Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?

From: Cornelius Hunter <>
Date: Sat Oct 15 2005 - 00:00:17 EDT


>> George:
>> Actually, IDs do not "say that some phenomena are due to direct divine
>> action." What they say is that one way or another we can infer design.
>> The design we infer may have gotten there by secondary causes. There are
>> IDs who would prefer primary causation, in some instances, to secondary,
>> but they must justify that beyond merely the design inference.
> A lot of people who aren't IDers in the current sense of the term, & in
> fact including some who oppose ID in that sense, believe that we can infer
> design. What is distinctive about the modern ID movement, as seen in its
> best representatives Behe & Dembski, is the claim that some aspects of
> life (irreducible complexity, complex specified information) can't be
> explained without the idea of an intelligent designer, which should
> therefore be made part of science. I.e., this involves not just the
> inference of design but the use of design to explain certain phenomena.

I don't follow this. Perhaps an example would help. Can you explain this
distinction using SETI and ID?

> This putative designer is God. (The claim that it wouldn't have to be is
> simply a tactic used to distance ID claims from religion for purposes of
> getting them into public school science curricula. It would only push the
> problems that a designer supposedly solves back a step.) So does God act
> directly or indirectly - through secondary causes - in creating
> irreducible complexity &c? In the latter case we can in principle explain
> the phenomena in question in terms of the secondary causes
> through which God works & the explicit introduction of a designer is
> unnecessary. Thus if the distinctive ID claim is to have any content - &
> to be of any use in the battle with "naturalism" - God must work directly
> in those situations.

Well it is a bit more nuanced than that. Remember, though secondary
causation is acceptable to ID, the fundamental premise is that design can be
inferred. How could that be? Well think about the idea of God directing the
secondary causes. Primary causation working via secondary causation. The
reason why ID has content is because the design can be inferred. The
difference between ID and TE, then, is not so much the particular mechanism,
but that design can be inferred. The results are too suspicious; too

My view of ID which I think is reasonably representative is that ID is not
particularly interested in the historical pathway (ie, origins -- the
question of how exactly the world was created). Design can be inferred
without knowledge of origins, and origins is way too uncertain anyway.


> Most IDers don't say explicitly that the phenomena in question are due to
> direct divine action because they're either coy or confused about the way
> in which divine action is related to created agencies. But that is a
> clear implication of their claims.
>> Second, IDs do not seek to analyze primary causation and make that part
>> of a scientific theory (none that I know of anyway). Perhaps you could
>> provide some specific examples if you think I'm misrepresenting ID.
> I didn't say that they do seek to do that. My point was that if they're
> going to maintain (as their claims require - see above) that God as the
> intelligent designer acts directly, apart from cooperation with creatures,
> to bring about certain phenomena AND that the work of an intelligent
> designer is part of science then they have (by making God part of a
> scientific explanation) made God the subject of scientific explanation.
> The solution to this dilemma is pretty easy: Stop claiming that ID is
> science.
> Shalom
> George
>>> I think this is correct, & there's another nuance. It's certainly been
>>> part of traditional doctrines of providence to say that on rare
>>> occasions God acts directly rather than through second causes. I don't
>>> think there's any compelling reason to say that such miraculous acts are
>>> needed in the evolutionary process but let's grant for the sake of
>>> argument that they are - e.g., for the origin of life. But then you
>>> just have to say "It's a miracle" and not pretend that you can
>>> investigate it scientifically, because we can't subject God to
>>> experimental testing. The IDers want to have it both way - to say that
>>> some phenomena are due to direct divine action AND to make that part of
>>> a scientific theory. As far as incorporation into science is concerned,
>>> a miracle in that sense can at most be a boundary condition (temporal
>>> &/or spatial) which can't otherwise be explained.
>>> Shalom
>>> George
Received on Sat Oct 15 00:07:20 2005

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