Re: Dembski and Nelson at MIT and Tufts

Allan Harvey (
Fri, 02 Apr 1999 12:29:50 -0700

In response to suggestions by Howard van Till and myself that the
"Intelligent Design" movement better define its terms, Massie wrote:

>Neither Christians nor materialists have enough information to rule out
>that God simply set the initial conditions just right and perhaps some
>laws of nature that we do not understand so that life progessed in the
>way it did.
>Thesis 1: God intervened at certain steps to change things.
>Thesis 2: God set it up with hidden genes so that eventually a dinosaur
>would lay and egg and out would come a chicken.
>How could we tell the difference?
>We we do know is that overall it is more difficult to believe that all
>of this happened without some external source of information and fine
>tuning .
>Theism and design do not depend on how God implemented.
>However, for me, it is easier to believe in progressive intevention but
>I would never push Thesis 1 or Thesis 2 as a certain thing because I
>don't have any firm basis.

And this gets directly to my point. In contrast to Massie's
openmindedness with regard to how God may have chosen to carry out his
creation, *much* of the "Intelligent Design" movement seems to reject
"natural" ways of God's implementing his design, insisting (or at least
giving the impression) that only Thesis 1 above is compatible with
theism. This is pretty horrid from the standpoint of Christian theology
(not to mention apologetically unwise), and if the Intelligent Design
movement is to have a healthy impact on the body of Christ it must be
steered away from such errors. Avoiding that error (and perhaps more
importantly avoiding lay people being led into that error based on how
they interpret the message) will require clearly thought out distinctions
and definitions that the ID movement does not seem to be making currently.

| 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." |