[asa] Are TE and ID Really That Far Apart?

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Apr 24 2008 - 22:18:37 EDT

On Apr 23, 2008, at 5:52 PM, David Opderbeck wrote:

> I really enjoy Stephen Barr's work and he's a very interesting guy.
> Query though: is cosmological design really not a form of "ID"? It
> seems to me that many people who find cosmological design arguments
> potentially helpful are put off of biological design arguments
> because of the overstatement, politicization, etc. of the "ID
> movement" -- myself included. So making a distinction between
> cosmological and biological ID is almost more of a necessary
> difference in politics, style, and emphasis.

Absolutely correct, David. I'll strengthen your point. Both are design
arguments. They have the same form and have the same substance. In
addition to that both have roughly the same concept of evolution.
Dembski saying TE could be OK at the Messiah 2005 debate. Behe holds
to common descent and natural selection. The one difference on so-
called random mutation could be lessened if ID understood what is
meant by us by random and by focusing on the non-randomness of the
evolutionary process. By this I mean that evolution is random in the
same sense that our children are male or female randomly or to use the
Biblical example the random bow shot that killed Ahab. I'll spare the
rest of the rehash of concursus divinitatis. BTW, I liked your
discussion on analogia entis but that just proves that I am Reformed
and George is Lutheran. :-)

It seems to me that ID's problem is its own little form of scientism.
Perhaps they cannot seem to identify the designer because of the
issues that you as a lawyer have brought out previously. The other
reason that I have heard specifically stated is they think it makes
them sound more reasonable when it does the exact opposite. I have
absolutely no problem that my kind of ID is not scientific and that my
intent is to provide evidence for the Christian God. Again, as you
have noted earlier science isn't more objective than other kinds of
truth. It just uses a process that deals with our inherent
subjectivity by having the checks and balances of peer review and
testing hypotheses physically. Thanks for the heads up today on their
journal which hasn't published anything in years. If the scientific
elite truly were suppressing the truth or demarcating it into oblivion
then this journal provides a way to get their vaunted research program
out. But, there is no research program even though Philip Johnson
promised not to move on to getting ID into the schools until they had
real science to be taught. I believe -- correct me if I am wrong --
that it should be able to be taught in a philosophy class or the like
in a survey style -- much like comparative religions. Now, they seem
to think that this is inferior or more likely they perceive that *we*
think it is inferior. At least for me, this is not true. Just because
I believe that ID is not science does not imply I believe ID is not
true (although some of the arguments are really, really bogus.)
Furthermore, ID is better classified as philosophy anyway. What
biological ID went through does serve as a cautionary tale for us when
we use a cosmological ID argument which in my opinion is the strongest
arrow in their quiver. Nevertheless, as George has noted the "many
worlds" hypothesis for quantum physics and multiverses in general
still are out there as legitimate possibilities. Any of these
arguments should be more confirmatory rather than as a freestanding

I really don't understand why we cannot talk about philosophy and
theology. As your legal analysis has shown I see very little chance
ID, or "teaching the controversy", or whatever the strategy du jour is
ever getting in the schools. Given that, why not show our colors? But,
this cannot happen as shown when both of us got booted from Uncommon
Descent. Or, that theology was off the table at Messiah '05.

I do have an idea for their research program. Show how the
evolutionary process is not random, not how it cannot happen. We can
give them help here. This could be like the '95 Behe/Miller debate in
reverse where Behe showed that Miller's textbook claimed purposeless
evolution and Miller knowing that evolution is not random in the
popular sense fixed the error. It came back to bite him in the Dover
trial where the old version was being used and Miller pointed to the
new version. If the heart of the problem ID has is a random,
purposeless, evolution, then we are here to help show how current,
mainstream, evolutionary theory shows otherwise. It would require them
to risk getting "expelled" by their YEC allies, though.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Thu Apr 24 22:20:14 2008

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