Greetings all. Since I’m going to be contributing some posts here at Uncommon Descent, it’s been suggested I explain to everyone just where I’m coming from intellectually and in the context of the Intelligent Design discussion. Before I do that, I just want to express my thanks to the powers that be on this site for allowing me this opportunity – with luck it may lead to some interesting conversations on a topic I’ve enjoyed following over the years.
So if you’re at all curious of where I stand on the questions of ID, evolution, and so on… Well, just read on.
First, when it comes to questions of my intellectual background I’d like to be explicit: I’m very much an average person. My pseudonym doesn’t hide someone with important credentials, and I’m neither an academic nor a scientist. I’m simply someone who became very interested in Intelligent Design, along with the related questions of design, science, and so on years ago, and have taken part in many conversations both on here and at Telic Thoughts (another blog dedicated to teleological topics.)
Second, my views on ID are somewhat complicated. If you were to ask me if I think Intelligent Design can offer arguments, evidence and reasons to think that design exists in the natural world, I’d say yes. Now, if you’d ask me whether I think ID is “science”, I’d say no – but I’d also say that Darwinism as offered up by many (and Michael Ruse in particular) is not science either. The other side of that coin is that I’m pragmatic – if it’s “science” to argue, as many Darwinists do, that science CAN in fact detect the presence or absence of design in nature (and inevitably, they always insist that science has shown its lack), then my response is “Then detecting design in nature is science after all, therefore ID is science.” I strongly believe that the one thing many ID critics fear most is consistency: They want all positive inferences of design ruled out as non-scientific, but all negative inferences of design to be called not only scientific, but utterly true.
Third, you could classify me as a theistic evolutionist of sorts. I’m a Catholic who grew up with a Catholic family and schooling, and the result was that evolution never struck me as a problem for my faith – the impression I’ve always gotten is that it simply hasn’t been considered a major issue for quite some time, at least among many Catholics. That said, I have little patience for Darwinism – at least, I’ve had little patience for it after coming to realize that “Darwinism” was different from “evolution”, and this will be one of my focuses while I contribute at UD. Further, I simply don’t have the fiery indignation many TEs have when it comes to this topic. I got over my (largely ignorant, cultural) hostility to YECs years ago, I don’t find the suggestion of designer interventions in natural history as some kind of terrifying “science-stopper” much less obviously untrue, and I think both the natural world in general and evolution in particular bear signs of intention, design, purpose, mind, and teleology from top to bottom even if it’s granted for the sake of argument that no direct intervention took place. In other words, for me, design in the world is obvious – and questions of whether biological organisms evolved, were directly created, or otherwise strike me not as a question of whether or not design took place, but as an implied affirmation that it did take place with the “How?” being of central concern.
Fourth, my interest in ID is not purely or even largely religious. And by that I mean, if tomorrow it were demonstrated to me that Christianity was false, my interest in ID would remain. I think it’s to ID’s credit that its major proponents have repeatedly stressed that ID may allow one to infer, even strongly infer, a mind or teleology being responsible for what we see in the natural world – but that this mind is not necessarily the specific God of Christianity, or may not even be a ‘god’ at all (though the particularities of that question are dicey.) In fact, I think ID as a movement would benefit by stressing this point further – I feel that many otherwise agnostic people would find the broad inferences, questions, and ideas in the ID ‘big tent’ to at least be worthy of serious consideration. In some ways, I feel this is an eventuality regardless.
In the near future, I hope to post about a wide variety of ID-related topics – from giving my own take on why Thomists should support ID, why agnostics should support ID, the mistakes some prominent ID critics and/or TEs make, the ideas of some lesser-known ID-sympathetic people, and more.
I think that wraps things up for now. So a belated Merry Christmas to you all, and an early Happy New Year.