Re: Are we aiding Richard Dawkins?

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Tue Nov 29 2005 - 17:55:05 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joel Cannon" <jcannon@jcannon.washjeff.edu>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 1:52 PM
Subject: Are we aiding Richard Dawkins?

> Hi Folks:
>
> > A Related Postscript
>
> Historically, one of the most deadly disconnected abstractions (at
> least in the way it has been passed onto us) came from William Paley,
> who gave the argument from design its clearest and most lasting form,
> a form that fits quite well into Dawkins absurdly disconnected
> Christianity, and provided Dawkins with the metaphor and the license
> with which to advance his prejudice.[7] Without the Christian Paley's
> choice to argue the truth of Christianity in terms disconnected from
> Christianity itself, Dawkins and Darwin would have no power. To my
> chagrin, Christians (e.g. Dembski and Johnson) apparently continue to
> view Paley's argument, however it has been adapted, as the principal
> intellectual justification for Christianity, and believe that if the
> argument fails, Christianity is not intellectually
> credible. Unfortunately, those of us who do not support Paley have not
> done a much better job at resisting and reshaping the landscape that
> Paley helped to create for Dawkins and his ilk. Paley created Dawkins
> playground and we have left that playground largely intact.

> > [7] I anticipate that Michael Roberts will object. To try to avoid
> that objection, I have tried to distinguish what we contemporary
> Christians are aware of with regard to Paley as opposed to the actual
> scope of his writings.
>
 I had to respond but I don't object! Got out of bed on the right side
today!

However I will make some comments.

1. Paley's work on design was very much of its age and was anti deistic. He
tended to look at biological features too mechanically. Even in his day he
was criticised on several fronts . Some reckoned he over-did design eg Adam
Sedgwick the evangelical geologist father of the Cambrian period etcand
Darwin's geology teacher, and S J Coleridge the poet turned high church
Anglican said he was sick of evidences. Other evangelicals thought he was
too rationalistic and weak on redemption. Though I have a lot of respect for
Paley I basically agree with these criticisms.

2. Paley's way of looking at biological features made one ask the question
"what are they for?" and thus enabled people to do reverse engineering on a
hand etc and most humorously by Buckland on the potato digging of
megatherium. (see my PSCF article of Dec 99). Applying these questions to my
dog, the canine teeth are for getting flesh off bones, the rear leg muscles
are for jumping and the dew claw seems to have no purpose at all. (In fact
it is vestigial. That raises a question on why God designed it! Or is it an
evolutionary relic?)

3. To Paley all biological structures were designed.

4. ID is not Paley resurrected. It is a God of the Gaps argument, which
opportunistically tries to say other things are also ID whether fine tuning
and their alleged descent from Paley. I hate to see ID compared with Paley!
One is full of holes and the other was a reasonable, but flawed, approach
for 1802.

5. I am like a badly designed CD as I am stuck in one track, crooning out,

"ID has nothing to do with Paley" repeated 1000 times

Michael
Received on Tue Nov 29 17:58:26 2005

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