Re: What does ID mean?

William B. Provine (
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 11:39:21 +0100

Bravo, Paul.

Your dialogue is lovely. Evolutionists prefer these days not to ruffle the
feathers of religious folk, who are vastly more numerous and elect
representatives who control the funding for science. So evolution and religion
are "compatible," as long as the religion cannot be distinguished from atheism.

I have had the same dialog with some distintinguished evolutionists (most are
ouright atheists or agnostics) and their response is exactly as your rendition.
Their "compatibility" runs about as Carl Sagan's views: "many religions are
compatible with evolution." (He enumerates, though Christianity is not among
them). But when asked, are any of these religions worth anything, he happily
volunteered "no."

I can understand why you and Phil Johnson have a problem with a scientist who
says, "I am a modern scientist. Of course evolution has natural causes, put
there and maintained by God, who can create any way at all." Dandy fine. All my
evolutionist friends are delighted. Here's a religion that cannot be
distinguished from atheism, an ally in time of need, who will fight to keep
naturalistic evolution in the schools.

Unless the modern scientist believes traditional miracles to go along with his
view of evolution--in that case, the modern scientist is wholly out of touch
with science but deeply in touch with religion.

I can easily understand looking at the biological and physical world and coming
away with a very deep feeling of design. A deep feeling of design, not an
argument from design. This view is only a small step from atheism. Young people
are not fools; they will see that if nothing in the observable world requires an
argument from design, and can be approached by the methods of modern science,
then the "feeling of design" can be jettisoned, no matter how strong in the
beginning. I went through this process. Giving up the feeling of design seemed
momentous, but it wasn't.

Howard Van Till, I think we are not really so far apart. We agree that the
argument from design does not wash. Your "argument" is more like the "feeling of
design." So If I regained my earlier feeling of design, I could perhaps be near
your camp. And if you lost your feeling of design, you would be in mine.

Warm wishes, Will