Late last year, the eminent Christian philosopher and proponent of intelligent design, William Lane Craig, crossed swords in debate with the avid apologist for Darwinian evolution, Francisco Ayala, of the Biologos Foundation. The debate was chaired by philosopher of physics Bradley Monton of the University of Colorado, an ID sympathizer, though a convinced atheist himself. Monton is the author of the book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. A fascinating ID the Future interview with Professor Monton can be downloaded here.
Following Dr. Ayala’s opening statement, Dr. Craig commenced his presentation by carefully setting out the definition of ID as the study of legitimate design inferences. Craig stipulated that, were Ayala to attempt to refute the inference to design with respect to biological systems, he would need to do one of two things. Either Ayala would need to directly challenge the legitimacy of the explanatory filter (presumably by demonstrating that it incorporates false positives) or demonstrate that the systems featured in biology do not meet the criteria of the explanatory filter. Setting aside the discussions pertaining to the tenability of universal common ancestry, Craig set about to argue that Ayala’s attempts to disqualify ID on scientific grounds were doomed because he had failed to demonstrate, in his published work, that the dual forces of random mutation and natural selection, are causally sufficient to account for macroevolution. He also argued that Ayala’s more numerous attempts to disqualify ID on theological grounds are completely irrelevant to the process of drawing a design inference from biological phenomena, because none of the arguments for ID aspire to show that the designer possesses the qualities of omnibenevolence or omnipotence. After all, Craig argued, a design inference is still warranted with respect to a medieval torture rack, regardless of the malevolent purposes of the system’s design. Questions pertaining to the nature of the designer are for natural theology, not for the scientific research program of ID. This is what distinguishes the modern concept of ID from the Watchmaker argument of William Paley’s Natural Theology. Read More>>>