Re: Intelligent design vs. natural selection

Pattle Pun (
Fri, 5 Sep 1997 16:28:16 -0500 (CDT)

On Fri, 5 Sep 1997, Loren Haarsma wrote:

> 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.
Scientism or Naturalism assumes that there is a continuum of matter from
molecules to man and from matter to the universe. Modern physics questions
this assumption by way of the Big Bang Theory. I call this kind of the
thinking the philosophy of the gap. The Creation ex nihilo proclamation of
Augustine implies that God is transcendent and the doctrine of creation is
predicated on the separation of the Creator from the Creation, and thus
there ought to be a break in the "Great Chain of Beings" where God is the
unmoved Mover.

> Loren Haarsma

Dr. Pattle Pun
Professor of Biology
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: (630)752-5303
FAX: (630)752-5996