Re: Intelligent design vs. natural selection

Loren Haarsma (
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 17:18:02 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 5 Sep 1997, Pattle Pun wrote:

> If patterns are discovered that are unique to each of the three
> urkingdoms, i.e. the signiture sequences in rRNA that cannot be explained
> by any naturalistic mechanisms, the better hypothesis would be it was put
> together under a "design", or irreducible complexity, to use Behe's famous
> buzz word.

If naturalistic mechanisms really could be ruled out, then I would agree;
though a committed atheist would have several other options
(unknown natural law / improbable event / multiple universes) to ID.

> The same arguments are put forth to suggest that the origin of
> life from non living is by "design", not by naturalistic mechanisms since
> there are none. This is not "God of the Gap", since the hypothesis can be
> tested and further experiments can be done to check out what that
> "pattern" of "irreducible complexity" is designed for.

Actually, this *does* sound like "God of the Gap" to me -- albeit
predictable gaps and a God whose supernatural actions produced predictable
natural patterns.

The theological problems are not so much with God-IN-the-gaps (God's
supernatural activity causing "gaps" in naturalistic explanations of
certain events). Some of the biblical miracles fall into that category.
And if the origin of life ultimately falls into that category, fine.

Theological problems arise with God-ONLY-IN-the gaps -- the idea that if
there are no gaps in a naturalistic explanation, then God was not
meaningfully involved with the process. While some ID advocates
carefully choose their rhetoric to avoid the impression of
"God-only-in-the-gaps", many others do not. This generates
much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Even if that theological problem is avoided, there is still the potential
apologetic problem of arguing for a gap whose very existence is still the
subject of much uncertainty.

Loren Haarsma