Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Nov 09 2009 - 12:54:08 EST

I mostly agree with what >>> "Cameron Wybrow" <> 11/9/2009 11:27 AM >>> says about various aspects of ID, in his latest post. It's indeed an excellent post, overall, and his points about intellectual freedom and the possibility that ID might eventually be accepted within the hard sciences, only after being accepted in engineering and computer science, is one that I find interesting an not completely implausible. For me, the fundamental issue with ID isn't theological per se; nor it is scientific, per se; rather, it's philosophical: does information arise from purely random events? If not, why not? If so, specifically how? Perhaps the science of mathematics can eventually answer this, in which case ID would for me become "scientific" to that extent; but I will wait and see before jumping to that conclusion. Whatever we think of that idea and Cameron's other points, however, I hope that at least some here will agree that ID advocates are not given the!
  same generous measure of academic freedom that is extended to others who want to think outside of the current boxes, in various fields.

My only dissenting point is on this point of Cameron's:

(2) Also, even if such a new label could avoid the above charge, it would get nowhere with most TEs, who reject the idea that design can be inferred from nature. So, while it might be less odious here than ID currently is, it would not affect TE thinking in the slightest. TEs would just dismiss it as an interesting philosophical idea which has nothing to do with science -- science as they very narrowly conceive it. The discussions here would take exactly the same shape that they do now.


Here is my dissent. A very good percentage of the TEs I can think of (I think here of those whose views are sufficiently well known to me that I can comment on them, not of TEs in the abstract) do *not* reject the idea that design can be inferred from nature, even though most of them probably do reject the idea that design can be put forth as an alternative to "Darwinian" evolution in biology. For example, Ken Miller (yes, I do mean Ken Miller), Francis Collins, Simon Conway Morris, Keith Ward, John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, Denis Lamoureux, Loren Haarsma, Denis Alexander, Robin Collins--all of these people, to the best of my knowledge, believe that aspects of nature support design inferences; and all of them are TEs by the definition I always apply ("God used evolution to create living things, including humans"). That list could surely be a great deal longer, but it suffices to make my point.

I recall having a private conversation a few years ago with one of the most highly visible ID advocates -- but not someone who writes books; it was someone active at the political level. This person was simply incredulous that a Christian could be open to the possibility of abiogenesis. We weren't actually talking about my own views on that (I happen to think that God probably created "primitive" forms of life directly), we were talking about the views of someone I named above. This person called that other person a "materialist," despite the fact that the person in question unquestionably believes in the divine creation of the universe, the deity of Jesus, the bodily resurrection, and many other "miracles" reported in the Bible. I was incredulous at this view. I do think, Cameron, that William Jennings Bryan is the person who most represents the kinds of concerns that most ID advocates really have, in their heart of hearts. Most ID advocates *do* think that the common!
  descent of humans and other organisms is dangerous to religion; that if God did not directly create life itself (I've already offered my opinion about that), then God might as well not exist; and that anyone who thinks that design can't be inferred directly from biology (as vs from cosmology or from the lawlikeness of nature and our ability to know it) is denying what Paul wrote in Romans chapter one. I know your concerns aren't biblical, Cameron. You must know about the views of at least some of the people I named above. Do you think you overstated your point, or do you still think you are right in light of what I just said here?


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Received on Mon Nov 9 12:54:53 2009

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