Re: [asa] a creationist on the hiddenness of God

From: Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>
Date: Thu May 07 2009 - 22:32:22 EDT

Wayne:

I doubt that the religious faith of ID proponents depends on finding God's fingerprints in some rigorous scientific way. And I don't know why TEs and other people here keep suggesting that it does. Everyone here knows that most ID proponents were Christian before they were ID proponents; obviously, then, by simple logic, their Christian belief could not have depended on the correctness of any particular claim of scientific design detection.

Once again, ID is caught in a self-contradictory double accusation: on the one hand ID is accused of being "creationism in a cheap tuxedo", implying that ID is an after-the-fact justification for creationist beliefs held on other grounds; on the other hand, as in your post, ID is accused of making the mistake of resting religious belief on a shaky scientific inference, when religious belief ought to proceed from other grounds! You can't have it both ways. If ID is really creationism in a cheap tuxedo, then you have to drop the charge, which George Murphy seems to be pressing, that ID bases its theology on bad scientific and philosophical grounds instead of basing it properly on revelation; and if ID is making the mistake of trying to get to God purely from "natural theology", then you have to drop the charge that ID is Bible-based and therefore must be banned from the schools on that grounds. Let's get our critical act together, shall we?

And what do you mean, science cannot test these kinds of questions about "ultimate reality"? Where does *Darwin's Black Box* rest its argument on any claim about "ultimate reality", or claim to have proved anything about "ultimate reality"? As far as I can tell, it tried to make the argument that certain biochemical and physiological systems could not have arisen by purely stochastic processes, and it made its argument entirely on empirical and logical grounds, not metaphysical or religious ones. Maybe the argument was faulty, but that doesn't make it an argument about "uItimate reality". It's not making a statement about "ultimate reality" to say that Mt. Rushmore couldn't have been carved out by ten million years of rain and and wind erosion. It's making a statement about the habits and abilities of known natural forces and substances -- they just don't act that way. So why is it making a statement about "ultimate reality" to make a similar inference about the origin of biological systems? "There appears to have been design involved somehow" is not a very grand statement about ultimate reality.

Cameron.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: dawson wayne
  To: Cameron Wybrow
  Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:57 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] a creationist on the hiddenness of God

  2009/5/8 Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>

     It's hard to see why the inference that the complexity of a cell requires intelligent design (even supposing it's a bad inference) poses any obstacle to any theology of divine action that anyone here might wish to propose. The inference "God designed this" does not in any way restrict the speculations of theologians regarding how God actualized his design, or what purpose the design serves in God's overall plan. The fact that both Dembski and Behe have granted the possibility of quantum explanations shows the flexibility of ID on this subject, and ought to set TE fears at rest.

  It isn't like I haven't ever thought about ways I might detect things like this or sought out people who might have ideas. The main concern that I have, as a trained scientist (who is Christian), is that these arguments, although plausible, typically turn out subtle or undetectable. Let's try it another way. What if we detect nothing and we __know__ we've given it our best effort? Do we throw Christianity into the trash can as a bunch of bunk, or do we go back to why we became Christians in the first place? If some scientist shakes a flask of chemicals and bacteria really do come crawling out, what are you going to say? I know that is not likely to happen, and they wouldn't "crawl out" if they are bacteria, but I do question the wisdom of drawing lines in the sand when we hardly understand anything about the world and what God put into it at all. If you don't find these fingerprints you want, will you give up your faith? It's not that we don't share a desire to know more or to find something more tangible to grasp onto, just like you. At least for myself as a physicist, it is that I have come to see that science probably cannot test these kinds of questions about ultimate reality. Science basically has to test things that can be fit in some sort of box, which eliminates a lot of things that __may be true__ but no one can be sure. Some things the Greeks speculated on took more than 2000 years to verify and these predictions could finally be fit in a box. It would seem that God is bigger than any box I can think of and his actions seem to be bigger than that box too.

  by Grace we proceed,
  Wayne

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Received on Thu May 7 22:34:20 2009

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