RE: [asa] Natural Agents - Cause and Effect, Non-Natural Agents

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Apr 20 2009 - 11:10:57 EDT


Your comments are helpful, but I have already commented directly on this,
with my earlier reference to human agency as in some sense implicitly
supernatural, as ID theorists conceive of it. I based that point on my
reading of individuals such as JP Moreland, Denyse O'Leary, and Mario
Beauregard (who will be a speaker at the ASA meeting this summer). There is
behind this, in my understanding, a variety of mind/body dualism in which
the mind is superadded to the brain. I am not being explicitly or
implicitly critical of such a view. Indeed, for many years I have believed
that the ID critique of modern science should have begun not with the fossil
record or the bacterial flagellum, but with the human mind and what we know
about agency. It's high time that the ID folks have finally gotten around
to this as job one, but IMO it'd been much better to have started with that
and to have avoided all the stuff aimed at creating doubts about the fossil
record and the efficacy of natural selection.

I have a list of questions in my mind about ID, questions for which I would
love to have clear, unambiguous answers, and the first one on that list is
this one:

Is ID committed to any specific type of dualism, in terms of the mind/body
problem? My sense is that answer is yes, and that the details of that
answer would in turn have implications for other questions. It'd be helpful
to know more, for sure.

The second question, incidentally, is this: Is ID committed to opposing the
common descent of humans and other organisms? When "Timeaus" was with us,
his answer was a clear "no," and he cites (I think correctly) Behe and
Denton as evidence. However, Dembski, Johnson, Wells, Meyer, Richards,
Moreland, and many others use a lot of time and paper arguing either
directly against common descent or else trying to raise doubts about it,
doubts that imply their own opposition to it. When I asked a large group of
ID adherents whether ID was really just opposed to ateleological
interpretations of "evolution" (here I meant common descent), or whether it
was also opposed to common descent, most responses indicated either
opposition to common descent or at least very serious doubts about it.
Getting a clear public answer on this probably won't happen, but most camp
followers of ID are probably correct to see it as anti-evolutionary in this


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Received on Mon Apr 20 11:12:17 2009

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