More Than Intelligent Design.

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Thu Dec 29 2005 - 14:36:25 EST

I have no need to take up my time writing
something in "my own words" -- (in what would
ALWAYS be a futile attempt to placate the easily
offended controllers who have the need to correct
the behavior of other adults ) - since this is
essentially my position when it comes to the
subject of "intelligent design". ~ Janice

More Than Intelligent Design

Scholars involved in what has come to be known as
“the Intelligent Design movement” deserve
respect. They swim against the powerful tide of
naturalism, and I applaud their efforts and
integrity. At the same time, however, I sense a
need to clarify a subtle but significant
distinction between their goals and those of the
organization I represent, Reasons To Believe.

Intelligent Design (ID) proponents refrain from
making a specific identification of the Designer,
and they have their reasons. Many work in
academia and have firsthand awareness of ardent
naturalists’ and outspoken nontheists’ resistance
(to choose a mild term) to Christian theism.
Because that wall of resistance seems so
impenetrable, they propose a step-wise move
against the reigning paradigm. They seek to
establish first the possible existence of some
undefined intelligent designer, then the probable
existence of such a designer, and later, perhaps,
to discuss the (possibly) discernable
characteristics of the designer. At this last
step, the Christians among them might propose the
God of the Bible as the likely designer.

One irony of this painstakingly cautious approach
is that naturalism may die of natural causes
before ID advocates reach steps two or three. In
the upper echelons of research and scholarship,
naturalistic theories’ frailty is more and more
freely acknowledged. Even if ID proponents do
nothing to expose the inadequacies and
inconsistencies of its explanation for the cosmos
and life, naturalism may self-destruct.

Winning the argument for design without
identifying the designer yields, at best, a
sketchy origins model. Such a model makes little
if any positive impact on the community of
scientists and other scholars. Such a model does
not lend itself to verification, nor can it make
specific, credible predictions. On both counts,
scholars, particularly scientists, would be
reluctant to acknowledge the concept’s viability
and give it serious attention. Nor does this
approach offer them spiritual direction.

As I speak on university campuses and elsewhere,
I see a larger challenge to Christianity than
naturalism: the challenge of a vague or
idiosyncratic spirituality, faith detached from
objective truth and legitimate spiritual
authority. In fact, virtually all forms of
spirituality except Christianity seem in vogue
with the new “spiritual” people, who tend to be
less receptive than nontheists to the Christian
gospel. In other words, leading a nontheist to a
belief in an “intelligent designer” could do more spiritual harm than good.

Experience persuades me that the time is right
for a direct approach, a single leap into the
origins fray. Introducing a biblically based,
scientifically verifiable creation model
represents such a leap. It packs both a
scientific and a spiritual punch. It builds
trust, stimulates discussion, relieves
unnecessary tension about hidden religious
agendas, and turns attention quickly and
fruitfully toward testing and predictions.

This creation model approach shows the kind of
confidence that is willing to accept, rather than
shy away from, vulnerability. Not only does this
model welcome the kinds of critical scrutiny
applied to nontheistic models, but it also
invites refinement and critical comparison with
other theistic and deistic models.

Honest discussion and critique of various origins
models, including various Christian origins
models, can have a positive impact on furthering
scientific endeavor as a whole. Entrenched dogmas
and political correctness have for many years
only hampered progress toward building a body of
knowledge. The restrictive atmosphere seems
palpable at times, as many professors and researchers I have met can attest.

Herein lies an opportunity to exemplify the
freedom that exists in Christ. Truth holds no
threat for the Christian. Truth in the scientific
arena, which can be directly or indirectly
tested, will always be consistent with truth in
the spiritual arena. And, despite protestations
from all sides, truth in nature must be connected
with something, or Someone, beyond the natural
realm­the something or Someone responsible for
nature’s existence and characteristics.

The most important feature of the creation model
approach is that it challenges spiritual
vagueness and subjectivism head on. It
demonstrates, as well as defends, the legitimacy
of biblical authority and the truth-claims of
Jesus Christ. The bottom line for me and for my
colleagues at RTB is this: truth always points
the truth-seeker to its Source, the one person in
history who could make and back up the claim, “I
am the truth.” That’s what makes science so fun and fascinating. ~ Hugh Ross
Received on Thu Dec 29 14:38:08 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 29 2005 - 14:38:08 EST