Re: [asa] Doug Groothuis v. William Dembski

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Fri Jan 02 2009 - 14:35:25 EST

Yes, I think David O. is being honestly critical of those ID arguments that leave open the possibility of 'the designer could be an alien.' This probably connects with the fact that several of the IDM leaders are quite 'into' science fiction.
I think you'll find that Mike Gene is not advocating strongly 'the possibility of aliens'; that is, he differs from some in the IDM quite clearly and unequivocally (see here: In the case of 'teaching ID in schools' it seems that Mike's position has up til now won the day and the burden is on Dembski and the IDM to come up with the goods scientifically (or mathematically) or otherwise try to demonstrate more effectively that their concept of 'intelligent' plus 'design' is really an attempt to merge science, philosophy and religion, and cannot be considered as 'only science.' Mike Gene may disagree with my perspective on ID too.
Much too much time imho has been spent discussing ID, unless it can serve as a transition to a better explanation that is not captive to either 'creation vs. evolution' or 'evolution vs' intelligent design' alleyways.
As a humourous aside, it is not surprising to me that Dembski admits of writing 'puff pieces' ("a bit of rhetorical posturing to balance out [their] rhetorical posturing"). He is indeed an interdisciplinarian by education (statistics, psychology, mathematics, philosophy theology), yet his science fiction leanings may over-burden his bid to appear scientific, his rhetorical posturing often appears philosophically infantile and his theological contribution appears to be less of a contribution than either of these.
I asked Dembski directly in person this past summer why theology isn't placed more at the forefront of i+d theories and his response was simply 'science-first' or 'science-only' in order to counter Darwinism. One needn't remind him or the IDM that Darwinism isn't 'science-only' or even 'biology-first'; there is much early psychology and philosophical anthropology in it too. It would seem that there must be an additional, appropriate challenge to the extra-scientific character of *both* Darwinism *and* evolutionism in order to achieve Phillip Johnson's goals to challenge naturalism in science and society.
The situation as it stands is that Dembski has become a curious type of evangelical 'revolutionary' and won't be swayed to give up his mantle of ID leader. He seems to revel in being an outsider and underdog. ID both *is* and *must be* 'science' to be relevant for his revolutionary mission.

Or so it appears to me,
Gregory Arago
p.s. for a view of the science fiction of ID, this collection may provide some thoughts:

--- On Fri, 1/2/09, David Opderbeck <> wrote:

From: David Opderbeck <>
Subject: Re: [asa] Doug Groothuis v. William Dembski
To: "Schwarzwald" <>
Received: Friday, January 2, 2009, 9:48 PM

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.

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology __________________________________________________________________ Instant Messaging, free SMS, sharing photos and more... Try the new Yahoo! Canada Messenger at

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Received on Fri Jan 2 14:35:52 2009

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