Re: Dembski and Nelson at MIT and Tufts

Massie (
Fri, 02 Apr 1999 13:38:34 -0800

Allan Harvey wrote:

> 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." |
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------

I believe that the progressive creation view best fits the data including
Genesis but, again, it is difficult to discern with anywhere near the level of
certainty that many express.