Re: [asa] Doug Groothuis v. William Dembski

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Fri Jan 02 2009 - 14:13:02 EST

Heya David,

On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 1:48 PM, David Opderbeck <>wrote:

> But the difference is, ID, as Mike describes it, says "the designer could
> be an alien." The probabilistic / reason-based arguments made by Aquinas,
> William Lane Craig, etc. are all meant (properly) to point towards the
> Christian God. Yes, these arguments don't get you "all the way to God" --
> but they are meant to point in no direction other than towards God. If the
> result of the ontological, teleological, moral, etc. arguments is a space
> alien, those arguments have utterly failed.

Here I'll concede something. Certainly for Aquinas, if his arguments succeed
(and I'm tempted to believe they do - I have much more to read) then the
result is certainly and clearly God. As you said, those arguments alone do
not automatically get you to the Christian God, but they do illustrate a
being that could not be confused with anything 'lesser'.

But I see two problems here. One is that the result of ID is not 'a space
alien'. The result of ID is, by their own measure, at best 'a creator'. And
the magnitude of the creator depends on the ID argument in question - in
terms of cosmological ID, 'a space alien' being responsible would have to
have power on such a magnitude that it would establish an inability to
discern between this 'alien' or God based on material evidences. I think
that fouling ID because one could imagine an alien being responsible for
some of their claims would be up there with arguing that an alien could have
resurrected Christ.

My second problem is this: I personally see ID as a powerful bulwark against
scientific atheism, and an apologetic tool among people inclined towards a
more scientific worldview. Think of it this way: If ID can (and, while I
don't see it as scientific, I believe it still does this) establish that
what we see in the natural world is the result of design - or even that what
we see can reasonably be construed as the result of design - then this
provides a potentially powerful reason for the otherwise unconvinced to at
least approach the question of religion in general, and Christianity in
particular, with greater concern and respect. I honestly think one of the
biggest problems in the western world today is the idea that if something
can be materially explained, then the explanation is automatically atheistic
in the sense of 'no agent had an input in this'. Once that is reasonably
combated, even if there's a big question mark hanging over the agent, the
progress made is tremendous.

> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Fri Jan 2 14:13:21 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Jan 02 2009 - 14:13:21 EST