” arguments based on the anthropic principle. But again, that sort of argument says the “ordinary” operation of physical laws is so unique and amazing that it suggests design and teleology. There is no effort to make nature “miraculous” in the sense of having developed in ways that natural laws cannot accomodate.

  38. Re: Paul Brand (24): “Regarding what Dembski believes about common descent, I think he has said things that implies he does. Come to think of it, I do find it interesting that I can’t think of anything he has said that would positively affirm that. He tends to be a little more ambiguous. It may be tactful for him not to say, seeing that he is a leader of a movement that welcomes people on either side of that particular issue.”

    William A Dembski, The Design Revolution (2004), p. 178:

    Intelligent design does not require organisms to emerge suddenly or to be specially designed from scratch by the intervention of a designing intelligence. To be sure, intelligent design is compatible with the creationist idea of organisms being suddenly created from scratch. But it is also perfectly compatible with the evolutionist idea of new organisms arising from old by a gradual accrual of change. What separates intelligent design from naturalistic evolution is not whether organisms evolved or the extent to which they evolved but what was responsible for their evolution.

    Naturalistic evolution holds that material mechanisms alone are responsible for evolution (the chief of these being the Darwinian mechanisms of random variation and natural selection). Intelligent design, by contrast, holds that material mechanisms are capable of only limited evolutionary change and that any substantial evolutionary change would require input from a designing intelligence. Moreover, intelligent design maintains that the input of intelligence into biological systems is empirically detectable: that is, it is detectable by observation through the methods of science. For intelligent design, the crucial question therefore is not whether organisms emerged through an evolutionary process or suddenly from scratch but whether a designing intelligence made a discerible difference — regardless of how organisms emerged.

  39. many TE’s find “strong” versions of ID incompatible with the foregoing expectations about how God works in creation, providence, revelation and scripture. Strong versions of ID, such as irreducible complexity, expect to find essentially revelatory evidence of God’s existence in creation apart from the ordinary operation of natural laws — indeed, precisely by contrast to the ordinary operation of natural laws. This is what irreducible complexity, for example, tries to do.

    dopderbeck, I have to disagree with your description of IC.

    IC doesn’t try to show how something came about. It just points out a problem — possibly a fatal one — in the existing paradigm.

    Now, concerning the foundational tenet of ID — that life, by objective criteria, should presume to be designed –where is the objection? And if there is one, why would there not be one for the presumption that life occurred via random events?

  40. j and Paul Brand,
    j
    I see Dembski speaking about ID theory here regarding common descent, but I don’t see him stating his personal view. That was the topic of discussion.

    Paul,
    Consider this part of the quote-”Naturalistic evolution holds that material mechanisms alone are responsible for evolution (the chief of these being the Darwinian mechanisms of random variation and natural selection). Intelligent design, by contrast, holds that material mechanisms are capable of only limited evolutionary change and that any substantial evolutionary change would require input from a designing intelligence.”

    This is the difference between TE and ID. ID posits input-intervention by the designing intelligence during the process of life’s development. TE does not.

  41. Tribune said: IC doesn’t try to show how something came about. It just points out a problem — possibly a fatal one — in the existing paradigm.

    That’s not correct. ID advocates bristle at the suggestion that their program is merely a negative critique of Darwinism. Read Behe’s section on “Detection of Design” in Darwin’s Black Box, pages 192-196. Here is his conclusion: “For discrete physical systems — if there is not a gradual route to their production — design is evident when a number of separate, interacting components are ordered in such a way as to accomplish a function beyond the individual components.”

    bj said: ID posits input-intervention by the designing intelligence during the process of life’s development. TE does not.

    This is not quite accurate, or at least the term “input-intervention” is imprecise. Many TE’s believe God sovereignly directs and sustains creation continually. However, He does so in a way that involves, to our human perception, only the operation of natural laws. In the TE paradigm (at least TE not from an open theism perspective), God is always active in creation, but His activity is “hidden,” except in the general sense that creation displays His glory. So, it is more precise to say that, from a TE perspective, God’s actions in natural history are not seperably detectable by scientific method. ID, in contrast, says we can detect God’s designing activity specifically by contrasting it to the “ordinary” operation of natural laws. Notice that this is exactly what Mike Behe’s formulation that I quoted above does. If natural laws alone can’t account for certain kinds of irreducibly complex systems, we can infer intelligent agency.

    It is not, then, that ID posits ongoing divine action in creation and TE does not. It’s rather (again, setting aside open theism) a difference in the type and scientific detectability of divine action we should expect to see in natural history. I think it’s unfair for ID to try claim theological high ground here, because the TE view arguably is more consistent with the historic doctrine of creation, particularly the notion that creation is orderly, regular, symmetrical, etc.

    IMHO, the place theologically / doctrinally where ID has traction is the doctrine of scripture and the understanding of the “kinds” in Gen. 1. If “after their kinds” in Gen. 1 implies some kind of fixity of species, then we should expect to see the sorts of “interventions” in natural history that ID proposes. If not, there doesn’t seem to be any particularl theological reason to prefer ID.

  42. dopderbeck,
    You can’t deny that there has been some conflict between IDists and TEs. And here I am talking about Christian IDists and TEs. From your perspective, why do IDists have difficulty with the TE beliefs?

  43. “For discrete physical systems — if there is not a gradual route to their production — design is evident when a number of separate, interacting components are ordered in such a way as to accomplish a function beyond the individual components.”

    He’s saying design is evident. How is he showing how it came about? Who is he claiming as the designer?

  44. bj: “j, I see Dembski speaking about ID theory here regarding common descent, but I don’t see him stating his personal view. That was the topic of discussion.”

    I provided the quote partially in support of what Paul Brand wrote, and partially as an FYI, to allow everyone to decide for themselves. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  45. “I provided the quote partially in support of what Paul Brand wrote, and partially as an FYI, to allow everyone to decide for themselves. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. ”

    Thanks j, I don’t remember Dembski actually stating his belief regarding common descent, but my guess is that he does accept it but with the qualification noted in the quote you gave which posits the continuous addition of information which produces biological change beyond that possible by natural mechanisms. I also suspect that, as Paul has written, he is a bit reserved in stating his belief due to big tent considerations.

  46. bj — Right, I’m not intending to deny the conflict between ID’s and TE’s. For many ID proponents, IMHO the big problem is really the hermeneutical issue I identified. Many ID’s who are evangelicals are also YEC’s, others are OEC’s who think macroevolution is barred by the “kinds” of Gen. 1.

    Tribune — I think like most ID’s, Behe claims the identity / nature of the designer is not immediately relevant. He says this also in Darwin’s Black Box. Either way, IC is intended as more than merely a negative critique of Darwinism.

  47. Either way, IC is intended as more than merely a negative critique of Darwinism.

    OK, but it is certainly not an expectation of finding essentially revelatory evidence of God’s existence in creation apart from the ordinary operation of natural laws, either.

  48. Tribune: true, the “designer” in ID doesn’t have to be God. But it’s hard to see who else it could be. And when you start identifying “designers” other than God, that opens other difficult questions, IMHO, about the theological implications of ID. What does Psalm 19 mean if the “designer” could be a space alien?

  49. Dopderbeck, the point isn’t who designed it. The point is that using objective, measurable, observable and traditional methods of scientific inquiry, it is more reasonable to conclude that life is designed than to have occurred by chance.

    Revelation is not involved even the tiniest bit.

    What does Psalm 19 mean if the “designer” could be a space alien?

    Someone who accepts the Bible will believe in ID and conclude the designer to be God, but acceptance of the Bible is not a requirement for belief in ID.

    Actually, logically, someone who believes in God would have to accept ID, which was the reason for my original question concerning TE way back.

  50. dopderbeck and tribune7,
    While the concept of intelligent design does have a historical pedigree, it’s present day American incarnation is essentially a Christian one. The movement wouldn’t exist apart from it’s Christian foundation. The money and popular support are largely Christian. To that end, while it’s not a matter of using the bible as a science textbook, it is a matter of letting the bible guide your concept of the nature of the designer and speak to the matter of “leaving tracks.” For some the bible teaches that the designer would leave tracks. ID does start with the bible in this sense. Then, you try and scientifically find those tracts. I do think that some supporters of Christian ID don’t understand just how much the bible and it’s guidance is an a priori structure in the development of ID theory. I know that some Christian IDists don’t see it that way but I have to wonder if there is a apologetic need, both personally and culturally, not to see it that way. I suspect it’s leaders do understand this. Just wondering.

    As to other designers, there is no such a priori revelatory scripture guiding theory. So, you really can’t draw any conclusions as to whether any other entity would leave tracks. Like MikeGene says, it’s just a hunch. I’m am supportive of Christian apologetic and cultural goals if done in a respectful way regarding other beliefs, but beyond that just in the hunch category regarding theory.

  51. The movement wouldn’t exist apart from it’s Christian foundation.

    Neither would science :-)

    The conclusion of Novum Orgaum:

    I may hand over to men their fortunes, now their understanding is emancipated and come as it were of age; whence there cannot but follow an improvement in man’s estate and an enlargement of his power over nature. For man by the fall fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences. For creation was not by the curse made altogether and forever a rebel, but in virtue of that charter “In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread,” it is now by various labors (not certainly by disputations or idle magical ceremonies, but by various labors) at length and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread, that is, to the uses of human life.

  52. For some the bible teaches that the designer would leave tracks. ID does start with the bible in this sense. Then, you try and scientifically find those tracts.

    I should address this too. IIRC, Behe said he was educated in Catholic schools and taught TOE uncritically. He didn’t question it until into his professional career and claims Darwinists were making were not adding up to what he was seeing in his research.

    A noted proto-IDer was Fred Hoyle who was an atheist. While he did not advocate design — albeit at the end I understand he was expressing a belief in a creator — he was mocking of NeoDarwinism.

    By why would motivation matter? If one motiviated by a desire to disprove the existence of God made a claim would you reject it out of hand?

  53. tribune, I understand your argument, but here’s the theological problem I have with it: Psalm 19 and other similar passages say that all of creation is the “tracks” of God’s creative work. It seems to me that when we look for some super- or extra-natural tracks — things that can’t be explained with reference to the “ordinary” laws of creation — we deny the role and meaning God assigns to general revelation. In a sense, we’re saying general revelation and special revelation aren’t good enough — we need another “scientific” kind of revelation, that shows “tracks” both outside scripture and outside nature. I don’t see any warrant for that in scripture or in historic Christian theology about revelation and creation.

    You said: “Revelation is not involved even the tiniest bit” and to me that is exactly the problem. Revelation should be involved if we are approaching things from a Christian worldview. Otherwise, we’re fighting misguided battles on the wrong battlefield.

    You also said: Actually, logically, someone who believes in God would have to accept ID, which was the reason for my original question concerning TE way back. This is false, unless you are defining ID so broadly that it means simply “creation.” Yes, anyone who believes in the Christian God must believe that God designed the universe. But ID says more than this. ID says God’s design involves scientifically detectable “tracks” that are evident apart from the ordinary Psalm 19 type of general revelation. Not only is this not required for Christian theism, it’s contrary to much of historic Christian theology about epistemology, creation and the relationship between general and special revelation.

    Anyone who believes in the Christian God must believe that God designed the universe and that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19). That is, all of creation reveals the glory of this God, the omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, all-good God.

    bj, you said: I have to wonder if there is a apologetic need, both personally and culturally, not to see it that way.

    I think the need to separate design from God-as-designer is political. In the U.S., if the “designer” is God, there is no chance that design theory could be taught in a public school. If the “designer” is unhooked from any religious concept, however, arguably design can be taught in public schools.

    And this is another reason I have serious reservations about some aspects of ID. Not only are we giving away the epistemic battleground, but we’re doing so for political reasons. This is why I think a “third way” is needed — one that doesn’t give up the epistemic (revelational and incarnational) basis of understanding creation at the outset, as both TE and ID (and also YEC) do.

  54. Dopderbeck

    Revelation is necessary to believe that God wants us to love our neighbor.

    Revelation is not necessary to believe that the universe is designed and has a purpose. Actually, I think that it is instinctive to believe this and that it is something that has to be “educated” out of people.

    And that is what occurs with tragic consequences.

    I don’t think you need to follow Dr. Dembski’s math or study the interaction of proteins to know there is a designer.

    But some have insisted that all everything can be explained by random, natural forces and these people have acquired control over our courts, schools and most of our culture.

    The work of Dembski, Behe and others shows conclusively — on their terms — that they are wrong and I admire Dembski, Behe et al very much for putting the effort into doing this.

    But, I agree that it is sad that it has come to this. Once, science accepted God’s existence axiomatically. All were better off.

  55. tribune, I think we’re starting to talk past each other a bit. I agree that people instinctively recognize the universe was purposefully created, even absent special revelation. I will niggle with you by saying that this in itself is a type of revelation — general revelation — which is available to all and is indeed “necessary.” It is exactly this notion of general revelation, IMHO, that stronger forms of ID threaten, because stronger forms of ID essentially concede that God is not evident in creation except in super- or extra-natural footprints.

    I admire Dembski’s and Behe’s work too, but it’s pressing things too far to say they’ve “conclusively” proven anything. And that also illustrates a big part of the problem. Who says we’re supposed to have “conclusive” prove of God’s existence? And what is “conclusive proof” anyway? Who says the Enlightenment paradigm concerning what counts as “evidence” or “proof” is correct? Why play the game on the positivist’s / atheist’s epistemic field?

  56. Who says we’re supposed to have “conclusive” prove of God’s existence?

    God and His nature cannot be anaylized in any material sense. Design can be. We can conclude based on rules of evidence that we did not establish that life is designed.

    Why play the game on the positivist’s / atheist’s epistemic field?

    Because we can and God in His grace is letting us win.

    And we have to, anyway. Atheists do not own science. What can be seen in nature does not indicate we are here by accident.

  57. We can conclude based on rules of evidence that we did not establish that life is designed.

    I don’t think you can.

    Because we can and God in His grace is letting us win.

    I don’t think we are. I think we’ve already lost by accepting the other side’s ground rules.

    And we have to, anyway.

    No we don’t. Christianity does not have to validate itself under the rules of positivist epistemology. The claims of our faith are radical; they supercede and refute this kind of epistemology.

    Atheists do not own science.

    That depends on how you define “science,” and on the epistemic presuppositions you’re willing to accept. I agree with you, BTW, but for different reasons: I don’t think positivist epistemology properly defines “science.”

    What can be seen in nature does not indicate we are here by accident.

    Agreed.

  58. We can conclude based on rules of evidence that we did not establish that life is designed. . .I don’t think you can.

    You think it unreasonable that life is designed?

    I think we’ve already lost by accepting the other side’s ground rules.

    We were losing pretty badly. Many have and had their faith damaged or destroyed because they became convinced that faith was unreasonable due to the influence acquired by the other side. Suffering and various examples of social pathology increased due to this influence.

    It is necessary to challenge them. I think the tide has shifted or at least the lines of battle have been made clear.

    I don’t think positivist epistemology properly defines “science.”

    Exactly! It’s time to correct it. What strategy do you advocate?

  59. You think it unreasonable that life is designed?

    No, I don’t think it’s “unreasonable.” But neither do I think design can be proven. “Reasonable” and “proven” are very different things.

    Exactly! It’s time to correct it. What strategy do you advocate?

    I really don’t like the word “strategy,” as it implies something more instrumental than substantive. I think theology has to reassert the primacy of revelation (general and special revelation) as categories that ultimately are not validated by / subject to human reason. Reformed epistemology has made some good progress here, as has the Radical Orthodoxy movement. See, for example, Michael Hanby’s RO-flavored article “Reclaiming Creation in a Darwinian World” in Theology Today 62 (2006): 476-83.

  60. But neither do I think design can be proven.

    But design can be proven/shown/established and the standards used to do so are used with success in archaeology, military intelligence and other areas.

    What’s wrong with pointing out that these standards show life to be designed?

    I think theology has to reassert the primacy of revelation (general and special revelation) as categories that ultimately are not validated by / subject to human reason.

    I could probably go along with that. Now, how do you get a judge to agree? And if you can’t, how do you get a school to stop teaching we are all here by accident since that is the only thing that they can legally teach concerning origins?

  61. But design can be proven/shown/established and the standards used to do so are used with success in archaeology, military intelligence and other areas.

    Right, but in each of those cases, we know what human design looks like, and we can contrast it with the “background noise” of nature. With regard to creation, there is no background noise — our faith affirms that all of it is designed. What you’re really trying to do is to identify “special” instances of design apart from “ordinary” design in creation — which is not directly analogous to identifying whether a pattern of scratches in some rocks was made by humans or just by water and wind.

    Now, how do you get a judge to agree? And if you can’t, how do you get a school to stop teaching we are all here by accident since that is the only thing that they can legally teach concerning origins?

    Probably you can’t. That battle isn’t winnable, or at most, it’s winnable only as a Pyhrric victory in which the doctrine of creation is so compromised that we could just as easily substitute a space alien as the designer. In this area, culture won’t be transformed through lawsuits. The ID movement should accept that, drop the pretense of agnosticism about the identify of the designer, and work on developing a robust, thoroughly Christian understanding of creation that can penetrate the culture in other ways.

  62. but in each of those cases, we know what human design looks like

    We know what design looks like. Now, if the criteria we use to find design in ruins and arrowheads is applied to biology and we find that there is a strong correlation, what does that mean?

    The ID movement should accept that, drop the pretense of agnosticism about the identify of the designer,

    There is no pretense! The claims are sincere. It’s not a religous thing. You said, and I agreed, that we can’t prove God via science. Now, I said — and if you think about it you’ll agree — that we can prove (or strongly show) design through science.

    We can show that life is designed. We can’t show who the designer is via the tools of ID.

    and work on developing a robust, thoroughly Christian understanding of creation that can penetrate the culture in other ways.

    Some, like Billy Graham, have a gift for evanglization. Some, like Dr. Dembski, have a gift of using objective means to find design in nature. We should all use our gifts as we see fit.

    There is nothing insidious about ID.

  63. We know what design looks like. Now, if the criteria we use to find design in ruins and arrowheads is applied to biology and we find that there is a strong correlation, what does that mean?

    It probably means you’re making a category mistake. You aren’t addressing the problem with this approach: we know what human design looks like in part because we can contrast it to phenomena that happen in nature without human intervention. There is no similar contrast when it comes to creation, because all of creation came about by God’s action.

    You are trying to contrast God’s intelligent work with other aspects of God’s intelligent work to see if an intelligent agent was involved. Of course an intelligent agent was involved! But you won’t establish that if you presuppose that only certain bits of creation — the irreducibly complex bits, or whatever — bear the hallmarks of creation. All you are doing in that case is conceding that most of the creation doesn’t appear designed at all.

    If you want to say that all of creation generally appears to be beautiful and purposeful, and thereby to point to some transcendent source, that’s fine, and I think Biblical and true — but that is not what ID in its strong varieties does.

    There is no pretense! The claims are sincere. It’s not a religous thing.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t agree that this is generally true, at least as applied to the troops on the ground. I’m no anti-religious outsider, mind you. I’m an evangelical Christian, and I believe creation was designed by God. And, I’ve read a great deal of the ID literature and followed the legal issues carefully (I’m also a lawyer). Moreover, I’m sympathetic to some criticisms of Darwinism, I think Judge Jones’ decision about what constitutes “science” was ludicrous, and I’m also sympathetic to many general design arguments (e.g., arguments from the anthropic principle).

    Yet, I have to speak truthfully: much of the agitation I see on behalf of getting ID into public schools is the work of YEC advocates who are trying to use ID as a way of getting around earlier creation science rulings. It is disingenuous.

    I do believe some of ID’s intellectual leaders, including Dembski and Behe, are sincere about designer-agnosticism, but as to them, I think their approach is mistaken. Even if sincere, I think it’s bad to separate arguments from design from the Christian God, for all the theological reasons I’ve mentioned. They are theists; I would love to see them use their considerable minds to develop a specifically theistic and Christian philosophy of creation.

    Some, like Billy Graham, have a gift for evanglization. Some, like Dr. Dembski, have a gift of using objective means to find design in nature. We should all use our gifts as we see fit.

    Yes — or better, we should all use our gifts with rigor and excellence befitting the Kingdom of God. If Billy Graham preached that the incarnation and crucifixon of Christ demonstrates that there is a savior, but that we don’t have to identify who the savior is, and in fact the savior could be a space alien, I think we’d all agree that this is bad. Christ, of course, is God’s ultimate self-revelation; it’s nonsense to speak of Christ’s work on the cross without the particularlity and offense of Christ’s exclusive claims to be Lord. Creation also is part of God’s self-revelation, and it’s equally nonsense to say the “heavens declare the glory” of some unknown agent who might not be God.

  64. we know what human design looks like in part because we can contrast it to phenomena

    We have this phenomena that corrolates quite well with what we know to be human design. We know humans couldn’t have designed it. Should we presume it occurred by accident?

    Yet, I have to speak truthfully: much of the agitation I see on behalf of getting ID into public schools is the work of YEC advocates who are trying to use ID as a way of getting around earlier creation science rulings.

    And I disagree very much. I believe most of those who want ID in the classroom are generally theists more concerned about moral relativism being forced on children via the claim that everything has an established material answer.

    If Billy Graham preached that the incarnation and crucifixon of Christ demonstrates that there is a savior, but that we don’t have to identify who the savior

    Then Billy wouldn’t be doing his job. OTOH, if he said impossible to shingle a roof without specifically identifying Our Savior before one started, then Billy wouldn’t be doing his job either.

  65. We have this phenomena that corrolates quite well with what we know to be human design.

    Which phenomena are you talking about? Creation in general? I wouldn’t say that creation in general correlates well with human design — creation as a whole is way beyond correlation with human design. IC systems only? What then of the rest of creation?

    Should we presume it occurred by accident?

    No, but you have the order of reasoning backwards. We don’t observe the phenomena neutrally and then draw conclusions. We come to our observations with presumptions. The question is, which presumptions do we bring to the observation?

    I believe most of those who want ID in the classroom are generally theists more concerned about moral relativism being forced on children via the claim that everything has an established material answer.

    Yes, I think that concern is there as well. But I don’t think that is what animates efforts to introduce ID into schools at the local level. It’s mostly animated by YECism, unfortunately.

    OTOH, if he said impossible to shingle a roof without specifically identifying Our Savior before one started, then Billy wouldn’t be doing his job either.

    You lost me on this one.

  66. We have this phenomena that corrolates quite well with what we know to be human design.

    Which phenomena are you talking about?

    The phenomena that ID concerns itself with.

    We don’t observe the phenomena neutrally and then draw conclusions.

    If you are practicing science — or any participating in any material investigatiion — you do exactly that.

    It’s mostly animated by YECism, unfortunately.

    Polls indicate most Americans support ID being taught alongside evolution. If YECers are doing the heavy lifting to get it done, God bless them.

  67. The phenomena that ID concerns itself with.

    You have to be more precise than that. What in nature, exactly, correlates to human design? Nature in toto, or some particular piece of nature? Irreducibly complex systems only, or something else as well?

    If you are practicing science — or any participating in any material investigatiion — you do exactly that.

    Nonsense. All observations are theory-laden. There is no such thing as a “neutral” or “objective” observation. (See Kuhn, Polanyi, Lakatos, Feyerabend, etc.) I think most of the thought leaders of the ID movement would agree with me here. To his credit, Dembski has written some pretty good things about this. Check out, for example, his chapter “Science & Theology in Mutual Support” in Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology. Here is what Dembski says there:

    My thesis is that all disciplines find their completion in Christ and cannot be properly understood apart from Christ . . . any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient.” (p. 206).

    If YECers are doing the heavy lifting to get it done, God bless them.

    If the thought leaders of ID don’t distance themselves from YECism, ID will remain a backwater. One of the great tragedies is that ID was gathering some intellectual momentum when it was coopted into the YEC / religious right political agenda.

  68. You have to be more precise than that.

    We know this sentence is designed. Why? Because it is a pattern that while complex contains a large amount of specific information. A strand of DNA is also a pattern. It is even more complex and contains even more specific information. It does not corrolate with anything but known design.

    All observations are theory-laden.

    Are you saying that science works by forming a theory then making an observation to back it up?

  69. I agree with Alan Rhoda—theistic evolution (TE) and open theism are not the same!! In fact, let me suggest that they are at opposite logical poles. For the TEist God is so omni-everything that a future to his specification is assured from eternity past—this without his lifting a finger in all of history. But for those of us who are not compatibilists—i.e., those of us who think it illogical that God can have exhaustively determined the future and at the same time breathed free will into his creatures—those of us foolish enough to think this way should be more prone to accept ID . . . don’t you think?

    One can read the Cappadocian fathers—and Augustine and Aquinas and Calvin—and savor their intelligence yet still disagree. The Scientific Creationists demand allegiance to a particular theology and interpretation of Genesis. And so as an unaffiliated, dyed-in-the-wool heretic that leaves me out. I love ID because its house is big enough for all those who appreciate the science yet dissent within the great religious plurality that is America.

Leave a Reply