Intelligent Design Philosophy

Who just wouldn’t be accepted in the ID community?

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Last Sunday, in “Does intelligent design theory oppose atheism as such?”, I pointed out that ID is better envisioned as a community up one fork of a divided road than as a movement. It has no problem with atheism as such. But there is an important qualification.

If atheism just means not believing that there is a God, as in “no theism,” well, some respected religious and philosophical positions that acknowledge the design in nature include pantheism and the cosmos itself as a form of law or design. Doubtless, there are others that I haven’t heard of.

Some non-materialist atheists and agnostics like our neck of the woods as well, and a growing settlement of people just recognize the fact that “Darwinism in = Darwinism out” is not a recipe for understanding origins. Some of them have paid the price for questioning a cozy racket.

So what is the qualification? A Catholic priest friend and I were discussing apologetics over dinner a couple of months back.

I ventured the view that much Christian apologetics is badly done because it focuses first on the question of whether there is a God, which is about one jump ahead of the question one should ask first, namely something like this,

If a person committed appalling crimes all his life, and didn’t care, and died happily, would there be any consequences to him?

Most traditional orientations would say yes, if only because they would sense some disorder in the scheme of things if a man could act that way with no consequences he would ever experience in any way.

The modern materialist atheist begs to differ. Critical to his belief system is the idea that morality is simply a product of Darwinian evolution that spreads our selfish genes, and we evolved so as not to understand that. So there isn’t even any basis for the judgement beyond the man’s reproductive success.

Countless professors of philosophy have missed the point of the materialist atheist’s statement. They proclaim that then … his own cherished beliefs are meaningless too. Gotcha!

No. No gotcha. His beliefs are not meaningless while he is in power and can enforce whatever he happens to want. And power is all there is. So he wants it more than you do. Remember, there isn’t even any truth anyway, except that there is no “truth,” and neither his brain nor your brain evolved so as to understand that fact.

So apologetics of any kind for any position other than materialist atheism should begin with the question of whether there is truth and whether we can know it.

A person who takes materialist atheist beliefs seriously would probably not be long welcome in our community because, never mind what’s up with the universe: We simply don’t recognize his anthropology and he doesn’t recognize ours.

– O’Leary for News

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4 Replies to “Who just wouldn’t be accepted in the ID community?

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    Not one of the regulars over on atbc would be welcome in the ID community. 😛

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News: If that is the test, then I have seen where it is said that Genghis Khan has left more descendants than any one other person in the past 1,000 years. KF

  3. 3
    nullasalus says:

    I think there’s a difference between ‘acceptance by the ID community’ and ‘accepting ID’.

    No, I don’t think a materialist atheist would be at home in the ID community. But I think a materialist atheist could accept ID – once we’re putting aside all the problems said materialist atheist has with ‘accepting’ anything at all. Intentional acts and problems of accounting for the mind and whatnot.

    But here’s another way to put it: I think the arguments ID proponents put forth don’t suddenly ‘go away’ when a person embraces naturalism, or atheism, or materialism. Irreducible complexity and whatever problems it poses for mainstream evolutionary explanation does not depend on a non-materialist or even a non-naturalist assumption. Nor, really, does inferring design – in fact you can rally no less than Michael Shermer and PZ Myers on those points, since both of them take the position that any given apparent miracle or act of design could in principle be attributed to aliens or ‘naturalist-friendly’ minds if they so choose.

    Which, by the way, undercuts Judge Jones’ old ruling on ID. It turns out saying ‘science operates under methodological naturalism’ as a reason to rule out ID doesn’t work – because nothing about ID really requires a non-naturalist inference or assumption. (Now, I think that if ID is true, a non-naturalist conclusion makes the most sense – but then again, I think the truth of various discoveries of science point towards God and/or non-naturalism, as well as the fundamental assumptions necessary just to get science off the ground intellectually. But what matters here is logical necessity.)

  4. 4
    tjguy says:

    Truth is a problem for atheists, but how you know truth is a question for all of us. How does ID answer that question?

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