Christian Darwinism Intelligent Design

Atheist philosopher has some questions for anti-ID Catholic biochemist (and recent Darwin prize recipient) Ken Miller

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The most recent Stephen Jay Gould prize has been awarded to anti-ID Catholic biochemist Ken Miller of Brown University:

Through his writings, teaching and appearances in court, Dr. Miller has proved an eloquent and passionate defender of evolution and the scientific method.

Some Miller comments:

The argument for intelligent design basically depends on saying, ‘You haven’t answered every question with evolution,’… Well, guess what? Science can’t answer every question. – Kenneth MillerThe new strategy is to teach intelligent design without calling it intelligent design. – Kenneth Miller

There is no controversy within science over the core proposition of evolutionary theory. – Kenneth Miller

Bradley Monton, atheist philosopher and author of Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design (Broadview Press, 2009), who thinks carefully about intelligent design, has some thoughts on Miller’s arguments:

Now, Miller thinks that naturalism is an essential part of science. He holds that if one drops the constraint of methodological naturalism, then science will stop, because one can imply appeal to God as an explanation of any scientific phenomenon. Miller writes:

A theistic science … will no longer be the science we have known. It will cease to explore, because it already knows the answers.

Bradley Monton
Yes, it's me, Prof Monton. Darwinists make you go thunk, but I make you go think.

But as I’ve explained in Chapter 2, that is a bad line of reasoning. The reason it’s a bad line of reasoning is that, while theistic scientists could choose to stop investigating the world, and be satisfied with the answer “God did it,” they need not. What theistic scientists can do is investigate questions like: What structure did God choose to give the world?” If they try to answer this question, it follows that they won’t be satisfied with the answer “God did it”; they’ll want to investigate exactly what God did. (pp. 112-13) Moreover, theistic scientists, like everyone else, can continue to ask the question “Is there a naturalistic explanation of this phenomenon?” even if the theistic scientists think that the right explanation is supernatural. As long as theistic scientists are willing to investigate those questions, then science can go on in pretty much the standard way; allowing supernatural hypotheses won’t fundamentally change science. Miller is wrong to say that a theistic science would cease to explore, and thus, Miller’s claim that intelligent design is anti-science doesn’t hold up.

More later. Comments?

8 Replies to “Atheist philosopher has some questions for anti-ID Catholic biochemist (and recent Darwin prize recipient) Ken Miller

  1. 1
    lastyearon says:

    while theistic scientists could choose to stop investigating the world, and be satisfied with the answer “God did it,” they need not. What theistic scientists can do is investigate questions like: What structure did God choose to give the world?” If they try to answer this question, it follows that they won’t be satisfied with the answer “God did it”; they’ll want to investigate exactly what God did.

    If scientists could investigate God, the very idea of God (as a supernatural entity) would disappear. The act of investigating the supernatural destroys it, by definition.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    ‘The act of investigating the supernatural destroys it, by definition.’

    sort of like the act of observation in quantum mechanics instantaneously collapses the wave function, ‘supernaturally’ defying our concepts of time and space??? And yet the science still goes on! 🙂

  3. 3
    lastyearon says:

    Also, there’s a distinction-which Mr. Monton doesn’t seem to get-between a theist scientist and theistic science. Ken Miller is an example of the former, while the latter is an oxymoron.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    lastyearon you claim that ‘theistic science’ is a oxymoron??? Don’t you know that science is impossible without some sort of presupposition in God!

    Notes:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    he best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation
    http://www.evidenceforchristia.....38;id=3594

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    ,,, ‘And if your curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes = video remix
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    LYO:

    Please read here, on the nature and roots of science. Pay particular attention to what Newton had to say in his Opticks, Query 31.

    It would also help if you were to correct the propagandistic contrast pushed by NCSE etc: natural vs supernatural, and instead understand that ID empirically investigates the distinction natural vs artificial on characteristic, observable and reliable signs pointing to chance, necessity and intelligent design.

    GEM of TKI

  6. 6
    tjm says:

    What structure did God choose to give the world?” If they try to answer this question, it follows that they won’t be satisfied with the answer “God did it”; they’ll want to investigate exactly what God did. (pp. 112-13)

    EXACTLY! In fact, it is this line of reasoning that the early Christian scientists pursued and that led to so many astounding discoveries in the past.

    Johann Kepler was one of the world’s greatest scientists and a devout Christian who believed in a Creator. He said that in doing his science he was merely “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” Kepler and many other great scientists were great because they started with God’s Word as the foundation for their thinking. This is why our modern science was able to develop to the great heights it has. Scientists wanted to discover the design that God had created. In fact this thinking based upon the world being orderly and designed was a big reason why science developed in the Western world as opposed to other areas of the world that did not have this as a part of their worldview.

    Loren Eiseley stated (Loren Eiseley: Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men who Discovered It, Doubleday, Anchor, New York (1961):

    ‘The philosophy of experimental science…began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation… It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.’

  7. 7
    tjm says:

    Sorry, I can’t figure out how to use the tags right.

  8. 8
    Prof. FX Gumby says:

    As lastyearon has pointed out, Monton completely misses the mark by arguing for theistic scientists when Miller is addressing theistic science. Very few people would disagree with Monton’s statement:

    Moreover, theistic scientists, like everyone else, can continue to ask the question “Is there a naturalistic explanation of this phenomenon?” even if the theistic scientists think that the right explanation is supernatural. As long as theistic scientists are willing to investigate those questions, then science can go on in pretty much the standard way;

    Monton is simply stating that theistic scientists who employ methodological naturalism in their work still do science. No problem there.

    The rest of his statement:

    allowing supernatural hypotheses won’t fundamentally change science. Miller is wrong to say that a theistic science would cease to explore, and thus, Miller’s claim that intelligent design is anti-science doesn’t hold up.

    begins with a non sequitur, as his hypothetical theistic scientist hasn’t used any supernatural hypotheses, only naturalistic ones. What the scientist privately believes is irrelevant to the way he conducts his work if he limits himself to naturalistic hypotheses.

    The origins of science in theistic scientists outlined by tjm and kf also lend no support to any sort of “theistic science”, whatever that would be. It’s what the scientist does in formulating and investigating hypotheses that matters, not what’s in his/her heart.

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