In a recent post on Biologos, Kathryn Applegate concluded her criticism of Michael Behe. Interesting, though, was this statement:
Many scientists agree with Behe that evolution may have been guided in some mysterious way by a Mind.
This is very interesting, precisely because the core of ID is whether or not the origins of life (including evolution) have been guided by a mind (or a designer, or an agent, depending on your terminology). It is interesting that Biologos and the Intelligent Design movement converge at this point, precisely because it is really the only point of ID that matters.
Applegate has several criticisms of Behe and his methods. I don’t care to get into whether or not they are legitimate on this post. What I want to focus on, however, is that the idea that evolution was guided by a mind appears to now be a shared idea of both Biologos and the Intelligent Design Movement. The difference, for what its worth, appears in her next statement:
But whether or not the methods of science could ever rigorously detect teleology—mindful purpose—by studying the physical world is hotly debated. Most working scientists I know do not believe science is equipped for such a task.
What Applegate is saying is that, yes, many scientists think that evolution was guided by a mind, but, no, science is not up to this task.
Whether or not you agree with the current stream of thought from Behe, Dembski, Marks, or many others in this field, it is good to keep in mind what is being done – expanding the purview of science. If you think that the current methods of science aren’t up to the task of detecting the guidance of a mind, why stand in the way of those who think that it might be detected? Friendly criticism is always welcome, but why throw stones? Why not, instead, take the time to ask the necessary questions, probe the limits of what is possible, and develop new methodologies? This seems to be a much more constructive approach than simply tossing stones from the sidelines.
Since Biologos is on record saying that it is okay for a scientist to think that a mind guided evolution, why not also allow that scientist to investigate that thought? Certainly, the first steps in such an investigation will be rocky – many false paths will be trodden, and many wrong turns taken – but if it is true that it is guided by a mind, isn’t this a worthy subject for a scientist to pursue?
Since Biologos no longer has any philosophical disagreement with Intelligent Design (only a practical one), why don’t we then join together to see what is possible? Why don’t we join together to see if we can correct our errant methodologies and come up with better, more reliable ones? This seems like a worthy goal to pursue together, doesn’t it? What could be better than learning more about the teleological forces behind evolution?
Let’s work with each other, not against each other. If we do, we shall learn wonderful things together.