Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

ID is dead, says the prophet of Patheos, RJS


At Patheos, the prophet RJS asks: Is ID Dead?, meaning of course that it is:

A decade ago Intelligent Design with a capital I and a capital D was a hot topic. A major trial testing the teaching of the ID in Pennsylvania was decided in late 2005 and Stephen C. Meyer’s massive book Signature in the Cell was published in 2009. It was a common topic in evangelical churches – viewed as a way to combat the evil influence of evolution. Quite frankly, it was a topic I was ready to see disappear. The controversy was tainting most conversations about Christianity in my circles at the University. Today there are other points of contention and Intelligent Design has moved to the back pages.

RJS mustn’t have noticed Darwin’s Doubt, Meyer’s follow-up book, that has regularly placed near the top for years in its field.

For example, August 8, 2016, 4:00 pm EST:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

But some types of prophecy are immune to such vulgar considerations, and we must move on. Ah yes, …

The Intelligent Design movement is different and goes beyond this. The hypothesis is that an intelligence behind the world can be identified empirically in the complexity of life.

That hypothesis, of course, is either supported by evidence or not. Unless one thinks that, by definition, no evidence adduced would matter. Or that evidence in general doesn’t matter.

Then we hear,

However, the best empirical evidence for intelligence isn’t found in the pattern of DNA but in the existence of intelligence in the universe.

Yes, that’s what the film Privileged Planet was about, on account of which the Smithsonian refused to sponsor it. Why, one must wonder?

But evolution is not the important front in the culture war of our day. Ontological naturalism, reductionist materialism, these are the important fronts. More.

Yes, they are. And guess what, “evolution” is the principal correlate of acceptance of those views. See, for example, the late Will Provine’s work on that subject and a very recent poll.

Wallace expert Michael Flannery writes to say,

This just seems like another ill-informed attempt at dismissing an idea that won’t go away–ID. The argument seems to be that ID demands attention from a cosmological standpoint but not a biological one. First of all, the author seems unfamiliar with the fact that Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez have made precisely that cosmological argument in Privileged Planet.*So by this author’s own statement ID DOES deserve attention and is hardly dead.

But, perhaps more seriously, “RSJ” fails to explain how biological orthodoxy based upon chance (i.e. Darwinian evolution) translates into anything remotely orthodox theologically, at least from a Judeo-Christian perspective. It’s all well and good to say, “every Christian believes that the world is intelligently designed for a purpose.” But how does this logically comport with Darwinian evolution? What intellectual gymnastics must be provided in order to do so?

Ken Miller, for example, says we need to throw out Genesis altogether. He also seems to think that if the evolutionary clock was turned back and re-played we might all be intelligent lobsters or some such. RSJ gives highly selective and skewed treatment of ID and then proceeds to slough over what’s really involved with Darwinian mechanisms.

Oh dear. Prophecy is so often spoiled when we try to apply it to the current scene.

See also: Nearly 50% Americans now think humans  are not not special. What is sobering is that reduced belief in human uniqueness generally coexists with reduced interest in civil liberties, as is currently evident among millennials and especially on campuses.

But at least RJS’s circles are no longer tainted.

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Saying iD is dead or not walking upright is sayingh evidence for gods fingerprints in nature is dismissed by most or enough people. Most people, or enough, see Gods fingerprints in nature and ID is just thinkers putting meat around it. They have, they won, they prevail, they are the future and they are famous still. ID/YEC is doing very well. iD is still a threat in universities, any schools, in politics, in the big media and its the talk in science circles. In fact those most aggressive against it are quite famous. Nye, Dawkins,Tyson, and plenty more. All origin subjects really move in small circles especially innovative things that get attention. I insist ID is in great shape and this article by someone saying its dead is proof he thinks his audience knows about it and still wants to read about it. if he thinks its dead THEN that should be his last article eh. I bet it ain't!Robert Byers
April 8, 2016
07:41 PM
Well goody. The anti-ID sites should be closing down any day now.Mung
April 8, 2016
03:57 PM

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