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

From: <>
Date: Tue Oct 23 2007 - 00:55:06 EDT

 Boiling it all down, no one can know how the universe came into being.  No one knows.  And even though it likes to speculate that the Big Bang was the be all, end all of the physical universe, science still flat doesn't know how the Cosmic Egg come into being.  An ostensible
transcendent Creator initiating the Cosmic Egg is actually almost plausible
and certainly not refutable by science.  So science cannot comment on the initiation of the Cosmic Egg by God or anything else.  End of argument.  Science doesn't know any more than I do whether or not God Created the universe.

But science can say how it almost certainly could NOT have been created.  A literal interpretation of the universe being created in 7 - 24 hour periods is safely out of the question for a scientist. So the Bible is either interpretable or it is false in scientific terms.  If the Bible is interpretable, there is no argument. 

The question is not did God create the universe.  The question was never really about whether or not God created the universe.  The question is and always was, what is the best interpretation of the Bible? 



-----Original Message-----
From: John Walley <>
Sent: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 10:09 pm
Subject: RE: [Bulk] RE: [asa] Design Inference Mixed with Faith WAS Stupid/Dumb Science and Intelligent/Intelligence Science


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


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 either.


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


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

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



> > >   > > >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: > > > >
> > > [my title] 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. > > > >
> > > >
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George L. Murphy


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Received on Tue Oct 23 00:56:12 2007

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