Re: [asa] On ID, TE, and culture wars

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 14:22:01 EDT

I think you're conflating philosophical ideas with supposedly scientific
evidences according to ID. If one starts as a theist or deist, then one
ascribes the order of creation to the deity. From some other viewpoints,
one does not see the hand of God, but rather dumb luck or a multiverse.
But from any viewpoint, how does one "measure" divine activity? I agree
with ID that the universe is designed, but find no rational way to
establish that by anything understood as science. As /scientia/ or
/wissenschaft/, that's a different matter.

On Fri, 04 May 2007 09:23:50 -0400 "Ted Davis" <>
> I don't share George's low view of ID myself. Despite the politics
> of the
> movement, which I detest (and which definitely prevent me from
> identifying
> too closely with ID), I find several ID ideas interesting and worth
> talking
> about. I lean theologically more toward George than toward most IDs
> (that
> is, what I know about the "unofficial" theology of most IDs), but
> not
> entirely in that direction, and I don't think that God is obliged
> entirely
> to "hide" himself in the creation. At the same time, I share
> Polkinghorne's
> view that "The world is not full of items stamped 'made by God' --
> the
> creator is more subtle than that -- but there are two locations
> where
> general hints of the divine presence might be expected to be seen
> most
> clearly." One of those is cosmic history, the other our own
> conciousness.
> As P likes to say, when the astronomer peers into her telescope, she
> needs
> to remember that the most complex object in the universe is six
> inches
> behind the eyepiece.
> The biggest problem with ID, as I see it, is the inability to
> separate ID
> from the politics of the "culture wars." It isn't hard to find
> leading ID
> advocates linking these inseparably. (I won't back that up here,
> but it's a
> piece of cake to do so.) So, for those who find the ideas
> themselves
> interesting and worth considering, but who reject the cultural
> warfare that
> the ideas are explicitly said to be linked to, what are we to do?
> Furthermore, what are we to make of ourselves, those of us who
> believe that
> an inference to purpose/design in the universe is larger than
> science alone,
> that it depends also on metaphysics/theology? I know quite a few
> Christians
> in the sciences who believe that one can in fact make design
> inferences from
> nature, but not independently of theodicy and prior conceptions of
> who the
> designer actually is? Are we ID adocates, or not? I find the
> general
> thrust of ID persuasive myself--the universe and its parts really
> are too
> complex in specified ways to have been the product of "blind
> chance," as
> Christians and others have called it for centuries. But, I also
> hesitate to
> claim "proof" of this from the mere absence of presently known
> specific
> mechanisms that could have produced such complex objects.
> So--does this make me an adherent of ID? To the best of my
> knowledge, no,
> b/c of my belief about the importance of metaphysics and theology in
> drawing
> design inferences. On the other hand, what of my sympathies toward
> the
> larger picture and my support for a modest natural theology? Does
> this make
> me an ID or just the kind of TE that IDs seem not to appreciate?
> The bottom line, for me, is that I believe what I believe, without
> regard
> to the categories we sometimes quite artificially impose on people
> and their
> ideas/beliefs. IMO, the culture wars seem to require "proofs" to
> support a
> particular agenda and to oppose the equally shrill claims of Dawkins
> and
> company. In culture wars, those who sit in the middle of the road
> tend to
> end up as roadkill. I suggest that drivers are often responsible
> for what
> they hit, particularly if it doesn't just jump in front of you
> around the
> next bend in the road. A little more delicacy in navigation might
> leave
> some more of the truth alive.
> Ted
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Received on Fri May 4 14:46:33 2007

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