Re: What does ID mean?

Allan Harvey (
Wed, 15 Apr 1998 17:19:13 -0600

At 03:22 PM 4/15/98 -0500, Paul A. Nelson wrote:
>Allan Harvey asked:
>>2) Is the presence of these "marks" just a hypothesis advanced in the
>>hope of doing better science, or is it a theological necessity? In
>>other words, if it turns out that there are no scientifically
>>detectable marks (for example, if the scientific theory of evolution
>>[stripped of its philosophical extrapolations] is correct), would that
>>negate Christianity? Or is Christian theology still sound if God
>>created through evolutionary processes that left no "marks"? This
>>question, which gets to the biggest concern many of us have about the
>>ID movement, is what I was trying (with little success) to get Phil
>>Johnson and/or Paul Nelson to answer a few weeks ago.
>I think you and I understand "evolution" differently.
>God does whatever He pleases. But as I have been taught evolution, and
>as the theory is presented in textbooks and the scientific literature,
>it is *grounded in* methodological naturalism. Thus the theory's
>philosophical implications are not, in fact, "extrapolations," but are
>embedded in its very foundation.

[First a clarification: did you mean "grounded in metaphysical
naturalism" above? Otherwise your conclusion about the atheistic
philosophical implications (or extrapolations) does not follow. Unless
you think methodological naturalism necessarily entails metaphysical
naturalism, which is another discussion.]

We do seem to be getting at the crux of the issue here. For Paul (I
suspect this also goes for Phil Johnson), the scientific aspects of the
theory of evolution (common descent, modification by genetic variation,
natural selection, etc.) are *inseparably entangled* with philosophical
aspects (purposeless, unguided, Godless). Given that, one must reject
the scientific baby if one rejects the philosophical bathwater.

I agree that significant entanglement exists. But is that entanglement
*necessary*? Or is it just prevalent because people like Dawkins and
textbook writers (not to mention Henry Morris and Phil Johnson) have
chosen to see things that way? I would say the latter, and that the
problem with the ID movement is that it perpetuates and deepens that
entanglement. I believe that one can and should separate the science
from the metaphysical baggage, and that this disentanglement is badly
needed in the church today.

Paul, if you really believe that this entanglement is necessary, maybe
you can answer a question that has come up before. What is *inherently*
different about the proposed "natural" evolution of life that entails
atheist metaphysics when "natural" stellar evolution or a "natural"
explanation for the birth of a child or the snowfall outside my window
today do not?

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |