Re: [asa] restatement on ID as a "proof" of God

From: <>
Date: Mon Apr 27 2009 - 17:58:16 EDT

My responses are interspersed below in excerpts from your own lengthy post.

Quoting Cameron Wybrow <>:
> Fourth, there are many, many people who think that "evolution" has "proved"
> that there is no God. That includes about 90% of the full-time evolutionary
> biologists, by the way, a statistic which the pro-Darwin scientists here --
> very few of whom are biologists, and none of whom are specifically
> evolutionary biologists -- conveniently and shockingly ignore. When the
> supposed experts in the science of evolution, the evolutionary biologists,

If this is true (90%!?) then you succeed in shocking me --- not with how many
are atheists but with how many could be so professionally inept as to accept the
wording "proves that there is no God". Granting them the hopefully probable
higher intelligence, I'd wager what they actually think proven is that
instantaneous creations as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel didn't
historically happen that way. And in THAT, they are being professionally
intelligent. But granted our cultural polarization over this (Sistine Chapel or
BUST), they or others probably falsely conflate their stance with a rejection of
God altogether. And this is where ASAers should be standing in the middle with
the same chutzpah as you have rightly attributed to Behe.

>Now Darwinism -- the real thing, not the watered-down, tamed,
> Christianized version some people are endorsing here, but what Darwin meant,

interjection: I doubt many others here are endorsing "Darwinism", though you
could well be excused for not making the distinction given the extent of past
discussion here over this very word. But TEs that I've heard don't think of
their version of evolution as "Christianized". It is the same robust
full-fledged version of evolution that Dawkins himself accepts. But when
Dawkins (and your 90% of biologists) go beyond their professional science
–beyond small 'e' evolution and start making (a)theistic declarations, then the
TEs part company with them and recognize that there is nothing in science,
including full evolution that could threaten any of the larger-than-science
faith convictions –unless those convictions happen to regard something we can
get a scientifically observational handle on, which does not include God except
on God's own terms or a host of other things besides.

Cameron writes:
> It should be permissible, on a list sponsored by the ASA, to: (a) doubt the
> adequacy of stochastic mechanisms to produce the integrated complexity of
> life, without being met with howls of derision for violating the sanctity of
> "methodological naturalism"; and (b) hold to a modest natural theology,
> without being accused of Christian heresy or of violating the boundary
> between religion and science. If it isn't possible to do this, then this
> list is not an open forum for genuine intellectual discussion, but a
> partisan TE club, no better than places like Panda's Thumb or Uncommon
> Descent.
> Cameron.

As an MN adherent I, for one, don't feel that design is ruled out or that I
will be shouted down here for entertaining seriously Behe's ideas. (And yes, I
have read his "Darwin's Black Box".) While I remain unconvinced about ID via
irreducible complexities, I don't just rule out all prospects of design
automatically. In fact I appreciate Behe's work showing just how high the bar
would have to be for n.s. & chance alone to get the job done (an impossibly high
bar, Behe believes). But nor do I lean towards scientifically detectable design
just because of the weaknesses and holes in our knowledge the n.s. & chance
mechanisms. There may be other natural mechanisms we haven't even named yet.
So I refuse to be dogmatic either way. You say n.s. & chance are insufficient?
 I'm listening. I don't rule out design at all, but just think that it may need
a fundamental philosophical investment from outside of science as I would limit
science (the MN way). IDers want to scientifically establish a stepping stone
towards a possible philosophical or even religious conclusion –yes, I realize
they are committed only to the stepping stone, not the destination. But even
the stepping stone is causing us to haggle over the definition of science.

   And THAT is probably the true heart of the issue. IDers see the MN
definition of science as an artificial and ideologically erected wall. And in
this age of relative definitional drift, the more consistently popular
definition inevitably wins out. But time will be the more ruthlessly objective
arbiter over how productive that definition is. Alas that we will never be able
to run the control group: "If we had gone down the other path...". It seems
to me that Boyle's and Bacon's version of science (now called MN) has served us
well. Or actually, perhaps even that remains to be seen...

But regarding your assertion that MN people have nothing but scorn for Behe or
other IDers, I will stand as at least one counter-example on this list (not
entirely alone, I suspect). I regard them as my spiritual brothers, sisters,
superiors, colleagues, etc. And as such, I wish nothing less to speak truth
with them to others, to speak truth TO them when I think they err, and I expect
no less of them towards me. Truth is the one common thing we all aim (or should
aim) towards.

--Merv Bitikofer

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Apr 27 17:58:37 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Apr 27 2009 - 17:58:37 EDT