Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Oct 15 2005 - 20:07:35 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cornelius Hunter" <>
To: "George Murphy" <>; <>
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?


> I am not following your criticism of ID. You say the "distinction is
> clear." How is it clear if both sides are inferring an intelligent
> designer from creation? It seems the distinction you are pointing to is
> that of (i) what might be called "front-loading" where all the design is
> in the initial conditions versus (ii) mandating that God intervene at
> points along the way, even if via merely influencing secondary causes. But
> I had never understood TE to mandate (i) and necessarily exclude (ii). Nor
> is ID the reverse. Front loading is not excluded by ID.
> My understanding of the distinction between TE and ID is over the design
> inference. For TE, there must be no scientific or objective design
> inference possible. The only inference to God from nature must be via
> subjective or intuitive means, such as beaty and order as you mention
> above.
> ID, on the other hand, allows for making an objective, quantifiable,
> scientific design inference. It may fail, it may succeed, but it ought not
> be excluded (IDs of course are confident it can succeed). If I am correct
> about this distinction, then it seems to be that the basis for TEs to
> reject ID are:
> 1. The design inference doesn't do a very good job.
> 2. There are theological or philosophical problems with the design
> inference being posssible (POE, Leibniz' "God wouldn't intervene against
> his creation" argument, etc).

You continue to miss the sole point that I'm making here. Let me put it
this way. The specific aspect of ID that I have been objecting to here is
its insistence that the concept of an intelligent designer, who is in fact
God, must be an explicit part of a scientific theory which explains certain
biological phenomena within the world.

The reason that that is objectionable is that the claim requires that God
act directly in those phenomena, for if God acted through physical agents
and processes then the phenomena could be explained in terms of those agents
and processes. If God is an explicit part of the theory then that aspect of
the theory can't be part of science since we can't subject God to scientific

Notice that I say "certain biological phenomena within the world." I am not
speaking of an appeal to God to answer the question of why the world exists,
a question that science can't answer.

If something that calls itself ID doesn't make the claim that I've described
then my argument does apply to it. Behe & Dembski, however, both do make
this claim about, respectively, irreducible complexity and complex specified

There are other problems with ID, some of which we've discussed, but those
aren't my concern here.


> Yes, I think this is a more accurate characterization. So you either need
> to show that the design inference doesn't do a very good job, or that
> there are theological or philosophical problems with the design inference
> (not with primary causation, per se, since ID is not tied to that).

The forms of ID that are the major players in debates today do require
(whether their proponents realize it or not) problematic claims about
primary causation, as I discussed above. Forms of ID that don't require God
as an explicit component of scientific theories are of no use in the attack
on "naturalism" which is the main function of ID.

Received on Sat Oct 15 20:10:16 2005

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