RE: [Bulk] RE: [asa] Design Inference Mixed with Faith WAS Stupid/Dumb Science and Intelligent/Intelligence Science

From: John Walley <>
Date: Mon Oct 22 2007 - 23:09:21 EDT


George, I appreciate this thoughtful dialogue and I am trying to more fully
understand your and all the positions presented here as well as my own. I
also don't mean to be antagonistic but it is just hard for me to surrender
what I consider to be just basic spiritual discernment to the much more
nuanced claims of science which appear to me to be missing the point. That
is what I am struggling with.


For instance, in your two enumerated foibles of ID below, I agree with your
second one but we seem to still be disconnecting on the first one. As was
pointed out in another response, the Romans 20 quote seems to me to be at
odds with this claim. In fact the scripture seems to make clear that Design
and a Designer not only can be inferred but is actually mandated from
observations of nature (primarily at a general level but this should still
hold at a scientific level as well) to the point that those that reject this
conclusion are without excuse, so clearly according to this scripture, this
is an absolute spiritual truth independent of any faith commitment.


So therefore, if we are to remain true to the teachings of this scripture, I
don't see how we have any choice but to recognize that both design in the
secular sense as well as Design and even the more ambiguous Intelligent
Design that you define below, are made manifest in Creation, regardless of
any faith commitment or lack thereof, and that this is binding truth on all
of us. That appears to be God's position on the matter anyway if we accept
the scripture to be a reliable and authoritative revelation. And He doesn't
imply that it is rational to deduce that aliens designed us or the universe


And as a non-scientist, for me it is easy and logical to accept this premise
as a fundamental position of truth, and besides them overplaying their hand
and carrying it too far in the public square, it is not in my opinion, all
that much at odds with the ID of Behe and Dembski from what I can tell.
Therefore it is hard for me to abide the constant criticism of ID and these
over the top statements about what ID is and isn't, especially in light of
what appears to be God's thoughts on the matter, which seemingly should be
ours as well.


I understand that technically the arguments for Irreducible Complexity in
micro examples like bacterial flagella and blood clotting mechanisms can be
debunked and may even be flawed and that may not be an accurate example of
ID and it may not be good science, but that does not invalidate the larger
macro examples of ID that we see in Rom. 20. That is what I am struggling
with. I think the truth lies in here somewhere between these extremes but I
have not been able to pinpoint exactly where yet.


I do think it is a mistake though to surrender the terms of the debate to
"what is science" rather than "what is truth?" This is in my opinion the
same as trying to evangelize someone who doesn't accept the notion of sin or
the need for salvation. I think you would agree that that is pretty much a
lost cause until that debate is reframed and to me that is exactly the same
as letting the atheists put the onus on us to defend God against their
definitions of science. As we have seen that is impossible because when
cornered they will always play the aliens or multiple universes trump cards,
and that can never be defeated. Once we agree to reducing God or truth to
science, the best we can do is call it a draw and be content to be
intellectually fulfilled Christians like Pim says. I am happy to do that but
to me the injunctions of scripture seem to call for a more aggressive stance
than just that. For this reason as well I am sympathetic to the intentions
of the ID movement, however I agree that their tactics and strategies have
not been the right formula so far.










-----Original Message-----
From: George L. []
Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 11:10 PM
To: John Walley;;
Subject: [Bulk] RE: [asa] Design Inference Mixed with Faith WAS Stupid/Dumb
Science and Intelligent/Intelligence Science


I should have said 'Design" or "appearance of design" in itself has no
theological significance. My slip - but I think my meaning should have
been clear from the following sentence ("It's only if they're thought to
point to a designer that they do.").

I agree completely that "Those that seek Him must believe first" - & "faith
comes from what is heard, & what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ"
(Romans 10:17). It doesn't come from observations of stars or bacteria,
though such observations may help us to see better what God is doing once we
do believe.

It seems to me that you're being confused by the ambiguity of the phrase
"intelligent design" - an ambiguity that ID proponents exploit to the full.
Anyone who believes that the world is God's creation & that God has purposes
for creation believes in "intelligent design." That again is an expression
of faith. It's a quite different matter to think that (a) intelligent
design & a Designer can be inferred from scientific observations
independently of such a faith commitment & (b) that intelligent design & a
Designer should be & need to be parts of scientific theory. The latter
ideas are distinctive of today's ID movement & they are represent bad
science and bad theology.

I make no dogmatic claim that "the age of miracles has ceased." But as I
pointed out near the start of this thread, there is no scriptural or other
theological basis for the idea that the development of living things
involves continued miracles.

This will probably be my last post till Tuesday. If you want to understand
my position in more detail you can look at my book The Cosmos in the Light
of the Cross or my 2002 PSCF article "Chiasmic Cosmology and Creation's
Functional Integrity," which is on the ASA website.



> > > > > >Design" or "appearance of design" has no theological >
significance > > > > I don't understand how you can say this. > Either we
observe design or we don't. And to answer Pim's > question about appealing
to secular scientists, the fact that they admit it as > well (albeit without
attributing it to God) establishes objectively that design > exists and it
is not just an overactive imagination of Dembski or Behe. Once >
established, the only question remaining is how it got there, and that is
where > the parallel with the Pharisees come in. > > > > Maybe calming the
storm wasn't the > best example of God using miracles to directly establish
His credentials but > there are many. In fact in one case he argued with
the Pharisees and specifically > mentioned His miracles and said that as a
result the Kingdom of Heaven had come upon them. He > also used the fact
that their own sons and daughters were doing miracles as > well to counter
their charge of him doing do from Beelzebub which clearly makes > the link
between miracles and divine authorship. > > > > I am not thirsting for
signs and am aware > that Jesus denied them to the Pharisees but He very
plainly established them as > key testimonies to Him even ongoing through
out NT church history by declaring > that these "signs" would follow all
that believe. It looks like you > and I take opposite theological positions
along the cessationist divide but > that is a side issue. The important
point is that God appealed to Israel's > innate spiritual knowledge of God
as being the author of the universe to > establish His credentials with them
so it is logical for us today (including > Behe and Dembski) to respond the
same way. I will concede it may not be > scientific but as demonstrated, God
didn't expect a scientific response, > but one based on this innate faith. >
> > > That is why trying to represent God in > these purely scientific
terms to those in the terminal clutches of scientism is > misguided. They
are the ones seeking the same signs as the Pharisees that were > denied.
Those that seek Him must believe first or as Jesus said even if they > saw
someone raise from the dead they wouldn't believe. So that is why > winning
the battle for science is a shallow victory. It is only winning the > battle
for truth that matters. > > > > John > > > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > -----Original Message----- > From: >
[] On Behalf > Of George L. > Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 > 7:07 PM > To: > Subject: Re: [asa] Design > Inference Mixed with Faith WAS
Stupid/Dumb Science and Intelligent/Intelligence > Science > > > > No,
what Davies et al belief about the source of > design (or, as Dawkins says,
the appearance of design) is the whole point. > "Design" or "appearance of
design" has no theological > significance. It's only if they're thought to
point to a designer that they do. > > Jesus didn't still the storm "to
establish his > supernatural credentials" but to keep the boat from sinking
- Note his > responses when a sign "to establish his supernatural
credentials" was > demanded - e.g., Mk.8:11-12. Anyway, I am of course not
saying that God has > done nothing to reveal himself but that that
revelation is 1st of all his > historical acts culminating in Christ & not
natural phenomena accessible to > everyone. The latter must be seen in the
context of the former to tell us > anything about God, as I already said.
Job illustrates that quite well. > > I suggest that you tame your thirst for
signs by > reflecting on I Corinthians 1:22-23. > > I may not be able to
respond again for a bit - I'll be > on the road & in the air & in staff
meetings. > > Shalom, > > George > > > > > What Davies and Hoyle believe
about the > > source of the design is irrelevant. The point is they
recognize it > and > admit it as existing and even Dawkins begrudgingly
admits it > appearance. > > > > Similarly, this shared acceptance > of
this manifestly > obvious truth that God is the source of creation and > our
being was the same "methodology" > that Jesus used to > establish his
"supernatural" credentials. > When He calmed the > sea, the disciples
exclaimed in shock that "even the > wind and waves > obey him" but they
could have appealed to a scientifically > > reductionist physical
explanation. > > > > When God spoke to > Job from the whirlwind > and
asked him if he was there when He laid the > foundations of the earth, Job >
could have accurately and scientifically > responded that one day a
naturalistic > explanation for the origin of the > universe would be posited
and universally > accepted, but I don't > think that was the response God
was looking for. > > > > In > both these cases and in all the other >
miracles, God assumed that those > that had "ears to hear" would > rightly
equate His > supernatural exceptions over otherwise regular natural laws
with > His power > and His divine authority although He knew there would be
those who > reject > them due to hardness of heart, even before scientism
was conveniently handy > > to put a rational spin on it. > > > > Also the
> Pharisees denying the divine source > of Jesus' miracles and instead >
attributing them to Beelzebub was the > context in which Jesus warned His >
disciples of the grave consequences of > blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I >
contend that it shouldn't be that hard to > see that the enemy's > plans
today are the same as then, to take the > obvious spiritual truth of > God
being manifest in His creation and with enough > nuance and spin and > pride
and arrogance, can convince people to reject this and > replace it > instead
with naturalistic abiogenesis and multiple universes and > other > such
foolishness. > > > > I think that is a dangerous path > to start > down
indeed. > > > > John > > > > > > > > > > > -----Original >
Message----- > From: George L. > >
[] > Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 > 10:25 AM > >
To: John Walley;; > PvM > Cc: > > Subject:
[Bulk] RE: [asa] > Stupid/Dumb Science and Intelligent/Intelligence >
Science > > > > The fact that Davies doesn't & Hoyle > didn't > believe
that design was the work of the God revealed in Christ is > > significant.
(I'm not sure about Rees' beliefs.) As you point > out, > there are other
ways (e.g., multiverse) to account for them. We > see them > as the work of
the triune God Trinity only when we have come to > faith in that > God
through God's historical revelation. > > I don't > think God has any
commitment to > "scientism," but do believe that > God's action in the world
is > characterized by the kenosis shown in the > Incarnation. > > Shalom, >
> George > > > > > Again, > ID here is summarized as > only the biological >
components that can > be supposedly reduced. But as > a physicist George,
what > about the > arguments of design in the universe > from Martin Rees,
Hoyle and Daives? > > > > Don't the > scriptures give us reason > to
consider > that these aspects of design are > valid? > > > > > Although
they as well require them to be > > mixed with faith for us to > appreciate
their lesson. Otherwise, we could say > > they are insufficient > and
"scientifically vacuous" as we could > > always appeal to > multiple
universes and us just getting lucky if we wanted > to > be > strictly
scientific about it. > > > > This is the > > danger in assuming that God >
shares the same commitment to scientism that > > we do. > > > > John > >
> > > -----Original > Message----- > From: > > >
[] On Behalf > Of George L. > > > Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2007 > 11:41 PM > > >
To: John Walley; PvM > Cc: > Subject: RE: [asa] > Stupid/Dumb
> > Science and Intelligent/Intelligence Science > > > > > > There is not
the slightest scriptural reason to think > > that the bacterial > flagellum
or blood clotting cascade are part of > "God's > chosen > methodology of
revealing himself to > humanity." > More > generally, there is no
scriptural > reason to think that God either creates > > or sustains life
miraculously > - i.e., other than through natural > > processes. & more
generally > still, the whole notion that God's > > "chosen methodology of >
revealing himself to humanity" is through > > scientific study of > the
world. That methodology is his actions (both > > natural & > miraculous -
please note that I do not deny the latter) in the > > history > of Israel
which point to & culminate in Jesus Christ. > > > > Theologia naturalis
delenda est! > > George > > > > > > > > > >Of course, that ID is merely
the > set > > theoretic complement of regularity > >and chance shows that
'design' > > > is not an explanation but rather a > >position of ignorance
based on > the > > fact that science cannot (yet) > >explain a particular >
feature. > > > > > This sounds like the modern day equivalent of > the
Pharisees > rationalizing > > and dismissing the miracles of Jesus. > God is
the author > of our natural > laws > and He chose exceptions to > these laws
that he > worked at His will to > be a > testimony to Him. > > > And in fact
> for this correlation to be > logical, God > obviously intended a > common
> sense interpretation from the > masses > of His exceptions to the > >
standard laws to show His divine handiwork > > based on their improbability,
> not > an appeal to ignorance (this > goes both > ways) and a faith that >
science will > one day explain > it. > > Thus > Pim, your rabid ID > bashing
goes against God's chosen > methodology of > > revealing himself to >
humanity. > > John > > > > -----Original > Message----- > > From: > [] > On > > >
Behalf Of PvM > Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2007 7:09 PM > To: > > >
(Matthew) Yew Hock Tan > Cc: > Subject: Re: [asa] > >
Stupid/Dumb > Science and Intelligent/Intelligence Science > > As > George >
has > already pointed out, this is a very inept response. Of > > course,
that ID > > is merely the set theoretic complement of > regularity > and
chance shows > that > 'design' is not an explanation > but rather a >
position of > ignorance based on > the fact that > science cannot (yet) >
explain a > particular feature. > > > I > have invited many an ID activist
to > present their best explanation > > for > how the bacterial flagellum
was > 'designed' but given the fact > that > there > do exist plausible >
evolutionary explanations or > hypotheses, ID > cannot even > speak about >
the flagellum being > designed. ID proponents > argue that these > >
explanations are not > detailed enough and that design > is still the best >
> explanation, > but that is an illogical position > because ID does not >
explain > > anything. > > What has ID to offer beyond 'design'? Nothing > at
all > > really. And the > proof is in the pudding so the speak as ID has > >
yet to > propose ANY > scientific explanation for what it claims is > >
'designed'. > > > On 10/20/07, (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan wrote: > > > > > From
Stupid/Dumb Science and Intelligent/Intelligence > Science > > > > > > I
chanced upon this very excellent > article on intelligent > design > which I
> > want to recommend to > all who are open to > intelligence design. >
Among other > > > things, it explains why > intelligent design is science, >
and that it > makes > > predictions, > and is falsifiable, and that the > >
Darwinist theory of NO > DESIGN > > > needs to be tested against > the >
competing intelligent design theory of > REAL > > DESIGN, and > that was
what > Darwin himself was doing. [But > present-day > > > Darwinists are
obviously > afraid to deal with > intelligent design > theory.] > > > > Let
me > quote just the > following response > to intelligent design being a > >
> "science > stopper". > I think this reply is most excellent and should >
put a > > > stop > to all "science stopper" allegations. Same for >
God-of-the-Gaps. > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
> To unsubscribe, send a message to > with > > >
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unsubscribe, send a message to > > with > >
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L. Murphy > To > > unsubscribe, send a message to with
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George L. Murphy

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Received on Mon Oct 22 23:11:10 2007

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