Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

From: Tim Ikeda (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 08:46:58 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)"

    Thanks for your note Bob,

    >In a message dated 4/16/01 7:39:20 PM, writes:
    >> On a different approach, what is it about ID theory that leads
    >> some to believe that irruptive interventions are not likely to
    >> be observed today? I can see no reason to suppose that an active
    >> designer would stop at just the time when our abilities to record
    >> and document intervention are the greatest they've ever been.

    >Tim. I am sorry your post got away from me, so I am late in responding,
    >although I am not sure you meant to have me do so.
    >My thinking on this matter is that historically, design came first followed
    >by other naturalistic processes that elaborate and build on the design.
    >a simple and probably over-simple idea. It comes to me, in part, from
    >reading in Genesis that "God said..." (design) and the skies, seas, and
    >"brought forth..." (natural processes, e.g., phyletic and individual
    >development, evolution).
    >In short, there was a time for design, and a time for naturalistic events to
    >occur. The time for design is past, the time for development and evolution
    >followed, and is upon us now. According to this view, one would no longer
    >expect design to occur, at least not on any grand scale.

    Note: The following criticisms are directed at the Discovery Institure
    fellows and the public statements they've made, rather than Bob's
    personal vision of ID.

    I thought ID was a scientific, and not a theological theory.
    ID may have theological implications but according to all the
    bulletins issued by the Discovery Institute and all its star
    writers, its first and foremost driver is observation and

    Given that the proposed extra-natural assembler has not yet been
    demonstrated to exist, let alone identified, and that its mode
    and tempo of interaction is completely undefined at this time,
    it seems a tad presumptuous to expect the designer to behave the
    way the sub-groups of a couple religions happen to interpret their

    Unless, of course, ID isn't really what its public proponents
    describe it to be. This is exactly one of the points ID critics
    have known all along while Johnson et al speak out both sides of
    their mouths. When I put the same question to Paul Nelson
    several years ago, his response was that he *couldn't* expect the
    designer to remain continuously active or to leave other clues
    (such as buried obelisks ala "2001") because of his religious
    convictions. So the question is, which mode of science is
    really the most limiting in terms of hypotheses which can be
    considered: methodological naturalism or theistic science as
    *actually practiced* by Discovery Institute fellows?

    For example, Hoyle's theories of panspermia say nothing about
    whether the designer remains active today. Indeed, it is
    generally thought that the activities of the "panspermic" designer
    should be visible today. Others, who propose sporatic
    interactions by designers -- ?possibly by extraterrestrial
    terraformers? -- similarly have no expectation that disruptive
    events should have ceased or that a designer could not be
    observed in the act of creation. I have yet to hear an DI fellow
    suggest that it might be nice to also find auxillary,
    physical evidence for presence of a designer at the time
    of the proposed design events, or to acknowledge that such
    evidence might provide an independent confirmation of
    a design agent's existence. What I hear instead is: "God doesn't/
    or God didn't work that way". And that is odd, because it appears
    that ID'ers are rejecting mechanisms that are easily accessible to
    methodological naturalism -- a logical impossibility as theistic
    science is supposed to represent a more flexible, super-set of
    standard science. Therefore I conclude that something other than
    logic is involved in the decision.

    Basically, if we approach ID as the scientific endeavor it is
    claimed to be, there is *no* a priori reason to assume that
    acts of design have ended or that auxillary evidence is not available
    (outside of personal revelation, which is non-public) for a designer
    being around at the time of the events.

    This is not to say that a designer *must* be active still, or that
    it didn't erase its tracks (or liftoff sites, or clouds of flu viruses),
    only that there is no reason to assume the opposite. If the DI and
    theorists generally associated with ID seem to ignore this point in
    practice, then perhaps their new mode of "science" really isn't the
    flexible or theistically-neutral enterprise they claim it to be.

    Note: Bob, I don't assume that you speak for the Discovery Institure
    or that you hold to the claims that have made by DI representatives.
    I understand that your ideas about how ID works are your own. Thanks
    for presenting you position on the matter.

    Tim Ikeda

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