Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Tue Sep 23 2008 - 21:07:08 EDT

Hi Ted,

“If I did get around more, Mike, which specific people should I be paying
the most attention to? You are obviously one of them, but I already know
about your ideas b/c you wrote a book about ID (thank you for sending me a
copy) and you are on this list. If you could give me, say, half a dozen
specific names to look into, rather than just the names of a few web sites
that I need to keep checking (as important as that is), it would be very
helpful to me in rounding out my picture of ID. The people you have in mind
are probably not on my radar screen, and what I'm missing could be important
to my understanding of ID.”

I think I have confused things here, as I.am not saying there is a prolific
group of Dembski-like figures out there burning up cyberspace with ID
evolutionary thinking (although, [cough], a prominent mainstream player just
labeled me a prominent player [grin]) . I’m talking average cyber-folk –
the pajama-clad people who spend significant time arguing and posting on
internet forums and blogs. The people who like to argue. The people who
buy and read books. The people who download and read scientific articles,
even though they are not scientists. I could list off a set of screen-names,
but I don’t think that is what you are looking for.

I do agree that the “the inner circle of ID” appears to be dominated by
denial of CD, with Behe as “the odd man out.” But let’s also remember that
the “odd man out” was also the break-out guy for ID, with his book DBB.
Pandas and Darwin on Trial (for example) were insider books. DBB is what
introduced ID to the general public. It is what defined ID for the general
public.

What I am saying is that ID has an appeal that extends beyond the inner
circles’ CD-denial. I think this is so for two reasons. First, the inner
circle’s version of ID is just a variant of design arguments that have been
part of Western culture for centuries. Thus, ID spoke to a larger population
than the creationist community –anyone sympathetic to design arguments.
Second, Behe as the break-out guy is key – for his acceptance of evolution
clearly testifies that ID does not entail a denial of evolution. And, more
importantly, *the logic backs this up.*

Thus, while the inner circle may deny evolution, and while the creationist
community may provide most of the foot soldiers for the socio-political
movement where ID is used as a means to an end, the social fact remains that
arguments percolate out into the public arena (through books and the web) on
their own. And the ability for evolution and ID to co-exist (Behe) opened
doors and has given way to arguments where ID and evolution are intimately
fused together. Such arguments take on a life of their own independent on
the inner circle and their CD denial. Those arguments then become the focal
points of people who have no allegiance to the movement or neo-creationism,
but who find each other and maintain connections *thanks to the internet.*
They are drawn to the design of evolution. In the end, it is logic and
arguments that persist and spread, while personalities become part of
history.

Instead of thinking of ID in static, local terms, as some notion hatched for
socio-political reasons and restricted to some small clan with a microphone,
think of ID in dynamic, global terms, something that began as an attempt to
tap into an ancient stream of teleological thinking (for whatever reason).
Once the ground was broken, those who broke the ground have no control over
where the waters flow. In fact, they might not like where the water goes.
But it doesn’t matter. In fact, it doesn't matter who broke the ground and
why they did it; it matters only that the ground was broken.

Better yet, think like an evolutionist and not a creationist on this issue.
Instead of viewing ID as something that was created and can now only
reproduce after its own kind, think of ID as something that evolved into
existence and is still in the process of evolving.

But then, someone might ask, is it still ID? Well, that inner circle never
defined ID with great specificity, now did they? Witness the way Timaeus
describes it: “It is opposed only to the notion that the evolutionary
process is unguided by any designing intelligence.” If that’s what ID boils
down to, it doesn’t matter what the inner circle personally believe about
CD, as those denials of CD look more like baggage than core positions. The
denials were never part of…..ID.

-Mike

>I am very interested in Mike Gene's comments about CD and ID. His point
>about having cyber-experience is helpful: I am not very experienced at
>surfing and using the internet. I'm one of those old guys who still reads
>books, and who finds that too much time surfing has a major negative effect
>on writing things that end up in books. I think that PCs will become
>obsolete before books do, for various reasons, so I don't feel a great
>burden to change my habits. However, sometimes I do need cyber-happy
>people to help me get up to speed with what they are finding; likewise,
>sometimes cyber-happy people on UcD and other blogs need to do some actual
>reading from books, seeing things that just are not available online. A
>good chunk of the serious stuff on this issue is still printed on paper
>between covers.
>
> On this part, however, I'm already up to full speed:
>
> You need to distinguish between the ID Movement (which draws from elements
> of the Creationist Movement and gets all the attention) and the concept of
> ID which, thanks to the internet, draws a grassroots network of
> iconoclasts,
> oddballs, and rabbit lovers. :)
>
> Mike, I've been making and stressing that distinction for many years.
> I've been doing a lecture in various places (even at the U of Washington,
> not far from TDI) in which this distinction is one of the central points.
> What I have missed is your point, that web sources are very important for
> understanding actual ID theory (as vs the IDM, which is what I would
> normally associate with the web). I've confined my understanding of ID
> theory to the books by the big guns--or, to be even more accurate, to some
> of the books by the big guns, since ID isn't the only topic I read about.
> :-)
>
> And, when I read things by Johnson (now retired, I realize), Dembski, and
> Wells, and articles by Meyer and Nelson, I do get the overwhelming
> impression that CD is just Mike Behe's pet idea within the inner circle of
> ID. And, no doubt, those people are the "big boys," in terms of their
> influence on the IDM; they certainly sell a lot of books in a lot of
> places. Furthermore, one of those big boys (I will provide no further
> identification here) told me once that Mike is pretty much the odd man out
> on this point, and that the others hadn't given up trying to persuade him.
> So, I think my instincts about a close link between ID and the rejection
> of CD are still at least partly justified.
>
> So, let me get at this divide (between the blogosphere and the authors of
> books) with a more pointed question. I've indicated above, Mike, who are
> in my mind the main ID theorists. Granted, I've left out a few other
> people who are also influential, for various reasons--for example, George
> Hunter almost certainly rejects CD (heck, he's probably even an agnostic
> about the earth's great age, and that pretty much means that he has to
> reject CD), but he's not really in the inner circle as far as I can tell.
> Anyway, my understanding of what ID is, has been substantially shaped by
> people such as those named here; and, by their books and essays, not by
> their blogging. I hear you saying that I need to get around more, and I
> accept that point. If I did get around more, Mike, which specific people
> should I be paying the most attention to? You are obviously one of them,
> but I already know about your ideas b/c you wrote a book about ID (thank
> you for sending me a copy) and you are on this list. If you could give
> me, say, half a dozen specific names to look into, rather than just the
> names of a few web sites that I need to keep checking (as important as
> that is), it would be very helpful to me in rounding out my picture of ID.
> The people you have in mind are probably not on my radar screen, and what
> I'm missing could be important to my understanding of ID.
>
> Thank you for the comments,
>
> Ted
>
>

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Sep 23 21:08:14 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Sep 23 2008 - 21:08:14 EDT