Re: Creationists Running for School Board

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Tue Sep 23 2003 - 10:39:58 EDT

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    >From: "Ted Davis" <>

    3 questions, with an invitation to pose answers (which I shall do with
    unmitigated candor):

    > If [Johnson] and his camp were to disavow the YECs, what would be gained?

    The right to be considered less concerned about the strategy of winning
    popular support and more concerned with speaking their actual beliefs

    > Would the scientific establishment suddenly warm up to ID?

    No, the ID leadership would still have to demonstrate that they are offering
    anything more than a highly verbose way of saying, "In the absence of
    complete and detailed causally specific natural explanations for the
    evolutionary development of every biotic system and subsystem, it is
    logically permissible to posit that some of these systems and subsystems
    were assembled, at least for the fist time, by some unidentified,
    unembodied, choice-making agent who is not necessarily God."

    ID leaders could also gain respect by, a) saying forthrightly that their
    movement is driven not only to defeat maximal naturalism, but any other
    viewpoint that questions supernaturalism (viewpoints that posit coercive
    divine intervention), or b) ceasing to blur the important distinctions among
    maximal naturalism, minimal naturalism, methodological naturalism, and
    naturalistic theism, and c) admitting that the word couplet "intelligently
    designed" is mostly a marketing slogan that substitutes for "assembled by
    supernatural intervention" and functions as a facade in front of the
    religious motivation that is essential to the movement.

    > Would they [the "scientific establishment," whatever that is] cease
    > calling ID advocates, "intelligent design creationists," in an effort to
    > dismiss their arguments without engaging them?

    ID propositions would be much easier to engage if ID rhetoric used
    terminology that more honestly and straightforwardly expressed what ID
    proponents actually want to posit. If, for instance, words like "design,"
    "intelligence," "chance," "complexity," and "specified" had their
    conventional meanings instead of being given unconventional meanings subtly
    inserted by ID writers, critics could engage ID propositions with far
    greater clarity.

    Howard Van Till

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