Re: Methodological naturalism

Dick Fischer (
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 22:32:10 -0600

Phil Johnson wrote:

>Indeed -- MN is the standard principle in 20th century academia for
>investigating "miracles," including the miracles of Jesus as well as claims
>of intelligent design in biology. (Caveat: I do not classify intelligent
>design as a "miracle" but as evidence of a regular process of biological
>creation directed by intelligence.)

It's the "directed by" part that chafes. The word "governance" might work.
Even "with the approval of an" has a little promise. My choice would be,
"according to the foreknowledge of an omnipotent" intelligence. (Okay,

But "directed by" is a little troublesome. If we point to a human attribute
such as our magnificent intelligence (especially those on this listserv) and
credit the Creator, where is the harm in that? God just "directs" us through
time to be more intelligent. Perhaps by manipulating our DNA, or working at
the quantum level, maybe. But definitely controlling the outcome as I
understand it from your books and comments.

Intelligence is wonderful to be sure. My mother was intelligent until about
four years ago when she developed signs of Alzheimers. In fact, both my parents
and at least two of my grandparents suffered from some kind of dementia in their
later years. If genetic markers mean anything, in about 10-15 years I too will
be a blithering idiot. Some think I blither a little now. That's why I am
typing this as fast as I can. Who knows when it will start?

We humans, just to name one species, suffer from over 3,000 genetic disorders.
If God is directly responsible for the positive direction of human intelligence
for example, then to whom do we attribute the apparent genetic blunders
in genetic disorders? Was God asleep at the switch, Phil? Maybe God tinkers
with creation and we get some bad mixed in with the good. And if the good
outweighs the bad, God gets a B+ or maybe an A-. Is that it?

Credit and blame go hand in hand, and therefore, lest we wish to accuse the
Creator, let's place both the credit and blame elsewhere, like nature, for
example. Through the mechanics of DNA replication mistakes happen, or
sometimes environmental pressures cause organisms to make adaptations which
they pass to their offspring. Nature selects. God in his foreknowledge
knows the outcome. Good and bad. There, isn't that better than ID theory?

Dick Fischer