Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Sep 22 2008 - 23:35:23 EDT

Hi Timaeus,

Welcome to the listserv! (if only via Ted :) ) I enjoyed reading your introductory post and am ready to learn and listen (which is mostly what I do here). First, a brief background on myself; then, a question to you.

I joined ASA in April 2007. My introductory post with my education/faith background is here: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200704/0122.html. For background purposes (a bit of disclaimer or declaration of bias, if you will), I might also add that my brief encounter with UD was not a positive one--a portion of my introductory post on ASA was reposted on UD in a rather poor manner/spirit (see: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/letter-to-thinking-christians-and-other-theists/) The ASA listserv picked up on it here, and you can follow the thread thereafter using the links: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200704/0249.html. However, I have no interest in rehashing that experience, so moving on... :)

On the ID-TE spectrum, I fall somewhere in the middle I suppose...Going off Collin's definition of a typical TE (p. 200, Language of God), the only one I would question/reject is #4 (still evaluating this one) and I would modify #6 to say that while humans are certainly unique, I believe that animals have a spiritual nature too (but that's a whole different thread!!). I don't a priori reject the idea that design might be detected scientifically, but like others on this forum, I'm somewhat skeptical that it can really be done, and am concerned about how this been handled in relation to Christian theology.

On to my question (I hope this isn't too much of a tangent, as it doesn't directly pertain to the TE position per se). Awhile back, I had an interesting discussion with someone on the Yahoo Q&A forum regarding the definition of "design". I reposted my discussion for the ASA listserv here: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200710/0053.html) Specifically, (copying and pasting this part from my original post), in the exchange:

"I concluded that the term "design" implied intelligence, and that therefore anything that was "designed" had to indicate the existence of an intelligence (thus, natural laws, being unintelligent, cannot "design" anything) In essence, my definition of "design" came to mean "intended order"--"intent" relating to the free will of the being, and "order" relating to a change of the physical characteristics of the system or item in question. To define "design" any differently I think, would really be to destroy the concept behind the word as used in language.

If this is the case, then does this force the Atheist to concede that nothing is in fact designed and that the term is meaningless; or, if they argue that the term does have meaning, then does this force them to concede that in some way, shape, or form, you have to be able to determine what is "designed" using science (which is conceptually what ID is trying to do).

If we all agree that the "term" design is not meaningless and can be determined scientifically, then regardless of your religious convictions, the next question would be how to show something is "ordered" and "intended". The first concept I would think you could show or at least address using the scientific concept of entropy; but as to "intent", how do you look at an object and determine "intent"? I would think you could only do this by using first-person experience to draw inferences--but then, does this lend evidence to the notion of qualia (see wikipedia entry on the term here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia)--the validity of a subjective view to determine an objective truth?"

Boiling it down, the key questions resulting from this conversation were:

1) Does the term "design" imply intelligence?
2) Does holding an Atheistic philosophy mandate that either:
    a) Design is a meaningless concept OR
    b) Validate the ID movement's contention that design can be determined scientifically.
3) If 2 is "b", then how to do this?

Based on the discussion referenced here and your own experience, how would you answer these questions, and what additional thoughts would you add?

Thanks ahead of time for your insights!
In Christ,
Christine

--- On Mon, 9/22/08, Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu> wrote:

> From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
> Subject: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one
> To: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Date: Monday, September 22, 2008, 2:35 PM
> In this very lengthy post, Timaeus identifies his or her own
> location on the conceptual landscape of ID and TE, expresses
> frustration about false stereotypes on both ends (with which
> I think many in the ASA will resonate), and then moves right
> into conversing with several people from the ASA list and
> others who have made specific points about ID vs TE.
>
> I'm sure that many will want to respond to parts of
> Timaeus' thoughtful post. In doing so, please try to
> copy only the very specific part(s) you are responding to,
> rather than simply copying back to the list the entire
> missive. That can be wasteful of storage space, to say the
> least, and it can make it hard for others to figure out just
> which point(s) you are replying to! This will also help
> keep the conversation focused.
>
> Timaeus' post follows, unedited, below.
>
> Ted
>
> ********
>
> Greetings to all ASA discussion list readers!
>
> Call me Timaeus.
>
> As Ted Davis has said, I have written posts on Uncommon
> Descent, and have written there as a supporter of ID, and as
> a critic (but I hope an open-minded one) of some versions of
> theistic evolutionism. Ted felt that some of my comments
> regarding the ID-TE debates had some constructive potential,
> and asked if I might be interested in entering a
> conversation with the people at the ASA. Since Ted had
> alerted members of your discussion list to his conversation
> with me on UD, and since many of you responded in August to
> some of my UD comments, it seemed to me that a good way of
> proceeding would be to continue with the UD conversation
> here. I do not think that the administrators at UD would
> object to this, because (1) I will still be defending the
> standard ID position with arguments to which they would not
> object; and (2) I was told that my comments at UD were too
> heavily focused on God and theistic evolution, and would be
> more appropriate to a discussion list such as this one. !
>
> In any case, I am acting on my own, not as an emissary of
> UD, and nothing I write should be taken as indicative of the
> opinions of any of the administrators at UD, and if I should
> embarrass myself here, UD is not to be blamed.
>
> I want to make it clear from the outset that ID is not
> opposed to evolution as such. It is in fact, in pure form,
> neutral on the question whether species are created by the
> direct action of an intelligent maker, or through a process
> of evolution. The science of ID, insofar as it can be
> accepted as science, can establish only the fact of design,
> not the causal history by which design was instantiated in
> nature. Thus ID has no reason for being dogmatically
> opposed to evolution as the “historical� means
> by which design found its way into living things.
>
> So what is ID opposed to? It is opposed only to the notion
> that the evolutionary process is unguided by any designing
> intelligence. In other words, it is opposed only to
> orthodox neo-Darwinism, as advocated by people like Dawkins
> and Coyne and Sagan and Gould. This means that ID’s
> battle is not against “theistic evolutionism�,
> where theistic evolutionism is properly defined (as belief
> in an evolutionary process planned and guided, or at least
> set up, by God), but only against “theistic
> Darwinism�, which appears to be the position of many
> EC/TEs. This means that, to the extent that ID could wean
> many TEs away from “theistic Darwinism�, while
> leaving them free to retain non-Darwinian forms of theistic
> evolution, a rapprochement between ID and TE is possible.
> It is in from within this hope for rapprochement that I am
> writing now.
>
> I am among those ID supporters who, with Michael Behe and
> Michael Denton, suppose that evolution (meaning common
> descent of all species from one or a few simpler forms) is
> true, or probably true. Behe and Denton might well drop the
> qualifier “probably�. I am not quite as
> certain as they are, but I think that the fossil evidence
> and other things make it intrinsically probable, and
> I’m willing to treat common descent as an
> indisputable given, at least for the purposes of our
> discussions here. But even if we treat common descent as a
> given, there are still two huge and very troubling questions
> about Darwinian evolution, one scientific and one
> theological. The scientific question is: Is the
> neo-Darwinian mechanism any longer a plausible explanation
> for evolution, in the light of the discoveries, over the
> past 25 years, of staggering levels of complexity and
> integration in biological systems? And the theological
> question is: Is the neo-Darwinian mechanism compatible !
>
> with the ultimate presuppositions of various religious
> teachings, in particular Christian religious teachings? I
> think that the answer to both of these questions is
> “No�, and I will try to explain why. I will
> not be able to do this fully in this introductory post, but
> if this post proves constructive, perhaps I can do so in
> future posts.
>
> OK, enough of this long-winded introduction. My purpose
> here is to try to bring TE proponents closer together to ID
> proponents, in particular those ID proponents who happen to
> be Christian. The huge gulf that has opened up between the
> two groups is unjustified when you consider that they both
> are supposed to share the same Bible, the same traditions of
> theological thought running from antiquity to the present,
> and the same personal faith. I’m not of course
> saying that it will be possible to get every TE proponent
> and every Christian ID supporter to agree on everything, but
> I think that if we renounce political sniping and rehashing
> the past history of offenses on both sides, we can eliminate
> at least the unnecessary causes of disagreement. And in my
> view, at least some of the disagreement comes from
> misunderstanding, on both sides, of what the other side
> holds. I discovered this more clearly when Ted directed me
> to the ASA discussion about my UD debate with Ted and Ja!
>
> ck Krebs; it was clear to me that each side is responding
> to positions that the other side doesn’t necessarily
> hold. So I’m going to try to clarify what, in my
> view, ID holds, meaning ID in general (which includes
> non-Christian points of view), but also ID as its Christian
> supporters understand it. Then I’m going to try to
> say what ID people think that TE holds, in such a way that
> you people can come back and correct me if I have TE wrong.
> And in the process, I hope some suggestions for possible
> middle ground will emerge.
>
> I want to begin by picking up on comments that were made on
> this ASA list by several people, and use them to build up a
> more correct picture of ID.
>
> It appears that some TEs think that ID makes the ASSUMPTION
> that design in nature is scientifically detectable. For
> example, Steve Martin wrote on Aug. 29th:
>
>
> “No I don't think this is **THE** point of
> contention. I believe the point
> of contention is that many ID proponents insist that design
> ***MUST*** be
> scientifically detectable for theological reasons.�
>
> This statement reveals two misconceptions. First, in its
> pure form, ID says not that design in nature MUST be
> detectable, but only that it MAY be detectable, and
> therefore that it is worthwhile to investigate nature with
> that possibility in mind. To be sure, Behe and Dembski and
> others have offered what they take to be pretty strong
> arguments that design has been formally confirmed in some
> places, but this is not an assumption for them, but only a
> conclusion. They of course recognize that their methods,
> arguments, and conclusions can be debated, and they have no
> objection to that. What they DO object to is any A PRIORI
> declaration -- based on either philosophical materialism or
> Christian theological preferences -- that design cannot
> possibly be detected in nature by empirical, mathematical
> and rational procedures.
>
> Second, even those Christian ID theorists who believe that
> design in nature is scientifically detectable do not insist
> that design in nature “must� be detectable
> “for theological reasons�. The whole point of
> ID, even for ID supporters who are also Christian, is to
> separate the intellectual procedures of design detection
> from theological discussion, so that they establish only the
> fact of design, and leave all discussions of the nature of
> the designer to exobiology (if the designer is an alien) or
> to theology (if the designer is God). There is nothing in
> ID as such that is theological, and while ID proponents
> certainly have private theological views, the personal
> theological differences are so wide that these differences
> would neutralize any attempt to say that Christianity
> requires design to be detectable. For example, Michael
> Behe, being a Catholic, is heir to a tradition which has, on
> the whole, been open to natural theology, and whose leading
> proponents have of!
>
> ten argued that nature teaches us at least a limited
> amount about God, i.e., that he is a highly intelligent
> designer. It’s possible, therefore, that Behe might
> have a prior inclination, based on his Catholic
> understanding, to think that design should be detectable.
> But George Hunter, who is more Calvinistic in orientation,
> is (if I understand him correctly) not at all inclined to
> say that Christianity requires that design MUST be
> detectable by means of science. Given Calvinism’s
> uncompromising stand on the freedom of God, no Calvinist
> would say that God MUST have created nature in such a way
> that design could be detected by science. Rather, George
> argues (I think) for the detectability of design on purely
> empirical grounds. That is, he does not speculate about
> what kind of world God should have created, but investigates
> the world that God did in fact create. He believes that
> design is detectable on empirical grounds, not on the basis
> of any a priori theology that!
>
> favours design detection.
>
> Randy Isaac, on Aug. 29, turning the tables on one of my UD
> questions, wrote:
>
> “Is it a necessary corollary of the orthodox
> Christian doctrine of creation that God's action of
> design in nature must be detectable in some way through
> unique patterns in nature (beyond the very existence of
> nature, its fine-tuned characteristics, and the
> comprehensibility of nature)?�
>
> I answer: no, it’s not. Even those ID thinkers who
> are Christian (and always remember, many are Jews,
> agnostics, Hindus, etc.) do not say that God’s design
> MUST be detectable by scientific means. And by the way, I
> add, they don’t think that TE/EC people are
> un-Christian or unorthodox merely for doubting that design
> is scientifically detectable. Rather, they think that
> certain TE/EC people, the ones who seem to deny in principle
> that design could be scientifically detectable, and seem to
> do so on theological grounds, are being theologically
> dogmatic or theologically narrow or theologically
> presumptuous, to rule out a possibility which many Christian
> thinkers throughout the ages have taken seriously.
> It’s one thing for a TE to say, humbly: “On my
> reading of the Bible and Christian theology, I see no reason
> to believe that God made his design detectable by scientific
> means�; it’s another thing for a TE to say, or
> imply, that the contrary view (that design is !
>
> detectable) is bad theology, or heretical theology, or
> “Deism� rather than true Christianity, etc.
> But I’ll come back to ID complaints about TE later.
>
> Allan Harvey, on Aug. 29th, writes:
>
> “I don't mind if ID people say "this is
> *possible* and we are looking for evidence" or even if
> they claim to have found such evidence (although I mind when
> the claimed evidence is flimsy as is the usual
> case).�
>
> Allan, this is exactly what ID people do say, when they are
> being careful. If some overzealous ID proponents say more,
> they are going beyond what ID proper can say.
>
> Allan goes on to say:
>
> “What I DO mind very much is the attitude that seems
> to dominate the ID
> movement (there are probably exceptions) which makes such
> scientific
> detection of God a theological *necessity* on which the
> truth of theism depends.�
>
> Allan, I know of no major ID theorist who has said that
> “scientific detection of God is a theological
> necessity�. ID theorists have said that design may
> be scientifically detectable. And they have said that if
> there is a design, there must be an intelligent designer.
> But they have said that science is utterly powerless to say
> whether the designer is a God or Demiurge or a Life Force or
> an alien from Antares. And if the designer is God, science
> is powerless to say whether God is the Christian God, or the
> Allah of Islam, or the Siva or Vishnu of Hinduism, or some
> other God. The answer to such questions can’t be
> settled by science. ID proponents have said this over and
> over again, in their books, on the DI web site, everywhere;
> yet both Dawkins-Darwinists and TE-Darwinists seem to be
> hard of hearing on this point. It as if they don’t
> actually read what ID proponents write, but base their
> opinion of ID on rumour and hearsay. Is it unreasonable of
> me to ask, on be!
>
> half of ID, that TE people READ intelligent design
> literature, and read it carefully, before they react to ID?
>
>
> Further, ID proponents have never said that “the
> truth of theism� depends on being able to detect God
> through science. For those ID proponents who are theists,
> the study of nature through science is often thought of as
> ONE way of coming to know of God’s existence -
> through what many Christians traditionally called one of
> God’s two “books�, i.e., through
> “the book of nature�. But suppose that all
> arguments from nature failed, suppose that design detection
> proves impossible; does it follow that all ID proponents who
> are now theists would cease to believe in God? That does
> not follow. In addition to “the book of
> nature�, there is also “the book of
> God’s word�, the Bible, which provides
> knowledge of God through revelation. If design proved to be
> indemonstrable from nature, then ID as a scientific theory
> would indeed be dead, but nothing would prevent
> ID-Christians from remaining Christian (sans ID); they could
> fall back exclusively on revelation as!
>
> evidence for God’s existence. In addition, of
> course, there are other traditional arguments for God - the
> existence of conscience and moral law, for example, which
> don’t depend on revelation. It is not as if
> Christians are without reasons for believing in God, just
> because God can’t be “proved� by the
> teleological kinds of argument that ID proponents like to
> investigate.
>
> Allan here misconceives the role of teleological argument
> for ID proponents. For ID proponents, the teleological
> argument for a designer is not the source of religious
> faith. Rather, it is facilitating; it doesn’t prove
> the existence of the Biblical God, or even of a Deistic God;
> rather, it shows (or tries to show) that the facts of nature
> (irreducible complexity etc.) are just as well explained, if
> not better explained, by the hypothesis of an intelligent
> designer/creator than by the hypothesis of chance and
> natural selection. What this means is that
> “science� as such does not (as the Darwinists
> claim) settle the debate between design and chance; rather,
> science (where science is understood as allowing for the
> inference of design, based not on religious belief but on
> empirical evidence) levels the playing field (which
> neo-Darwinism and modern materialism had previously tipped
> in favour of chance and necessity). Neo-Darwinism is thus
> reduced to a speculative attemp!
>
> t to provide a mechanism for evolution, and need no longer
> be regarded as THE only possible scientific explanation for
> evolution. It has to share the stage with theories
> involving design (where the design may be instantiated in
> nature via an evolutionary process). Just as Darwinism made
> atheism intellectually respectable, so ID makes theism
> intellectually respectable, by showing that theism
> (understood very broadly as the assertion of a
> designer/maker of the world) is a rationally and empirically
> sound inference from the facts of nature. No Christian need
> be embarrassed by holding to theism, as if theism is for the
> scientifically or logically benighted. If anything, theism
> appears to be more in tune with the realities of nature than
> Dawkinsian atheism does. But ID does not claim to have
> “proved� theism; nor does it regard
> “proving� theism as necessary for religious
> faith.
>
> I’ve so far discussed how TE people misunderstand
> ID. Now I want to reverse the perspective, and look at why
> ID people think of the TE position the way that they do.
> Many ID people, when they think of TE, don’t think
> first of extremely well-balanced and broadly educated people
> like Ted Davis. They think of scientist-writers like Ken
> Miller, or Francis Collins, or Francisco Ayala. All of
> these writers have, at various times, attacked ID not just
> on scientific grounds, but on explicitly theological
> grounds. I summarized some of these arguments on UD, when I
> responded to Jack Krebs as follows:
>
> “Your position here sounds reasonable, and in fact
> sounds very much like the ID position - i.e., let’s
> settle this on the basis of the science - but I’m
> sorry to say that many TE writers have said things that
> sound very different from this. At various points, Ken
> Miller, Francis Collins, Francisco Ayala and others have
> strongly suggested that ID should be rejected by Christians
> for theological reasons. They have argued that the ID God
> is too much like a mechanic or tinkerer, which is not a
> worthy conception of God, that the ID God makes God directly
> responsible for evil in the world, which is theologically
> unacceptable, that the ID God makes God’s action
> detectable, which makes Christianity depend on reason rather
> than faith, and that the ID God is vulnerable to “God
> of the gaps� falsification, which could put
> Christianity at risk if the gaps are ever filled.
>
> “The theological concerns animating all of these
> arguments are quite plain. If you have been reading TE
> authors carefully, you cannot be unaware of the frequency of
> these sorts of arguments.�
>
> http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/aaas-response-to-expelled/
>
>
> (post #259)
>
> So, from the ID point of view, it is the TE people who
> always want to drag theology into the discussion of design
> theory and design detectability. The ID people want to talk
> about irreducible and specified complexity, about
> intertwined systems which cannot be changed piecemeal but
> only in wholesale transformations (which seems to bar
> Darwinian gradualism as the mechanism of evolution), about
> the apparently much greater role of necessity than of chance
> in the biological realm, about the lack of demonstration of
> hypothetical evolutionary pathways, etc. The TE people do
> not seem (from the ID perspective, anyway) to want to talk
> about these things. They seem to prefer to talk about the
> kind of God that Christianity requires, and the kind of
> world that that kind of God would have created, and how that
> world can be made to match the world as described by
> Darwinism.
>
> In the aforementioned reply to Jack Krebs (#259), I went on
> to say:
>
> “Further, none of these arguments, even if
> theologically valid, addresses the scientific arguments
> involved in particular inferences put forth by ID theorists.
> Logically speaking, these arguments commit the same error as
> the argument that Darwinism must be false as biology because
> it has led to bad ethical and political consequences. If
> Darwinism is correct biology, ethical and political theory
> will just have to deal with the fallout, however unpleasant,
> and if design in nature is detectable, then Christian
> theology will just have to live with the consequences,
> however unpalatable those consequences may be for certain
> Christian theologians.�
>
> By this I had in mind examples like this: Behe implies
> that noxious creatures like malaria were designed. That
> makes the designer responsible for all the evil that malaria
> brings into the world. Both Ayala and Miller have indicated
> that they don’t like ID because it makes God directly
> responsible for evil, whereas Darwinism makes nature, not
> God, directly responsible for evil. Now we could argue
> about whether this argument of Miller’s and
> Ayala’s is a very good theological argument. (I
> think it’s shallow and easily refuted by any good
> philosophy undergrad, but that’s beside the point.)
> But the point is not whether Miller and Ayala are good or
> bad theologians. (They are in fact untrained incompetents
> in theology, but that’s beside the point, too). The
> point is that they refer to theology at all. What
> SCIENTIFIC difference does it make to validity of the
> argument that “Malaria is designed� even if it
> DOES make God directly responsible for evil? IF des!
>
> ign CAN be detected in some cases (as Behe believes it
> can), and IF it follows from specific evidence that malaria
> is designed, should we hide our heads in the sand from that
> result of science, in order to “save� a certain
> form of Christian theology? Is that a model for how science
> ought to proceed - to make sure that no conclusion is ever
> allowed to be regarded as scientific, if it poses problems
> for Christian theology? Is science, then, to be reduced to
> the handmaid of Christian theology?
>
> From the ID point of view, it often seems as if theistic
> evolutionists are far more concerned about theological
> questions than they are about scientific ones. ID people
> want to reverse that priority; they want to put the focus on
> science, and they want to do it by re-opening the argument
> about neo-Darwinism.
>
> Some TEs might say that neo-Darwinism is so certain that
> the argument is not worth re-opening. But we ID people
> think otherwise. And it’s not just official ID
> people who agree. There are plenty of brilliant people who
> don’t belong to the Discovery Institute but have
> argued strongly for design in nature, or at least for
> re-opening the case for design in nature, based on the
> scientific evidence: philosopher Antony Flew; biologist,
> biochemist and medical scientist Michael Denton;
> self-organization theorist Stuart Kaufmann; holder of two
> Biology Ph.D.s Richard von Sternberg; philosopher Thomas
> Nagel; and philosopher-mathematician David Berlinski. But
> despite these people, and despite the (in our view)
> impressive arguments of Michael Behe, William Dembski,
> Stephen Meyer, Granville Sewell and many others, we sense
> very little interest on the TE side in re-opening the
> scientific discussion about neo-Darwinism.
>
> TEs appear to regard the mechanism of chance mutations plus
> natural selection as such a slam-dunk that there’s no
> point in questioning it. They think that it can explain
> every feature of every species of living thing on the
> planet. And ID people wonder: haven’t TE people
> read Michael Denton’s two absolutely devastating
> books against neo-Darwinism? Haven’t they read David
> Berlinski, and seen him trounce about twenty of the
> world’s leading Darwinists, single-handedly, in the
> pages of Commentary? Haven’t they read Behe’s
> discussion of the ciliar construction system in The Edge of
> Evolution, and wondered how on earth such a co-ordinated
> system could ever have evolved, in a billion or a trillion
> years, by tiny random changes? And haven’t they
> wondered why no Darwinian has answered Behe’s
> discussion in that chapter? Haven’t they taken note
> of the very long list of absolutely crucial things that
> Darwinian mechanisms HAVEN’T accounted for, set forth
> at l!
>
> ength in Dembski and Wells’s Design of Life? And
> finally, even on the Darwinian side, haven’t they
> taken account of the fact, raised by Stephen Jay Gould
> himself, that the fossil record is problematic for orthodox
> Darwinian gradualism? We wonder how all of these arguments
> don’t seem to raise even a shadow of a doubt about
> the all-sufficiency of the Darwinian mechanism among TEs.
> And we wonder what we would have to do to raise such doubts.
> Is it a waste of our time to try?
>
> If only we could hear, every now and then, from a TE,
> something like this -- “You’ve got a point
> there! Come to think of it, I never HAVE heard a very clear
> Darwinian explanation of the origin of the cardiovascular
> system, or how gills vanished and lungs took over just
> exactly as fins were turning into feet; I always just
> assumed that these details had been fully or largely
> explained in some journal article somewhere, and have taken
> them on faith. Maybe I should be doing some library
> research to see if such explanations in fact exist.�
> If we could just hear the odd statement like that coming
> from the TE camp, indicating a little bit of healthy
> scientific skepticism about extravagant claims for the
> explanatory record of neo-Darwinism, that would go a long
> way towards convincing us that TEs, like ID people, are
> critical as opposed to passive recipients of majority
> scientific views.
>
> Finally, we ID people are not sure whether TE people are
> sufficiently alert to the dangers of simply adjusting
> Christian theology to accommodate the current majority
> scientific view. Current scientific views change. In
> cosmology, for example, over the past 40 years, views about
> “dark matter�, “dark energy�, the
> speed of expansion of the universe, etc., have changed
> almost annually, as new data and new interpretations emerge.
> Would one want to tie one’s Christian theology to
> the details of a body of theory as mercurial as that? In
> our view, recent discoveries and interpretations regarding
> biological evolution have put Darwinian theory in a similar
> volatile situation. So we say: there is simply no point in
> adjusting Christian theology to accommodate Darwinism if
> Darwinism, in the final analysis, is a much weaker and more
> questionable theory than everyone supposes. No one today
> would dream of trying to ensure that Christian theology
> doesn’t fall afoul of the â!
>
> €œscienceâ€� expressed in the medieval
> physiological theory of “the four humours�; yet
> it’s possible that 100 years from now, Christian
> theologians may take exactly the same attitude towards a
> quaint view that used to run something like “evolution
> is caused by random mutation plus natural selection�.
> ID theorists believe that the Darwinian mechanism is
> already, in the light of recent advances in biochemistry,
> information theory, complexity theory, etc., starting to
> look quaint - not medieval-quaint, like the theory of the
> humours, but 19th-century, Victorian mechanistic-materialist
> quaint. And we challenge TE thinkers to seriously examine
> this possibility, before they do any more theological
> harmonizing of Christianity with Darwinism.
>
> I think this should be sufficient for an introductory
> posting. :-) I hope it advances the discussion between ID
> and TE people in a constructive way.
>
> T.
>
>
>
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Received on Mon Sep 22 23:35:35 2008

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