Karl Giberson has responded in a post at Beliefnet to Dr. Dembski’s previous post here at UD. The post that Dr. Dembski wrote was in response to another Beliefnet post written by Darrel Falk. What is left out of this triangle is that I had also posted a response to Darrel Falk’s post right after Dr. Dembski’s post. But Karl Giberson seems to have missed my post, because not only am I not mentioned in his reply, his reply has already been directly refuted by my post, and I would assume that Karl Giberson wouldn’t have written his post if only he had read mine. He wrote:
The key point here, that Dembski claims to miss, is that the gift of creativity that God bestowed on the creation is theologically analogous to the gift of freedom God bestowed on us. Both we and the creation have freedom…In exactly the same way, less the moral dimension, when nature’s freedom leads to the evolution of a pernicious killing machine, God is “off the hook.” Unless God micromanages nature so as to destroy its autonomy, such things occur. Likewise, unless God coercively micromanages human decision making, we will often abuse our freedom.
In my post I wrote:
Then there is the obviously flawed position that he takes which claims that those of us who think God created life are heretical, that life had to have come about in a “freedom zone” where things kill each other and natural selection is to blame, not God. Which is tantamount to saying “I’m sorry that my pit bull killed your children, he has a mind of his own and I can’t put him on a leash.” Falk’s attempted theodicy to account for natural evil doesn’t even get off the groud, it only attempts to shift the blame to “evolution.” In personal evil, done by actual people, there is free-will, and so accountability. Here Falk is giving the process of evolution free-will that doesn’t have accountability, and so there is no accountability for anything evil any living creature does by extension; not even personal evil. For the created person has been removed, and replaced by a process that has it’s own freedom to create as it sees fit, and he has to take that evolutionary outcome as a whole, bad deeds and all. And the driving force of this process is survival of the fittest. How is our freedom differentiated from evolution’s freedom? Is evolution not our keeper and the reason we are here Falk? How can we help how evolution made us, evil and all? In removing the created person from his equation, he removes the equation. For if there is no person to determine evil, separate and apart from an evolutionary process, that can pass judgment on that process, of which judgments are themselves not a product of that process, then there is no [independent and objective judgment of] real evil.
And notice the “less the moral dimension” that Giberson claims for the freedom of evolved creatures to do whatever they evolved to do without “moral” responsibility. Aren’t we just another evolved creature? If we are to be held accountable, yet not any other creature, then the defining line between us and the animal kingdom will have to be a real line, (which means that we didn’t evolve with and from them) otherwise, if we are to be held accountable, then so is every other creature, and if every other creature is not, then neither would we be, given that we are the product of the same evolutionary process. Why should evolution’s freedom be stopped by God when it comes to humans? And why should “we” take over our freedom, when “we” are merely whatever is evolving in an ongoing process? And is this not God micro-managing and truncating evolution’s freedom, while making “us” accountable at some stop-gap of evolution’s freedom? And why would God be off the hook for creating a mechanism (evolution) that kills and destroys the way it does? For in Giberson’s theodicy, not only did God make the process of evolution, He set it in place and started it. This would be like me letting a bunch of mice, some infected with a plague, loose into a town. The mice have their own freedom to do whatever they want and go wherever they want, and do it all without a “moral dimension.” This does nothing to get me “off the hook” for whoever as a result dies.
And what about the weather, the planet, the universe that has caused all sorts of pain and suffering from hurricanes to earthquakes to spaceship destruction? Was there some sort of “freedom” that physics and cosmology enjoyed all the way back to the singularity before the Big Bang? Well, then, did God not even create the singularity that produced the Big Bang? If the answer is “The only thing God created was The Laws of Nature”, this is not an answer, for the laws of nature are inert. They are only the pattern to which events conform once they are induced to happen, but the laws of nature cannot provide for the inducement. It would be like me trying to add money to my account by doing sums about it. And secondly, something cannot come from nothing, so we know that God created the something.
God, to truly be off the hook by Giberson’s theodicy couldn’t be responsible in creating the laws of nature, the singularity, the universe, the world, or living creatures. The “freedom” for nature that he thinks gets God off the hook is a non-starter, and in the end will give nature so much creative ability it will be a form of pantheism.
When pressed to its logical end, Giberson and Falk’s attempted theodicy leave God as creating nothing at all, and this is a heresy, not even a theodicy. A theodicy is a harmonization between a good God and an evil world, and if God had nothing at all to do with the world, then there is no need for a harmonization. There are better theodicies available, and the one I recommend is Dr. Dembski’s book The End of Christianity.