Readers will recall the ongoing debate between Wallace biographers Michael Shermer and Michael Flannery: “Resolved: If He Were Alive Today, Alfred Russel Wallace Would Be an Intelligent Design Advocate.” A philosopher listened to Michael Shermer’s assertion:
If they [IDers] want to do science, however, they must provide testable hypothesis about how they think God (or the Intelligent Designer — ID) did it. […] Did ID intervene in the natural world at the level of species or genus? Did ID intervene at the Cambrian explosion or before?
, and writes to say,
A perfect example of questions based on anti-metaphysical scientism. A key point in them is the in term in “did ID intervene in /em> the natural world”. Such a term implies ignorance of traditional metaphysics.
The Principle of the cosmos doesn’t intervene in the cosmos, for the simple fact that the cosmos is in its Principle. The cosmos never gets out its Principle.
So there is no such thing as an “intervention” here. Intervention would mean that the First Cause is not continually and totally in charge of its effect (the cosmos). It would mean that the cosmos is going its own way and sometimes its Cause says “Oh, it’s time I attend to my effect somehow, I have neglected it so much”.
No. The effect exists only thanks to its cause, a cause that seeks to manifest it
inside itself. The continue existence of the effect is due one hundred per cent to the continued being of its cause.
So to ask “Did ID intervene in the natural world at the level of species? Did ID intervene at the Cambrian explosion?” is like asking when intelligence intervenes when a thinker thinks. In a sense always and never, because the thinker’s intelligence pre-exists all his thoughts. Any of them is only a transitory manifestation of that intelligence, which contains potentially all thoughts. Analogously the entire universe is only an infinitesimal thought in the Divine Mind.
Shermer and his like want us to play a game: They first deny metaphysics and then ask questions answerable only by metaphysics. So they are sure to win. The only solution is to show that they cheat.