I am posting it with his permission.
>I had posted these two yes-no questions earlier to follow up on your
>post to the asa listserv (although no's might benefit from some
>clarification). I appreciate the fact that you are very
>busy, but these questions were central to the discussion of your
>writings that inspired Don Page to write to you so I am sending them
>to you again, and to the concerns that many of us have with your
>postion as we understand them.
> If you believe the questions to be inappropriate and therefore do not
>wish to answer them, you may want to briefly explain why you feel they
>are inappropriate. Because it is of general interest, you may wish to
>copy your response to the asa listserver. If you wish to minimize
>replies, you might send the message to me privately and have me post
>it. That might minimize the direct followup questions to you.
I prefer to use my own words, but I will comment on your questions. Thanks
for your consideration of the other demands on my time. I will leave it to
you to post this.
>Am I correct in believing, based on your writings, that your answer to
>the following questions is yes?
>1. Would the logical step for a person who becomes convinced that
>intelligent design is untenable be to embrace atheistic naturalism?
This sounds to me like the same question that is implied in the title of
your message (above): "Is naturalism the logical consequence of
naturalism?" I am a little baffled at why a tautology requires an answer.
If nature really is a closed system of material causes, from which
intelligent causes are excluded up to the moment that intelligence has
evolved naturalistically, then "naturalism" is true by definition. I take
it that the alternative to "atheistic naturalism" you have in mind is
"theistic naturalism." It is conceivable that God is in some sense
responsible for evolution but has taken pains to make it appear to
scientific investigators that evolution is an unguided process involving
only unintelligent causes. A person whose outlook is basically
naturalistic but who has a sufficient will to believe may choose this
option. Theistic naturalism is unfalsifiable but understandably has little
standing in the intellectual world, where people expect to see evidence
that is not wholly subjective in character.
>2. Can one substitute Phillip Johnson for Carl Sagan in the next
>sentence without any inconsistency with your position?
>"In the case of God's existence, the only evidence Sagan would accept is the
> miraculous violation of the **natural** laws of cause and effect."
Certainly not. One point I frequently make is that intelligent cause is
not the same thing as "no cause," nor does it imply "violation" of
anything. A software designer does not violate any laws of cause and
effect when he designs a computer program, but the program is easily
recognizable as the product of an intelligent designer. The notion that
intelligent cause implies violations of laws is an artifact of naturalistic
or deistic philosophy, which I reject. This is a different question from
whether one should expect to see evidence of design, if a designer exists.
I discussed this subject with Sagan himself at a dinner party at Cornell.
He reminded me of some theistic naturalists in being unwilling to consider
the possibility that evidence might actually point to the reality of the
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