We’ve been discussing Falk and Ayala’s theological support for evolution. However, while reading Falk’s arguments, I came to the realization that the only way Falk’s arguments about evolution freeing God from responsibility for the created world make sense is if they assume Intelligent Design is true.
The traditional argument to remove blame for problems in creation from God is to blame it on the freedom given humans to make both good and bad choices. The argument goes something like this:
- If humans were automatons, then they could not truly be in community with God, they would just be servants
- Freedom implies the freedom to make mistakes
- A broken creation (both in humanity and creation in general) stems from the bad choices that humans made, not because God made it that way
Falk uses the same basic argument structure, but backs up both the timeline of when the freedom was given and who it is that is given freedom. As Falk writes:
Some of the by-products of natural selection are intricate structures that can fashion cellular machines that are able to harm us, just like the machines that we humans make. It happens in the context of freedom–God-granted freedom….The greatest beauty in the universe emerges through processes that arise through God-ordained freedom. Let us celebrate that beauty, even as we…endure the hardships that come as a by-product.
When it comes to the origin of life’s machinery, Falk is asserting that there is freedom which is given to creation. For this argument to work, that freedom must exist in the universe itself. That is, Falk’s arguments require that the universe itself have a certain amount of freedom.
Think of it this way – if the universe were purely mechanistic, Falk’s arguments would have no weight — if I kill you with the mechanism of a gun I am just as guilty as if I kill you with my own hands. Likewise, if I played Russian Roullette, even though I am utilizing chance, it is still my own actions. I can only remove culpability from myself if I were to hand the gun to an independent agent who acted in their own cognizance. Therefore, Falk’s arguments assume a non-mechanistic universe – one which actually acts as an agent itself – or else his argument utterly breaks down.
Despite how many times we ID’ers say that ID’s current methods only allow the detection of design and do not allow for the identification of the designer, it seems that this has fallen on deaf ears. ID only requires that the designer be an agent – it does not require that the agent be God. Indeed, for Falk’s arguments to work, there must be an agent acting to create. If there is not, then Falk has not remove culpability from God like he claims. If there is an agent (even if it is the universe itself acting in a non-mechanistic manner), then indeed Falk is actually agreeing with us when we say that we can detect the actions of an agent in the things which are designed.
Falk just doesn’t think that this agent is God, but rather a creative, freedom-given universe. It’s not the view that I personally hold, but it is 100% within the bounds of ID.
Thanks, Darrell Falk, for supporting ID. I just wish you would learn what it was before commenting on it.