Re: [asa] ID/TE rapprochement

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Sat Nov 14 2009 - 17:02:55 EST
Cameron Wybrow wrote:
I warmly welcome Murray's attempt to show that there is a potentially
significant overlap between ID and TE.  In fact, I welcome it so warmly that
I will forgive his continued misspelling of my name.  :-)

I have been saying all along that it is not "theistic evolution" as such
that I am opposed to.  If "theistic evolution" were limited to the the
minimal definition that Ted Davis gives, I think that many ID people (maybe
not the majority, but a significant number) would sign up.  But, as I said a
while back in a reply to John Walley, a number of people here, and
elsewhere, attach a whole bunch of "riders" to the basic definition of
theistic evolution, riders which effectively exclude ID people.

ID and TE can be harmonized by anyone who does not insist on more than the
"minimalist" definitions of each.  The minimalist definition of a TE is
someone who believes that God is responsible for the process of evolution.
(Whether he is responsible for it by setting it up and letting it run, or by
subtly driving it by non-detectible means, or by some combination of these,
or in other ways, is a question of detail.)  The minimalist definition of an
IDer is someone who believes that it is at least possible, in some cases, to
detect intelligent design in nature, and to exclude "chance + necessity" as
the *sufficient* cause for at least some natural things.  When you analyze
these two minimalist definitions, you see that the two need not be in
conflict.  Nothing in minimalist TE requires that design *not* be detectible
by human means (scientific, philosophical, or other).  And nothing in
minimalist ID requires that macroevolution must not have occurred.

IDers who reject macroevolution in principle obviously cannot be TEs, and
TEs who reject design detection in principle obviously cannot be IDers.  But
those IDers could be TEs who accept macroevolution, and those TEs could be
IDers who
accept the possibility of showing the inadequacy of non-intelligent causes
as the explanation of at least some biological systems.

This seems to have been a very encouraging discussion.

From the horses mouth so to speak, Bill Dembski on UcD recently wrote:
ID, per definitionem, is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the product of intelligence. It rests on two pillars: (1) that the activity of intelligent agents is sometimes detectible and (2) that nature may exhibit evidence of intelligent activity.

He then goes on to lament:
How anyone gets young-earth creationism from this is a mystery.
Now that is a definition of ID that I am not opposed to, at least as I see it now.  Of course one could add a whole list of ancillary baggage that seems to be part of ID over at UcD.  For example the very negative depiction of Darwin, the implication that the Christianity of TEs is doubtful... but as we are looking at both TE and ID in essence then the other items are somewhat irrelevant.    Some of the items that Cameron included as part of TE are thoughts I definitely reject and others are things I accept but don't see them as part of the essence of EC/TE. 

One very negative factor in any rapprochement is that IMO ID would loose a considerable number of supporters if there was some meeting of the minds between ID and TE.   The anti evolutionists at least at UcD would be totally unsupportive and unhappy. 

Dave W

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