[asa] Behe on "intervention"

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 05:58:36 EST

David Campbell, in commenting on something John Walley had said, wrote:

"Behe accepts common descent but claims that miraculous intervention
was required at certain points."

I do not believe this to be accurate. David (and John), please note this
paragraph from Behe's recent book:

"But the assumption that design unavoidably requires "interference"
rests mostly on a lack of imagination. There's no reason that the
extended fine-tuning view I am presenting here necessarily requires
active meddling with nature anymore than the fine tuning of theistic
evolution does. One can think the universe is finely tuned to any degree
and still conceive that "the universe [originated] by a single creative
act" and underwent "its natural development by laws implanted in it".
One simply has to envision that the agent who caused the universe was
able to specify from the start not only laws, but much more." (*The Edge of
Evolution*, p. 231)

The view Behe articulates here seems identical or very close to that
articulated by Owen Gingerich in "God's Universe." The main difference,
insofar as I can find it, would be that Behe does want to say that *science*
requires a design inference, while Gingerich says that the design inferences
goes beyond science while being strongly supported by science. Thus,
Gingerich calls the former "ID, capital I and capital D," and the latter
(his approach) "id, small i and small d". My own view on this is similar to
Gingerich, not Behe. A lot of people in both camps are making a lot of
noise about this difference, perhaps more noise than is warranted. I have
myself tried to make sure that my own perspective is clear to anyone who
cares, mostly b/c of the politics of this issue: if people are going to drop
my name into a conversation (which happens from time to time, though I'm
hardly a household name such as Behe or Dembski), I want to ensure that the
views attributed to me are actually mine. No surprise there.


Now, I will go in another direction. I'm no longer responding to the
discussion of Behe.

When I kept to my "id,not ID" position over on UD a few months ago, I was
thrown out (with insults) by a certain moderator (whose ongoing association
with UD isn't winning them any friends) for being obstinate for not
admitting what was obvious to him. That's politics--and personalities,
which are always a part of politics. On the other hand, when I argued an id
position (without explicitly identifying it as such, vis-a-vis ID) before
the CS Lewis Society in Oakland last year, many in the audience believed
that I was endorsing ID -- I know this b/c I asked for a show of hands, in
connection with a question I was responding to. I articulated the
difference, which made sense to the audience (so it appeared), and moved on.
 That's also politics--but of a different sort.

Very often on this list, frankly, I find politics intrudes into the
discussion of this issue, preventing us from seeing some points as carefully
as we might. In some cases I wonder whether it's b/c people like small
differences of opinion too much (am I in this category myself?), but in at
least a few cases I wonder whether there is some genuine vehemence that
could arise out of many different experiences. (Just to be clear about
this: David, I'm not connecting your post in any way with this, not in the
least. That isn't who you are. My comments here go well beyond my
clarification of Behe's position.) YEC, ID, and TE can (any or all of them)
be hot-button topics for quite a few people. Just last evening, e.g., after
a great presentation by Karl Giberson about the excesses of six leading
spokespersons for scientific atheism, in which hardly a word was spoken
about TE, some members of the audience raised confrontational
questions/points against TE, ignoring 59 minutes of a 60 minute talk to
object to an opinion that Karl inserted into an answer to a question.
Although I suspect those folks really appreciated, even enjoyed, his
skillful presentation of what's wrong with Dawkins and company, their
buttons had been pushed and they reacted. Too bad--they probably went home
with a negative overall impression. Ken Ham had obviously convinced them
that real Christians don't believe in "evolution" (which was used as a
synonym for an old earth and for atheism, even though both of those things
predate Darwin), and "evolution" is what they caught wind of, and they
weren't happy despite agreeing with nearly everything the speaker had said.

That's politics. It always seems to find a way to muzzle the truth.


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Received on Wed Mar 4 07:22:49 2009

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