Re: What does D mean?

Dennis Feucht (
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 22:14:44 -0400

Howard Van Till wrote:

"ID, as now promoted, is mostly a theory about 'extranatural assembly,' not
about thoughtful conceptualization, or intention, or purpose or even
design. Odd, isn't it?"

Not from an engineering point of view. What Behe and others are doing is a
kind of reverse engineering, which assumes _a posteriori_ what "forward"
engineering assumes _a priori_ about the nature of design. Much of what
design entails is finding ways of putting given components together to
accomplish a desired (or observed) function, within physical constraints.
Much of Behe's emphasis in _DBB_ is on functional theory, given physical
(behavioral and structural) constraints. That's the essence of design

"Furthermore, if ID were fundamentally a "notion of a Creator," as you have
assumed, isn't it odd that Behe's book _Darwin's Black Box_, hailed by
Christianity Today magazine as the Christian "book of the year" is so
studiously careful to avoid making that inference to a Creator explicit?"

Yes, the extent to which organisms can be understood in engineering terms
(that is, how manifestly designed they might be) is a distinct issue from
who did the designing and how the design was implemented. The relationship
between biochemistry and natural theology is even less developed than
between biochem. and engineering, itself presently in its infancy. So I
would expect that care would be given by Behe to avoid plunging into a
"biochemical theology."

The real issue is: what is Behe's intent? If it is to sneak in a natural
theology in biochemical terms, then I share your concern. But if his intent
is to focus on the development of design as a scientific way of describing
organisms, and then step back at the conclusion and give his wider views
about the designer, that's separating the design discussion from
theological reflection on it.

Dennis L. Feucht
Innovatia Laboratories
American Scientific Affiliation Newsletter Editor
Great Lakes Rocket Society
14554 Maplewood Road
Townville, Pennsylvania 16360