… theistic evolution/Christian Darwinism.
I rarely write about religion on Tuesdays, but this got shoved in my (news writer Denyse O’Leary’s) face recently, and makes a nice illustration of a bad reason for opposing ID, for Sal’s files of bad arguments against ID.
A scientist contacted me about a technical matter related to writing (no surprise, I write for a living).
He, a religious man, had been thinking about science in relation to his faith for some years. I asked him what he thought about the ID theorists. He said that they demeaned God by making God responsible for bad designs, of which—he says—there are a great many in the world.
I pointed out that in an imperfect world, even the best designs can only be optimal, not perfect. But never mind, for now let’s assume there are lots of suboptimal designs.
So then God isn’t responsible for them? Who is?
Evolution, he said. Of course, he means Darwinian evolution. (Natural selection acting on random mutation produces the whole world of life, as it were, by accident.)
And God isn’t responsible for that? Well, he admitted I had him there. Then he started blathering about how nature could somehow be inside God and …
I was tempted to just hang up. If he wants to be a pantheist, he had better go join a religion that takes pantheism seriously. But professional courtesy required me to answer the technical questions asked of me.
Before that, however, I asked him this question:
Have you ever encountered a passage in the Bible, where Moses is arguing with God on Mt. Horeb? Moses is (understandably) trying to get out of returning to Egypt to confront Pharaoh. He offers the fact that he isn’t much of an orator (or, depending on your interpretation, has a speech impediment). God replies,
Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now, can we all please just take our “Bible” glasses off for a minute and look at what is being said here?
Here at the heart of one of the most significant encounters in the Torah, God explicitly and unequivocally takes complete responsibility for causing some to be blind and others to see. It is not an accident. He causes it.
Are you listening, Christian Darwinist? There is no religious argument against ID based on imperfection if your starting point is the Jewish or Christian religion. God says he both invented the eye, before which Darwin trembled, and deprives some of sight. So isn’t it just a little bit, well, arrogant of you to misrepresent information theory-based critiques of Darwinism in order to defend God from an accusation he admits to?
Look, I don’t think the ID controversy is about religion as such at all. But if some insist on dragging religion into it, I wish they had the moral decency to represent God as he says he is.
Of course, some people might respond by saying they wouldn’t worship a God like that. It is entirely up to them if they take it upon themselves to be wiser than God, and refuse to worship. I thank God if they live some place where they have the religious freedom to choose that.
I also think that they are closer to the heart of things than the theistic evolutionists/Christian Darwinists. They are at least listening to what the Bible actually, unambiguously, represents God as saying about imperfections in life forms.
That is better than writing their own theistic evolutionist/Christian Darwinist Bible and using it to bash critiques of Darwin that they don’t understand, don’t want to understand, and feel compelled to misrepresent.
Sal, file under: If you are an observant Christian or Jew, note that God takes responsibility for designs that didn’t work (Ex 4:11). Such flops are not a religious argument against design in nature if you adhere to either of those religions.