Casey Luskin has posted an interesting response (part II) to Barbara Forrest’s Kitzmiller Account, Here he addresses Dr. Forrest’s usage of quotations from ID proponents: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/09/response_to_barbara_forrests_k_1.html
As is typical in the Evo camp, Dr. Forrest attempts to make the usual conflation of ID and religion by quoting Phillip Johnson and William Dembski. Many cite Johnson as the founder of the current ID movement. Popularizer perhaps, but founder he was NOT, nor can he authoritatively be credited with setting its parameters. Luskin notes (as does Dembski in ‘Cosmic Pursuit’, 1998) that Charles Thaxton and Dean Kenyon first wrote on the subject during the ’80s. But is concept even that new?
“Throughout the centuries theologians have argued that nature exhibits features which nature itself cannot explain, but which instead require an intelligence over and above nature. From Church fathers like Minucius Felix and Basil the Great (3rd and 4th centuries) to medieval scholastics like Moses Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas (12th and 13th centuries) to reformed thinkers like Thomas Reid and Charles Hodge (18th and 19th centuries), we find theologians making design arguments, arguing from the data of nature to an intelligence operating over and above nature.” (Wm. Dembski, ‘Cosmic Pursuit’, 1998)
Luskin notes that Forrest, in an attempt to define ID’s defined parameters as religious, made reference to a July 1999 article in Touchstone Magazine by William Dembski in which theological references were made. That perspective, presented to a religiously oriented readership, makes perfect sense, and may in fact ring true to many of us. No mention, however, was made of Dembski’s basic proffered tenets, defined extensively in numerous publications, that correctly lay out ID’s precepts. To wit: Intelligent Design, while logically having religious inferences, is properly defined as an empirical study of design inferences, by which science is the logical investigator.
Casey Luskin’s critique of Forrest is revealing of the fact that she and others have it in mind to discredit the ID movement, label it as religiously motivated, and attempt to classify it as not being scientifically investigable. But is that criticism justified? Logic and ethics would have it that a personal faith based orientation is entirely separate from a person’s investigative field, and should not even be considered in evaluating that field. Luskin correctly points out that Theistic Evolutionists like Kenneth Miller have made similar theistic inferences (in ‘Finding Darwin’s God’), but are never likewise criticized.
So the question of an empirical examination of ID comes to roost on things like specified complexity, the origin of data, the mechanistic view of irreducible complexity, and in my view, order, organization, synergy, motive and aesthetics. Its investigative focus is not a designer’s mind or mindset, but the artifact due to a designer’s mind. When will critics of ID, and unfortunately our legal system, get it right? Barbara Forrest (and the others) have thus far failed on all counts.