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

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Fri Apr 25 2008 - 02:16:01 EDT

Yes, I agree there is some good sense in Rich's proposal. There is clearly a philosophical aspect or dimension in the 'intelligent design' concept-duo. It is not, as expressed by the current leaders of the IDM, the 'design produced by human agents,' engineers, computer programmers, or any other makers of human artefacts. This design is quite obviously 'detectable' and therefore not that exciting for most observers.
   
  This said, I still see the problem of 'universalistic evolution' (or Total Evolution, as written on the ASA education link) encrouching on fields where it does not belong. To me, Rich's position will require compromise by TE/ECs who have Teilhard-like, wrapped their theologies up too tightly with the concept of 'evolution.' Some people deny this is possible, but accepting the possibility of over-use is imo a quite important concession.
   
  Rich wrote: "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. ... 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."
   
  This may be more difficult to 'prove' that Rich imagines. For every TE/EC who posits 'guided evolution' (without saying who the designer, oops 'Guider' is), there are (apparently) many, many more who argue for no teleology, no guidance of any kind allowed. It becomes a linguistic puzzle to unravel the way some people use 'random,' 'purposeless,' 'unguided,' 'chance' and other terms in their constellation of evolutionary logic. It would be a challenge to show how "mainstream, evolutionary theory" is in your favour here, but saying this opens the door to proving me wrong, which I would welcome.
   
  The heart of the IDMs message is not simply 'showing how the evolutionary process can't happen.' As many here at ASA have noted, most of the IDM leaders accept a limited evolutionary theory, history, paradigm, story, etc. There is also a challenge against naturalism (not TE naturalism, but materialistic evolutionary naturalism) and secularism in general, which is a term rarely raised on the ASA list. Perhaps this could be addressed in Rich's proposal as well.
   
  Gregory
   
  

Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> wrote:
    What Rich has just said makes good sense to me. The design in ID is a philosophical concept-- as pointed out by Roger Forster and Paul Marston in their 1999 book "Reason, Science and Faith". It is not the design as produced by engineers. Phillip Johnson lead the US ID movement astray at this point, and also at the point of conflating methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. It would be nice if the movement could be led back again.
Don

Rich Blinne wrote:
>
> 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
> "proof".
>
> 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 Fri Apr 25 02:17:17 2008

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