Re: The rhetoric of argument

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 07:52:27 EDT

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    Robert Schneider wrote:

         Therefore the Christology which Dembski presents in _Intelligent Design:

    > The Bridge between Science and Theology_, pp. 205-210 is not likely to be
    > presented in the public debate, for it suggests, despite the "bridge"
    > language, that all scientific tracking is subordinate to theological
    > tracking, in that he argues that "Christ is indispensible to any scientific
    > theory" and that "the conceptual soundness of the theory can in the end only
    > be located in Christ." And in the chapter following ("The Act of
    > Creation"), in which Dembski contrasts a theistic understanding of causation
    > with "the naturalist's understanding of causation" (by "naturalist" he
    > surely means Dawkins and not Muir), p. 214, he later states, p. 226,
    > speaking of idolatry: "Idolatry turns the creation into the ultimate
    > reality. We've seen this before. It's called naturalism. No doubt
    > contemporary scientific naturalism is a lot more sophisticated than pagan
    > fertility cults, but the difference is superficial. Naturalism is idolatry
    > by another name."
    > Let me add that I am not unsympathetic to Dembski's Christology. There
    > are a number of things he says that I agree with; and a cosmic Christology
    > lies at the heart of my own creation theology. And I recognize his
    > application of a Pauline (Rom. 1) understanding of idolatry to "naturalism,"
    > though I reject his inclusive meaning of this key term that lies at the
    > heart of the debate within our own Christian circles: it muddies the
    > distinction between a Howard Van Till and a Richard Dawkins. The point I am
    > making is that if a theology of creation lies at the heart of ID (and I
    > think it does, despite the "bridge" argument that Dembski makes in this
    > book), then the latter lays itself open to the rhetorical charge of
    > deception if it's proponents fail (or refuse) to make this connection clear
    > and assert in the public arena that ID makes no claim about the nature of
    > the intelligent designer.

             The error in Dembski's christology is certainly not that it
    is cosmic or
    that it insists that in Christ "all things hold together" (Col.1:17). It is
    rather the implicit assumption that this must be true in a way that can be
    verified by scientific investigation. Christ must not only hold all things
    together but must do it in such a way that science has to take him
    into account.
    Of course this contrasts with the kenotic understanding of Christ in
    Phil.2 that
    suggests that Christ _doesn't_ insist on getting credit, holding on to divine
    prerogatives &c. The Cosmic Christ is Christ Crucified.
             & of course one might argue about the use of kenosis & its implications
    but Dembski fails even to note the possibility - e.g., in the appendix
    "Objections to Design."



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