[asa] ID as theological necessity (old Timaeus discussion, new PSCF article)

From: <SteamDoc@aol.com>
Date: Sat Dec 13 2008 - 13:11:10 EST

In the article by Douglas Groothuis in the latest PSCF (arguing for ID in
university science curricula), there was a statement that sheds further light
on a conversation a while back where Timaeus commented on some things Randy
Isaac and I had said about the ID movement.
Maybe the place to start is this post by Randy:
and this post by me:
Randy had raised this question in trying to get at what the essence of ID
was (as differentiated from evolutionary creation positions):
"Perhaps a modification of the question could also be enlightening in
differentiating ID and EC:

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)?"
and I observed that the "must be detectable" was the "God of the Gaps"
fallacy that functionally equates "lack of (detectable) gaps" to "lack of God". I
suggested that it would be much better theology, and would greatly reduce my
hostility to the ID movement, if they would replace "must be detectable"
with "might be detectable", rendering such detection a possibility that might
bolster our faith rather than a theological necessity.
Enter Timaeus, who objected to this characterization of ID, claiming that he
and ID in general were already in the "might be detectable" camp, and did
not make gaps a theological necessity. That was in this post:
I replied here:
with some examples of how, in my opinion, *most* of the ID movement
(allowing for exceptions like Mike Gene or Timaeus) did indeed seem to make
scientifically detectable gaps into a theological necessity.
Enter the Groothuis article. On p.238, he says the following:
"If successful, ID arguments lend rationality to one necessary component of
Christian theism: namely, that God's designing intelligence is observable in
Note the words "necessary" and "observable" -- saying that observable design
is a theological *necessity*. If only he had said "... that nature is the
result of God's designing intelligence" I would have no problem with the
statement. But he didn't say that; he said our observations need to detect that
design in order for theism to be viable.
This is another example of a prominent ID proponent (one who is training
future pastors!) who appears to fit Randy's original description of making
scientific detection of God in nature a theological necessity. I think for many
of us, making the viability of theism dependent on being able to find gaps in
nature is what we find most objectionable (at least on the theological front)
about the ID movement. That movement will continue to be a detriment to the
church until and unless those few ID voices who disown such "God of the gaps
theology" gain more influence.
Allan Harvey (ASA member)

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Received on Sat Dec 13 13:11:57 2008

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