Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Fri Nov 06 2009 - 18:35:24 EST

Cameron wrote:

All of the Christian ID proponents that I have conversed with would give a
> resounding affirmation of the first part of this sentence. God is greater
> than we can imagine -- which means not only that he could have risen from
> the dead, but also that he could have (if he chose) created new species ex
> nihilo, and that he could have (if he chose) miraculously modified a few
> simple types into over thirty phyla during the Cambrian explosion. It does
> not follow that God *did* such things, but Christian ID people are at least
> open to the possibility that he did them. Many TEs apparently aren't. And
> this is why many Christian ID supporters see many TEs as (to use Dave
> Siemens's verb) "waffling". ID does not require miracles -- it is
> compatible with some sort of front-loading, a la Mike Gene or a la Denton --
> but it has no theological *problem* with miracles. When miracles are
> discussed among ID people I chat with, there is none of the squirminess and
> awkwardness and ambiguity and apparent embarrassment about the subject that
> I have seen in TE circles. TEs may well assert that God is greater than we
> can imagine, but in fact they generally conceive of him as acting in the way
> that we imagine -- a way that is indistinguishable in practice (albeit not
> in theory) from the way that a Deistic God would act.

 My complaint against ID has to do with the limitations on what science is
able to conclude about the history of life, not about the reality of what
that history is. God is obviously entirely free to act in history in
whatever manner God sees fit. However, the discipline of science cannot
conclude that God did actually intervene to break the continuity of
secondary cause-and-effect. Not only is science a limited way of knowing,
but our current scientific knowledge is incomplete --- we don't know what
we don't know. Therefore, any observation that suggests a break in the
continuity of cause-and-effect is equivalent to current ignorance.

I have consistently stated that what I reject is the claim that there must
be some break in continuity somewhere if God is really to be God. This
rejection is a consequence of what I see as the clear scriptural claims
about God as creator and sustainer. Therefore, Christians in science can,
and should, continue to seek out cause-and-effect explanations where none
are currently known. I have no theological stake in there being real causal
gaps, nor do I have any theological stake in there being no breaks. It is
just that science, as long as it remains incomplete, will never be able to
demonstrate such gaps. People are free to see current apparent gaps as
evidence of divine action. However, I do not see such claims as good
apologetics, and certainly do not see them as demanded by scripture.

I discuss these issues in my essay on methodological naturalism published in
the edited volume "For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design."
If anyone wants the most complete explanation of my views this is the place
to go.


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Received on Fri Nov 6 18:36:24 2009

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