Check out the transcript of Simon Conway Morris’s 2005 Boyle Lecture: http://www.stmarylebow.co.uk/?Boyle_Lectures:2005. He just can’t seem to leave ID alone:
Rather it seems to me that Intelligent Design has a more interesting failing, a theological failing. Consider a possible analogy, that of Gnosticism. Where did this claptrap come from? Who knows, but could it be an attempt to reconcile orphic and mithraic mysteries with a new, and to many in the Ancient World a very dangerous, Christianity? So too in our culture, those given over to being worshippers of the machine and the computer model, those admirers of organized efficiency, such would not expect the Creator Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that is the one identified as the engineer of the bacterial flagellar motor or whatever your favourite case-study of ID might be Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to be encumbered with a customary clichÃƒÂ© of bearing a large white beard, but to be the very model of scientific efficiency and so don a very large white coat. ID is surely the deistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s option, and one that turns its back not only on the richness and beauty of creation, but as importantly its limitless possibilities. It is a theology for control freaks.
As one of my colleagues puts it in response:
Conway Morris’s remark is another of the slapdash pseudo-theological criticisms of ID, which uses words like “Gnosticism” and “deism” in utterly eccentric senses. Their primary rhetorical function is to prevent readers from considering ID on its own terms.
Let’s take the objection that ID is deistic. Conway Morris recognizes correctly that ID theorists argue that the acts of intelligent agency are detectible at certain places within the created order. He takes that to mean, without logical justification, that ID theorists argue that only at those locations does design take place, and no where else. That’s the non sequitur. (Design could be everywhere, but only be apparent within a certain framework at certain places.) Then comes the theological objection: “Surely it’s objectionable to say that God only acts here and there in the created order, and not everywhere. He’s the Lord of creation after all! That’s almost as bad as saying God only acts at the beginning, as the deists contend. Therefore, ID arguments are (basically) deistic.”
Never mind that anyone who says that God acts even once within the created order has already ceased to be a deist. And never mind the fact that ID theorists don’t argue that design takes place, say, only to make the bacterial flagellum and to get life started, and nowhere else. Who has claimed that? The ID argument is that there are certain loci within the created order in which design is apparent against the backdrop of natural, law-like order. That’s a claim about detection that is fully compatible with God (I’m assuming God is the designer) being active in secondary causes as well. Moreover, many ID advocates also argue that design is detectible at the level of natural laws and constants. That’s the point of most fine-tuning arguments.
Too many criticisms of ID take place in a sealed glass jar, with misrepresentations of ID being proposed, and then critiqued. Good criticisms address the real argument, not a distortion of it.