Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 14:07:55 EDT

Terry writes, " I don't quite understand how ID and E are compatible and maybe Ted
can chime in here."


OK, I will chime in. :-)

Terry, it could be that you are right and I am wrong; it could be that ID and any form or E are incompatible, although I would say as an historian (with some expertise in the history of the evolution/design controversy) that belief in design and belief in evolution (here understood as common descent rather than special creation) are entirely compatible -- at least they have been understood that way by a large number of scientists, starting with Asa Gray and continuing right down to Polkinghorne and Collins today. I hold the same view myself.

Cameron allows that "front loaded" design is compatible with TE, and I agree with him.

Thus the question is, whether ID per se (as vs "design," used more generically) is compatible with any form of E. I would say (again) that it is, but your points about the attacks on the specific mechanisms, esp when coupled with the tone of ID (namely, that "Darwinism" in both scientific and cultural forms is the enemy), argue against this. If Denton and Behe (at least the Behe who affirms common descent, not the Behe who attacks Darwinian mechanisms) are to be taken as definitive of ID, at least ID as front-loaded design, then ID is not much different from this view, expressed by A H Compton in 1932 (this is taken from part two of my essay, to appear in PSCF in September): "It seems to the nth degree improbable that such an intricate and interesting world could have ordered itself out of particles with random character.”

I entirely agree with Compton on this, and if that counts as ID then I'm an ID proponent. I also entirely agree with Asa Gray, that evolution was led along certain beneficial lines. If that makes me an ID proponent, then I'm an ID proponent. (Those in the know tell me that, since I don't believe the design inference is scientific, I'm not an ID proponent. Who am I to say? I certainly don't see ID as a scientific alternative to Darwinian evolution, not without an effort actually to provide an alternative that offers an equally convincing narrative of natural history.) At the same time, I do not object to Ken Miller or any other biologist trying to show that the bacterial flagellum might not be irreducibly complex, and I accept the type III secreter as an entirely fair reply to Behe; whether it's a fully decisive reply is a fair point of disagreement, but I do think it's a fair reply. I don't have a dog in that fight; and, unlike the dyslexic atheist, I don't have a god!
  (or refutation of god) in it either.


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Received on Fri May 29 14:08:39 2009

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