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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Dec 13 2008 - 13:56:59 EST

As one expects, Groothuis' proof of the supposed necessity that "that God's designing intelligence is observable in nature" rests on Ps.19:1-6 & Rom.1:18-21. Denis Lamoureux pointed out some time ago that these texts simply cannot be used to show that there is the type of design that modern IDers assert. The evidence (for God, not design) that they refer to must be something perceptible to, & known by, the average person in the ancient near east & the Mediterranean world of the 1st century, & that leaves out the Blessed Flagellum, the blood clotting mechanism, &c. (Of course the ancients knew that blood clots but not anything about how that works.)

  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 1:11 PM
  Subject: [asa] ID as theological necessity (old Timaeus discussion, new PSCF article)

  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 nature."

  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 13:57:54 2008

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