Re: [asa] restatement on ID as a "proof" of God (defense of Behe)

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Apr 28 2009 - 22:24:04 EDT

There seem to be some misunderstandings of the relationship of TE with non-Christians, including militant atheists. In the 1st place it's not true, as some seem to imagine, that Dawkins et al regard TEs as harmless lightweights. While of course they criticize YECs and IDers (often quite properly because of the latter's bad science), they reserve their real venom for TEs (& in general, Christians who are able to hold good science together with their religious beliefs). The reason isn't far to seek - we give the lie to the atheists' claim that those who really understand science have to give up religion. Claims by atheists that they "have more respect" for YECs than for "liberals" are of questionable honesty. In reality they like YECs better because they can use their obvious errors to discredit Christianity.

Secondly, while showing that acceptance of evolution is compatible with Christianity can be part of apologetics directed at non-Christians, it is by no means its only purpose. It is even more important as part of an effort to keep Christians - & especially young people - from abandoning the faith when they learn scientific realities.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Schwarzwald
  Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 9:34 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] restatement on ID as a "proof" of God (defense of Behe)

  I have to disagree here, Don. With some exception, TEs seem to fight battles first and foremost against other Christians. There's certainly a place for those kinds of discussions - I think doctrinal differences, etc should not be ignored or brushed aside. But the idea that 'if only TEs show that they hold ID proponents and YECs in utter contempt maybe atheistic scientists will realize they're not all bad!' is a failed strategy and was never a good idea to begin with. (Frankly, I'm a TE myself by most measures - Cameron would probably include me as someone in the ID camp.)

  That isn't to say that I think the ID proponents have made all stellar moves, though I think they've managed to do more good things than most TEs (at least on this list) recognize. But my number on problem with them is this: Cameron says that Neo-Darwinism is 90% metaphysics, 10% science. And frankly, I agree with that. And I wish - I really, truly wish - ID proponents would focus on that metaphysics, which is frankly utterly extraneous to the science.

  In my view, it's bad science to say that it's a scientific fact that evolution is an unguided, unplanned process. It's also bad science to say that it's a scientific fact that evolution is a guided, planned process. Both statements are an abuse of science, but guess which one of these statements is considered and treated as the stuff of scientific orthodoxy? I've seen many people on this list frankly admit to their being unable to scientific prove that a miracle occurred in natural history, or even imagine what an actual miracle would look like under scientific investigation. But atheists seem to believe that -they- know would know if a miracle occurred, and that -they- know what an a miracle would look like under investigation. Is this not a problem? And I don't mean a problem that just means some atheist should be challenged to a public debate with a TE. I mean a problem where, if it's found that schoolbooks are teaching that evolution is an 'unguided, unplanned, purposeless' process, that lawsuits should be in order?

  While I'm not a big fan of everything that comes out of, say, Uncommon Descent, I will say that I'm happy with quite a lot I do see. I'm happy with them arguing that a lot of what we see in nature (whether we're talking about specific organisms or aspects of organisms, or the very processes that lead to these things) certainly looks planned on every turn. I'm happy with them questioning the very nature of 'chance'. And I'm happy that, frankly, they play by /the exact same rules/ that many atheists do. Guys like Dawkins, Coyne, and otherwise were using 'design detection' on natural history long before Dembski and others took the stage. The only difference is that they were arguing no design was ever detected.

    In my opinion it is counterproductive for Christians to challenge the Darwinian mechanism. First it is a "god of the gaps approach" and hence leads nowhere. Second, it needlessly alienates scientists who might otherwise be sympathetic to Christianity. It is the TE people and not the ID people who are fighting the battle on ground on which the battle is able to be won.

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Received on Tue Apr 28 22:24:41 2009

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