Re: A case for Christianity that does NOT use ID or YEC arguments

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Sun Feb 01 2004 - 14:34:05 EST

Ted Davis wrote:
> Let me offer a "second opinion," relative to your friend using ID
> arguments.
> I think that the ID movement is making some valid points about modern
> science, as follows.
> (1) for many years now, scientists have been working hard at trying to
> understand how biological complexity arises, and how life itself has
> originated. they have made rather little progress on the latter (so i judge
> from reading some sources that i regard as unbiased), and are also still
> mainly in the dark about the former. it's fair IMO for ID advocates to
> "call the question," that is, to claim that doubts about the ability of
> Darwinism to explain this can fairly be articulated.
> ID of course wants to go a lot further than this, to base faith
> significantly on this point. I regard that as potentially dangerous and
> certainly as questionable as their own questions about evolution.
> Neverthless, I stand by the paragraph above.
> (2) it's common for leading scientists to interpret science to the general
> public in terms of atheism, that is, science supports a materialistic
> interpretation of the universe in ultimate terms. Giberson & Yerxa call
> this group the "Council of Despair," Howard Van Till calls them "preachers
> of naturalism." I regard ID as a fair response to this group, esp on
> cosmology but also (see above) to a lesser extent on overzealous claims
> about the explanatory success of evolution. ...

Hi Ted,

I fully agree with you. Your two points are very central and important
to make in the discussion with those who would call christianity into
question on the basis of science. On this list, there would be hardly
anyone questioning the second point.

On the other hand, there seems to be rather little sympathy for your
first point. But you exactly hit the mark. For many years, I have been a
critic of evolution exactly on the basis of the two difficulties you
mention, i.e. the origins of life and of biological complexity. It is
rather recently that I have come to the conviction, on the basis of
nonfunctional homologies in DNA sequence data, that all species,
including humans, share common ancestors. By the way, the theological
reason of love requiring the freedom of the loved ones drew me into the
same direction, to believe that evolution is for real - I don't think
God will let himself be proved the ID way.

But the two origins problems remain virtually untouched. To glibly and
casually assume that spontaneous emergence of life and the required
complexity is just a matter of finding the missing details, because we
(now) know of the fact of common descent, will not do. For the time
being, we can neither prove nor disprove the possibility of such
spontaneous emergence happening. Both sides - origin-of-life research
and ID - are still working with too much oversimplified model systems.
To date, neither side seems to have found a usable model of semantic (or
functional) information content of biological systems. In principle, I
consider the ID search to be very interesting, especially as a goad for
more self-critical origin-of-life research, but their models have to
become more sophisticated on the biological level. For the theological
reasons mentioned, I tend to believe that it might perhaps even be
feasible some day to make a somewhat convincing case for the possibility
of a spontaneous emergence of life. But today, we are still very far
from that point.


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Sun Feb 1 14:31:04 2004

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