ID (Was Methodological Naturalism)

Christopher Morbey (
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:16:06 -0800

[Sorry, I sent this the other day but it doesn't seem to have been sent]

George Murphy considers the notion of a connection between honey bees and the
quantum field of the earth's magnetism to be far from convincing. In any case,
it is probably true to say that there are more and more discoveries and
observations which describe a complexity which goes beyond anything we can
imagine, let alone work out.

My point in refering to several recent accounts of irreducible complexity was
to question the backwards extrapolation from such complexity to ID. Of course
there are many other observations anybody could point to. I mentioned _a
posteriori_ thinking... we have this wonderful creation and it is tuned just
right for us; ergo, ID and the Anthropic Principle is true. The selection
effect is overwhelming for we cannot observe anything other than that which
has allowed us to observe.

For many (including me) there is something a little uncomfortable about
putting too much faith in backward thinking or making conclusions on that
which is firmly based on selection effect. Bayes theorem helps a little but
even that (further or changing evidence alters the probability of outcome)
seems to reduce to anthropic notions sooner or later.

The only other alternative to ID as far as I can understand is the "random
chance" or "infinite universes" proposals, both of which are (to me) highly
useless or hopelessly speculative. For example, if my present thoughts derive
from purposeless chance then their utility isn't worth any more than not
thinking. If we are not free we are puppets of either God or random events. In
either case we are part of, or an extension of, one or the other. Which means
monism, panentheism, or a state of no meaning (information).

So ID is, by far, the best alternative even though we have only the tiniest
glimpse of what that might entail. But I would rather the mentioned selection
effect not seem to be such an obstacle.

Christopher Morbey

Added note...

Of course, Howard Van Till is quite right about vocabulary (Naturalism vs
Creator etc). But lets be fair, all of our vocabulary is loaded with 'begging
the question' subtleties. Howard has been up front and explained his so there
shouldn't be too much confusion.

He has pointed out a more important problem, in my opinion: "But why, why, why
do so many Christians let them get by with such a transparent inversion of
sound reasoning? Why allow anyone to get by with the claim that the _more_
robust the formational economy of the universe is, the _less_ it needs a
Creator to give it being?"

The answer? ... Mimetic contagion, the politically correct, peer pressure,
what is cool, laziness, etc is easier. What is easier allows the vision to be
more inward looking. And we know where that puts us.