In my last post I quoted Dr. Hart holding our naturalist friends’ feet to the fire. But as long-time readers of these pages will know, however, Dr. Hart is no friend of Intelligent Design. (See, e.g. here) And in The Experience of God, Hart takes the ID movement to task at both the biological and cosmological level. He faults us for reducing God to a cosmic tinkerer, a sort of Platonic demiurge. Of biological ID he writes:
in the light of traditional theology the argument from irreducible complexity looks irredeemably defective, because it depends on the existence of causal discontinuities in the order of nature, ‘gaps’ where natural causality proves inadequate. But all the classical theological arguments regarding the order of the world assume just the opposite: that God’s creative power can be seen in the rational coherence of nature as a perfect whole; that the universe was not simply the factitious product of a supreme intellect but he unfolding of an omnipresent divine wisdom or logos. For Thomas Aquinas, for instance, God creates the order of nature by infusing the things of the universe with the wonderful power of moving themselves toward determinate ends; he uses the analogy of a shipwright able to endow timbers with the power into develop in to a ship without external intervention. According to the classical arguments, universal rational order – not just this or that particular instance of complexity – is what speaks of the divine mind.
Concerning cosmological ID he argues that we make the same category error that Stephen Hawking makes. Hawking errs when he conceives of (and then dismisses) a God who who mechanistically created the universe at a point in time. The he writes:
those who argue for the existence of God principally from some feature or other of apparent cosmic design are guilty of the same confusion; they make a claim like Hawking’s seem solvent, or at least relevant, because they themselves have not advanced beyond the demiurgic picture of God. By giving the name ‘God’ to whatever as yet unknown agent or property or quality might account for this or that particular appearance of design, they have produced a picture of God that it is conceivable the sciences could some day genuinely make obsolete, because it really is a kind of rival explanation to the explanations the sciences seek . . . God, properly conceived, is not a force or cause within nature, and certainly not a kind of supreme natural explanation.
If you are an ID proponent, how would you respond to Dr.Hart?
UD’s own Vincent Torley has answered objections similar to Hart’s in these pages. See, e.g., here and here. Also William Dembski has specifically repudiated a mechanistic understanding of ID. See here.
I read further and find Hart saying this: “Distinct levels of causality can be at once qualitatively different from, but necessarily integrated with, one another.”
How is this so very different from Dembski’s conception of ID when he writes:
For the Thomist/Aristotelian, final causation and thus design is everywhere. Fair enough. ID has no beef with this. . . . But even to identify the designer with the Christian God is not to say that any particular instance of design in nature is directly the work of his hands. We humans use surrogate intelligences to do work for us (e.g., computer algorithms). God could likewise use surrogate intelligences (Aristotelian final causes?) to produce the sorts of designs that ID theorists focus on (such as the bacterial flagellum).