Re: Once again...ID

George Murphy (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 10:56:16 -0400

Bill Hamilton wrote:
> At 09:53 AM 4/27/98 -0400, Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> >Moorad to Bill:
> >
> >"I have a hard time understanding why people find it difficult to define
> >design. It reminds me of fish arguing about the definition or existence of
> >water. We are imbedded amongst designed objects that is why it is hard to
> >notice. Everything is designed!!"
> [Howard's response -- with which I agree -- snipped]
> >
> Moorad, you have identified one of the chief problems with attempting to
> discern design in nature. If everything is designed -- and I agree that it
> is -- then distinguishing designed from undesigned objects is difficult,
> because we have no idea what an undesigned object might be like. We have no
> examples.
> The task of discerning design in nature may be further complicated by a
> tendency to confuse several sorts of design: the fundamental design of the
> properties of entities in nature that God does, the descriptive laws that
> we derive by our own investigations, and the sort of design that we humans
> do.
> God designs the very rules by which things function. Science is an
> enterprise that seeks to discover the laws by which entities in nature
> function. But the laws we discover are at best approximations that will be
> superseded by the results of later investigations. Sometimes, as in the
> case of Newtonian mechanics, the earlier laws are first-order
> approximations of later discoveries. In other cases -- phlogiston theory,
> N-rays, etc., they are just plain wrong. So our efforts as scientists
> should be viewed with considerable caution if our objective is to learn
> about how God designs things -- more is yet to be learned. Better to go to
> sources where He speaks plainly -- the Scriptures -- and better to listen
> to the Holy Spirit's illumination of the Scriptures. And when we do that
> we ought to be striving to understand what God chooses to tell us rather
> than trying to see what other issues that are of interest to us we can
> stretch it to apply to. Our methods of design as human beings are quite
> different from God's, if for no other reason than that our designs are
> simply rearrangements and applications of what God has already designed.

Yes, & we can go further if we pay attention to what Scripture
tells us about God's purpose for creation, the Incarnation of the Word
(Eph.1:10). That suggests that a rationally ordered universe and the
evolution of intelligent life are parts of God's design leading to the
accomplishment of that ultimate purpose. OTOH, there is no reason to
insist that the intelligent life which would evolve & in which the
Incarnation would occur would be on our particular planet, or that it be
bipedal &c. So the development of terrestrial _homo sapiens_ need not
be seen as essential to God's purpose.
& of course this provides no independent ID argument for God
because it _starts_ from belief in the God revealed in Christ.
Anthropic Principle & design arguments are quite different - & more
honest - if explicitly set within that context.
George L. Murphy