I’m going to do a series of posts analyzing a talk given by renowned Thomist philosopher Ed Feser. The full video is available at the end of this post. In any case, the Thomists are well worth responding to, given that they are some of the most vocal Christian critics of Intelligent Design. Or are they? I contend that the biggest issue is that the Thomists misunderstand what Intelligent Design is, much the same way that atheists and creationists do.
From the first part of the video, Feser criticizes ID because – lo and behold – ID is not worthwhile as an apologetic! I wonder if Feser realizes that perhaps the reason that ID is not a worthwhile apologetic is because it was never meant to be one?
Here’s what Feser says:
(a) arguments from the world to the existence of God should be based on a philosophy of nature NOT on natural science
(b) philosophy of nature, while being objective, is not a science in the modern sense of the term
(c) arguments from science alone cannot get you to classical theism, because the arguments could also point to a variety of other possibilities including pantheism, animism, demiurges, etc.
(d) ID, taken alone, does not give you classical theism
Now, I should point out – isn’t this exactly what ID’ers have said all along? ID does not function in the place of apologetics – one requires additional, *philosophical* arguments in order to use ID to argue for God.
Thus, I believe that the Thomistic issues with ID are based on a misunderstanding of what ID’ers are trying to do. Instead of analyzing ID as part of the sciences (such as biology and chemistry), they are improperly comparing ID with a philosophy of nature, and coming to the (correct) conclusion that ID doesn’t work as a large-scale philosophy of nature.
Dear Thomists – please consider ID as it is offered, not for what you wish it to be!