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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