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Actually, it isn’t ID that’s breaking up; it’s Darwinism

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From Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media, on a new book, Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (J. B.Stump, ed),

Opponents of intelligent design (ID) usually dismiss the theory as unscientific, an attempt at smuggling religion into science through a back door. They slam it as a “god of the gaps” argument — inserting God into questions where science has not yet found a persuasive answer.

In a new book, former geophysicist and author Stephen C. Meyer, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, explained why intelligent design is not a “god of the gaps” argument, but a viable scientific theory.

“The theory of intelligent design, unlike creationism, is not based upon the Bible,” Meyer wrote in Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design. Rather than a Bible-based theory, ID “is based on recent scientific discoveries and what we know about the cause-and-effect structure of the world — specifically, what we know about patterns of evidence that indicate intelligent causes.” More.

In my (O’Leary for News) view, the “god of the gaps” argument was invented by Christians who thought Darwinism was right, adjusted to that worldview, saw that there were alternatives later, and then had no recourse but to discredit the alternatives. Worse, Darwinism is under plenty of fire within the academy…

Prediction: The world’s last genuine Darwinist will probably be a religion prof who keeps asking his class, Why would Jesus have invented the Ebola virus? Why?!

From the publisher:

Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design presents the current “state of the conversation” about origins among evangelicals representing four key positions:

Young Earth Creationism – Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis)
Old Earth (Progressive) Creationism – Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe)
Evolutionary Creation – Deborah B. Haarsma (BioLogos)
Intelligent Design – Stephen C. Meyer (The Discovery Institute)

See also: The BioLogos Project: A program of unwarranted assumptions and irrational claims.

14 Replies to “Actually, it isn’t ID that’s breaking up; it’s Darwinism

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The “god of the gaps” argument presupposes that naturalistic and/or materialistic answers have been provided for the universe’s many mysteries as science has progressed. The irony is that the more science has progressed, the more naturalistic and/or materialistic presuppositions have been shown to be wanting or downright false.

    One need look no further than quantum mechanics, which is the foundational basis of reality, to see that purported naturalistic/materialistic answers are grossly inadequate for explaining reality.

    In fact, the double slit experiment itself is all you really need to refute the “god of the gaps” argument:

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism- video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

  2. 2
    harry says:

    Asserting that “We will eventually understand how abiogenesis occurred mindlessly and accidentally,” when that is less likely than figuring out how self-replicating robotic equipment might have come about that way, is an example of the “naturalism of the gaps” of science perverted by atheism.

    Genuine, relentlessly objective science looking for truth based on the evidence, and following that evidence wherever it leads, admits that it looks like any plausible explanation of the origin of life will have to include intelligent agency as a causal factor.

    Science perverted by atheism has lost its objectivity. Its commitment is to atheism, not to a relentlessly objective pursuit of the truth.

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    Another excellent post. Thank you!

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  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Opponents of intelligent design (ID) usually dismiss the theory as unscientific, an attempt at smuggling religion into science through a back door. They slam it as a “god of the gaps” argument — inserting God into questions where science has not yet found a persuasive answer.

    You only have to read the works of one of the founding fathers of intelligent design, Phillip E Johnson, or the infamous Wedge document to find more than sufficient warrant for the suspicion that ID is a Trojan horse for the insertion of Christian religious beliefs into science.

    Meyer presumably also takes issue with another leading proponent of ID, William Dembski, who wrote:

    Intelligent design opens the whole possibility of us being created in the image of a benevolent God. The job of apologetics is to clear the ground — to clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to the knowledge of Christ. And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ as the free reign of the spirit and people accepting the scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view.Intelligent design opens the whole possibility of us being created in the image of a benevolent God. The job of apologetics is to clear the ground — to clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to the knowledge of Christ. And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ as the free reign of the spirit and people accepting the scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view.

    “The theory of intelligent design, unlike creationism, is not based upon the Bible,” Meyer wrote in Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design. Rather than a Bible-based theory, ID “is based on recent scientific discoveries and what we know about the cause-and-effect structure of the world — specifically, what we know about patterns of evidence that indicate intelligent causes.”

    Stephen Meyer writes that ID “is not based upon the Bible” but rather “on recent scientific discoveries and what we know about the cause-and-effect structure of the world — specifically, what we know about patterns of evidence that indicate intelligent causes.” William Dembski wrote “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Just who are we supposed to believe?

    In my (O’Leary for News) view, the “god of the gaps” argument was invented by Christians who thought Darwinism was right, adjusted to that worldview, saw that there were alternatives later, and then had no recourse but to discredit the alternatives. Worse, Darwinism is under plenty of fire within the academy…

    ID proponents and Christian opponents of evolution (but I repeat myself) are the only people who still think Darwinism is the be all and end all of evolutionary biology. The scientists who work in the field know that it has moved on substantially since Darwin’s day. Random mutation and natural selection still have a role but there is now a whole lot more.

    Prediction: The world’s last genuine Darwinist will probably be a religion prof who keeps asking his class, Why would Jesus have invented the Ebola virus? Why?!

    It’s still a good question. Why would a loving God have created or permitted the evolution of the Ebola virus? Free will? For the virus or for us? Or is it just more punishment for the Fall, which assumes a preposterous notion of justice? I suppose you could note that such questions have kept theologians in business for centuries so there is that.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    You only have to read the works of one of the founding fathers of intelligent design, Phillip E Johnson, or the infamous Wedge document to find more than sufficient warrant for the suspicion that ID is a Trojan horse for the insertion of Christian religious beliefs into science.

    And then reality, ie history, comes along and refutes that nonsense. ID has been around longer than Creation and it doesn’t depend on the Bible.

    ID proponents and Christian opponents of evolution (but I repeat myself) are the only people who still think Darwinism is the be all and end all of evolutionary biology.

    Pure unsupportable nonsense.

    The scientists who work in the field know that it has moved on substantially since Darwin’s day.

    And yet they still discuss it in the same terms- those of Lamark.

    Random mutation and natural selection still have a role but there is now a whole lot more.

    Natural selection is still the only non-telic process alleged to produce the appearance of design, albeit without any evidentiary support. So exactly what else is there? Drift was known to Darwin and it has never been promoted as a designer mimic.

    . Why would a loving God have created or permitted the evolution of the Ebola virus?

    It’s called a “hands-off” approach. In a perfect world we would never gain any knowledge as we wouldn’t have any impetus for research.

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    buffalo says:

    There will always be at least one gap, otherwise we would be God.

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    bb says:

    Why would a loving God have created or permitted the evolution of the Ebola virus?

    It is a good question when the intention is to discover purpose, otherwise it is always an ignorant stab at, or dismissal of, God. Just because you can’t think of a reason doesn’t mean He hasn’t.

    We’re learning more and more about the vital maintenance that disease-causing microbes perform in the biosphere. Cholera, which has caused so much grief historically, plays a significant role decomposing chitin and returning it to the carbon cycle. It also makes possible for many marine organisms to transition from salt to fresh water, and back again, without dying.

    When presented as some sort of lazy refutation, ignorant challenges like the above always end up as, what scripture calls, foolish scoffing. They always evaporate when details come to light. Even the annoying mosquito has a purpose.

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    Seversky says:

    bb @ 9

    It is a good question when the intention is to discover purpose, otherwise it is always an ignorant stab at, or dismissal of, God. Just because you can’t think of a reason doesn’t mean He hasn’t.

    Doesn’t mean He has, either.

    The problem has always been that if you believe, as at least some Christians do, that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creation and that He loves us as a parent does a child, the question is why does He permit all the suffering in the world? If He is an omniscient, omnipotent deity as Christians believe then why doesn’t He do something about it? He has the power to arrange things differently if He chooses so why doesn’t He? Are we wrong in thinking we are His chosen people or, maybe, is there no one there at all?

  11. 11
    bb says:

    Seversky @ 10

    Doesn’t mean He has, either.

    He’s had a great track record so far. I think 100%. The problem with the way you ask the question is that it indicates the closing of a mind to any evidence contrary to the charge you want to lay at God’s feet. A refusal to recognize that ebola might serve a good.

    As I indicated with cholera and mosquitoes, they each play an important role in environmental maintenance. I’m sure a similar answer is there for ebola, if one wants to actually discover it, instead of foolishly charging God with injustice.

    The problem has always been that if you believe, as at least some Christians do, that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creation and that He loves us as a parent does a child, the question is why does He permit all the suffering in the world?

    God is also the perfect judge, full of mercy. He became a man and suffered as we do. Lived a perfect life through it, and died to take our penalty, as the only human that didn’t deserve to die. Like the perfect parent would.

    Your box is too small. Probably about the size of your bitter experience. God doesn’t fit in such a space.

    He obviously exists, as evidenced by the magnificent creation before our eyes. The refusal to recognize what I do to cause suffering, and the impulse to blame the judge for my actions are the actions of an unrepentant criminal that always claims to be the victim of circumstance, and others, instead of take responsibility and reform. The actions of an adolescent protesting the discipline of parents he doesn’t yet understand.

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    eddieunmuzzled says:

    Seversky, you wrote:

    “Stephen Meyer writes that ID “is not based upon the Bible” but rather “on recent scientific discoveries and what we know about the cause-and-effect structure of the world — specifically, what we know about patterns of evidence that indicate intelligent causes.” William Dembski wrote “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Just who are we supposed to believe?”

    The two descriptions are not incompatible. Meyer’s point is that you don’t need any premises smuggled in from revelation to make ID arguments. Dembski himself has said the same thing in hundreds of places. But Dembski makes the additional point that any theology which affirms creation through the Logos (word, rational discourse) of God will end up in the same place as ID. The created world will reek of the designs of the divine Logos.

    The Meyer quotation is saying that we can discern that order even if we have never heard of the Logos or any other Christian doctrine. The Dembski remark is saying that we would expect detectable design in the world if the world is created by a God whose mind is characterized by reason, order, etc. If there is a divine Logos who created the world, then of course ID could not help but be a restatement in scientific terms of what theology teaches. It does not follow that ID starts from the premise that a Logos created the world. Rather, ID’s discovery of the order amounts to a stumbling upon the Logos.

    Fred Hoyle, the atheist, accomplished a similar stumbling upon intelligent design in cosmology, and in his recognition of what he had stumbled upon made his famous statement about a superintelligence. Jastrow, the agnostic, offered a similar recognition in his remarks about scientists climbing the mountain to find a band of theologians sitting at the top. ID might well lead one to recognize a cosmic rationality, and that might lead a non-believer to Christian faith; but ID presupposes no such faith as a condition. (Which should be obvious, as there are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Deist, agnostic and other ID proponents.)

    Dembski’s remark does not imply that ID depends on the acceptance of Christian premises. His many other writings make clear that he thinks the evidence for design is there to see in nature, and that even a non-Christian can see it. To use this one quotation out of the context of the dozen books and scores of articles Dembski has written on ID is to manipulate it for partisan ends.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    The problem has always been that if you believe, as at least some Christians do, that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creation and that He loves us as a parent does a child, the question is why does He permit all the suffering in the world?

    Once we left the Garden of Eden we were basically on our own. We chose knowledge over being taken care of. Now it is up to us to use that knowledge to ease our suffering- heck we are the cause of our suffering. Or do you think that God is doing it?

  14. 14
    vividbleau says:

    Sev
    “The problem has always been that if you believe, as at least some Christians do, that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s creation and that He loves us as a parent does a child, the question is why does He permit all the suffering in the world?”

    This is a serious question and one that has occupied my thinking for many years. I guess I would first submit to you that most (not all) of the suffering you speak of could be eradicated by the actions of mankind.If everyone truly loved others as we love ourselves poverty, hunger and many diseases that flow from that would be eradicated. But we dont because of our actions, my actions, your actions. What if each and everyone of us acted like Mother Teresa?

    “ If He is an omniscient, omnipotent deity as Christians believe then why doesn’t He do something about it? He has the power to arrange things differently if He chooses so why doesn’t He? “

    In order to do that have you thought of how He would go about it? I have thought quite a bit about this as well and have some ideas but I would be curious to hear your thoughts as to the “something” that He should be doing about it.

    Vivid

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