Reply to John West on ID and Metaphysics

| 38 Comments | 2 TrackBacks
John West, associate director of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, has replied to my "fulminating" essay, posted to Dispatches, In the Agora and the Panda's Thumb, on ID and "divine design". You'll recall that Mr. West had claimed that he and his fellow ID advocates get "very upset" when people "confuse" intelligent design with divine design, as a Utah legislator has in a bill designed to give equal time, and I replied by offering numerous quotes from ID advocates themselves ostensibly "confusing" the two. Mr. West's reply to me, unfortunately, almost entirely misses the point of my response - by design, I suspect. He has essentially two arguments: A) that ID only has "metaphysical implications" rather than being inherently metaphysical, and B) so does evolution:

First of all, if he had read the article I referenced in my blog post about why ID is not creationism, he would have known that I never deny that ID can have metaphysical implications...I went on to explain that ID in this respect is no different than Darwinism.

But he fails to address here the real substance of my argument. I did not argue that ID merely has metaphysical implications; I argued that ID is inherently metaphysical and that many ID advocates had admitted as much. The only quotes in my initial post that dealt only with the implications of ID were the ones from Nancy Pearcey; the rest of them dealt with the nature of ID either as an explanation or as a political/legal movement. The rest of them all begin with statements like "Intelligent design is...", "Our strategy has been...", and "Our objective is...". These are statements about the nature of ID, not about the implications of ID.

More importantly, as I have argued elsewhere, the nature of ID by the Discovery Institute's own definition can only be metaphysical. Here is the definition of ID given by West's own group in their FAQ answering questions about ID:

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Their own definition combines biological ID with cosmological ID, which means the designer is responsible not only for living things, but for creating the universe itself. The DI's writings on cosmological ID make clear that when they say "certain features of the universe", they mean the nature of the universe itself - the nature of nature. This pretty much closes the door on their mantra-like citation of aliens as possible "intelligent designers". If the argument is that the universe was designed with the ability to sustain life, invoking alien life as an explanation is clearly absurd - alien life would be an effect of that universal design, just as human life is, not a cause of it.

(Incidentally, let me add that I have no problem whatsoever with the claim that the universe is designed to support life. Indeed, this is something I agree with. I am a deist and I do believe that the universe was created with the attributes to allow life to begin, exist and evolve when the conditions are right. But not only does this have little to do with whether evolution is true or not, I would maintain that there is a tension between accepting cosmological ID and rejecting evolution. As my friend and colleague Howard Van Till likes to point out, the ID movement believes in a God who created the universe with the ability to sustain life, but did so poor a job of it that he had to continually intervene to make sure it happened.)

Anyway, getting back to the argument that ID is inherently metaphysical, let me provide more support for this position from ID advocates themselves. William Dembsk has agreed with my argument above that the combination of cosmological and biological ID means that the "designer" can only refer to God. In an August 1998 article published on ARN, The Act of Creation. He wrote:

The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.

So here again, their own words demonstrate that ID does not merely have "metaphysical implications", but that ID is an explanation that requires a metaphysical designer - i.e. a God. To be fair, Dembski does say that angels could have had a hand in designing too:

And another thing I think we need to be aware of is that not every instance of design we see in nature needs to be directly attributed to God. Certainly as Christians we believe there is an angelic hierarchy - it's not just that there's this physical material world and there's God. There can be various hierarchies of intelligent beings operating, God can work through what can be called derived intelligences - processes which carry out the Divine will, but maybe not perfectly because of the fall.

But either way, ID is a metaphysical explanation by its nature, not merely by its implications. Does that mean that it's wrong? Of course not. But it means that it is outside the ability of science to deal with, and it means that West and his fellow ID advocates are putting on a Janus-like display of double talk, saying on the one hand that the designer could just as easily be aliens and that they don't deal in the supernatural, while simultaneously admitting that the designer could only be supernatural.

I would also note the interesting dichotomy between their position on evolution and their position on ID. It has been a staple argument of the ID crowd for over a decade now that evolution is an inherently atheistic/materialistic idea. Their rhetoric about destroying "atheism" and "materialism" has been quoted a thousand times over, so there is no need to rehash it here. And it is important to note that they do not merely claim that evolution has atheistic "implications". As Phillip Johnson says:

The objective [of the Wedge Strategy] is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to "'the truth" of the Bible and then "the question of sin" and finally "introduced to Jesus."

Thus we see that it is a vital part of their strategy to claim that evolution is not atheistic merely by implication, but by its inherent nature, and that their entire goal is to use ID as a wedge to introduce people to the bible and Jesus. Yet when you take those words seriously and conclude that ID is an inherently religious or metaphysical idea - as they themselves admit - they howl in outrage at the unfairness of it all. It's quite an interesting tension at play between their rhetoric about evolution and their rhetoric about ID. I maintain that this tension is simply a result of the fact that their real position and the marketing campaign with which they sell it are fundamentally at odds. As a political/legal strategy, they simply must pretend that ID is purely about science and an unnamed "designer". But as a fundraising campaign - and remember that they themselves refer to the Wedge document as a fundraising letter - they have to tell people that evolution really means atheism, ID really means Christianity, and that if you send them money, they'll stand up for God and destroy atheism.

2 TrackBacks

Varnishing the Wedge from Abnormal Interests on June 30, 2005 5:46 PM

Ed Brayton and John West are having a discussion about the metaphysical implications/ basis of intelligent design creationism. The discussion was inaugurated by West's expressing frustration with what he called the "hijacking" the expression "intellige... Read More

John West steps in it...deeper this time. from Law Evolution Science and Junk Science on July 1, 2005 6:52 PM

John West of the Discovery Institute gets very angry when people confuse Intelligent Design with creationism: If this legislator wants to promote creationism, he should say so plainly. But by invoking the term design, he wrongly conflates creationism w... Read More

38 Comments

Oh, ID is not inherently metaphysical, it’s really science, it just has implications for metaphysics?

At Hillsdale, after his public lecture, I challenged Behe in a small-group discussion to give us a positive statement of exactly how the “Intelligent Designer” creates bacterial flagella. As usual, he was evasive. But I didn’t let him get away. And finally, he answered: “In a puff of smoke!” A physicist in our group asked, “Do you mean that the Intelligent Designer suspends the laws of physics through working a miracle?” And Behe answered: “Yes.”.

So tell us again, Mr. West, about “ those who wrongly conflate intelligent design theory with religion.”

Fundamentally at odds?

That is the inevitable outcome when mistaking religion for God.

The real problem with ID is that ID advocates claim it is meta-evident. However, every time we look, ID is sub-evident in nature, and sub-evident in theory.

The standard for what we teach in science classes is what is evidenced. Consequently, it is fair to say ID is sub-standard, too.

Not metaphysical?! Not divine?!

How the hell else would you describe something with the capability of creation at will??

The real problem with ID is that ID advocates claim it is meta-evident.

That’s exactly right, Mr. Darrell. As my colleague Dr. Vinny Boombatz likes to say, “The ID movement believes in a God, but he did such a poor job on himself that he had to intervene and create a universe, and he don’t get no respect.”

I don’t see any way for IDers to rule out aliens as the designers of life on Earth. It seems to me that they claim life can only arise in the universe by divine intervention, but once intellegent life is here who knows? We may be just a hobby of or a poor self-built knock off of the true chosen form of life. That would explain a lot, IDers for example.

Extra-universal intelligent entities that go about creating universes don’t need to be dieties, unless you specifically define diety in that manner. We don’t have any idea what it would take to intentionally create a universe, or if that is even possible, so it’s difficult to determine what sort of features are neccessary for such an intelligence to have. ID claims to have empirical evidence that the universe or features within it are the result of intelligently directed processes. I don’t think they do, and their arguments are extraordinarily poor, be it new wave creationism or anthropic coincidences (fine-tuning). However, demonstrating this definitely doesn’t rise to the level of demonstrating the omnimax properites typically ascribed to a diety in classical theism, where a diety is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, etc. There’s no logical reason the creator of this universe, assuming there was one, would have to have those properties. So it wouldn’t get you to God per se, though it might get you to an alien intelligence so powerful that for all practical purposes it is a diety. We can’t say, becuase we don’t know what powers it takes. So unless anything that can create a universe is by defintion a diety, I don’t think you can say ID alone gets you to it, even if ID advocates are transparently using ID as a form of religious apologetics.

Would that be an old-fashioned diety or the new (allegedly intelligently designed) Atkins diety though? ;-) People find it hard to stick with one (ie in all its details, especially if they didn’t carefully check those first) but they nearly always lose pounds and pounds at the start …

Osmo - since when has omnimax been synonymous with deity? Or were the worshippers of Qetzlcoatl really followers of a space alien?

Ah, Dr. Vinny Boombatz. I can’t resist. Have to post a great Dangerfield line:

“I remember the time that I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.”

The ID movement’s insistence that they are only identifying “design”, without necessarily identifying a designer or making any specific statements about the natural world, makes ID more metaphysical, not less. By using “design” as a vague and fluid concept without any clear-cut statements about the physical world, they’ve pretty much rendered ID nothing but metaphysics.

Shorter John West:

So what if Brayton can produce quotes where leading ID advocates claim that ID is religion? I can produce quotes where they say it’s not. Therefore, it’s not.

Re “they’ve pretty much rendered ID nothing but metaphysics.”

In which case it wouldn’t conflict with descent with change anyway, so where’s the beef? (Wendy’s?)

Who cares who the designer is? Unless it’s found to be really cool design, what does it matter? And if it is really cool, the demand from the nouveaux riche and Paris Hiltons would be so great, who else could afford it?

I think by Dembski’s own logic, physical beings cannot be ultimately responsible for the design of life on Earth. If life contains CSI, and CSI can only be created by intelligence, then either: a) intelligence can exist without CSI, or b) all intelligent agents of this universe must have been ultimately created by something not of this universe.

So unless Dembski wants to argue that an intelligent agent that has less than 500 bits of information exists, he must side with option b.

He has essentially two arguments: A) that ID only has “metaphysical implications” rather than being inherently metaphysical, and B) so does evolution:

That, of course, being the precise argument made by the creation ‘scientists’ in Arkansas.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the IDers STILL haven’t come up with a single argument that wasn’t already amde thirty years ago by the ICR minions. Not a one.

He has essentially two arguments: A) that ID only has “metaphysical implications” rather than being inherently metaphysical, and B) so does evolution:

That, of course, being the precise argument made by the creation ‘scientists’ in Arkansas.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the IDers STILL haven’t come up with a single argument that wasn’t already amde thirty years ago by the ICR minions. Not a one.

Osmo - since when has omnimax been synonymous with deity? Or were the worshippers of Qetzlcoatl really followers of a space alien.

I don’t think you quite followed my quote.

However, demonstrating this definitely doesn’t rise to the level of demonstrating the omnimax properites typically ascribed to a diety in classical theism, where a diety is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, etc. There’s no logical reason the creator of this universe, assuming there was one, would have to have those properties. So it wouldn’t get you to God per se, though it might get you to an alien intelligence so powerful that for all practical purposes it is a diety.

God, meaning, God as the name given to the god of Abrahamic religions, is typically defended by contemporary theologians as being “omnimax” or maximally great along certain dimensions. It’s what is defended in classical theism. There’s no reason the creator would have to be a god with the barebonoes properties of God. It’s hard to say if a creator of a universe must be a diety or not without some definition of what constitutes a diety, which was another theme in my post. All the information we have to go on here is a an intelligence who has the features neccessary to create a universe per its intent. Since we don’t know what those features are, unless “mind that creates a universe” is tautologically defined as qualifying as “diety” we really don’t have the ability to say. The border between powerful aliens and dieties isn’t semantically clear.

Osmo,

Guess you never bothered to even read Tillich, Barth, Bultmann, Spong, Kung…Traditional conservative Christian dogma has no privileged claim on the concept of “God”. Nor is there any reason why the concept of “God” as understood by many Christians cannot be bridged to versions of theistic Hinduism and Buddhism. Karen Armstrong discusses this in the first chapters of her book “The History of God”. It’s worth reading on into later chapters as well to understand her discussion of Christian mystics.

Personally, I don’t self identify as a Christian or theist. I suppose I’m a fence sitter. I lack the faith either way.

But all that said it seems we should be able to have discussions of theism without setting up the straw man of fundamentalism.

Even a conservative theologian such as Howard Van Tills can conceive of God more broadly than Phillipp Johnson. So can Ken Miller. For that matter, so could Theodosius Dobzhansky.

“All the information we have to go on here is a an intelligence who has the features neccessary to create a universe per its intent. Since we don’t know what those features are, unless “mind that creates a universe” is tautologically defined as qualifying as “diety” we really don’t have the ability to say.”

Heck, apparently our universe might have been created by a physicist in a lab! http://www.slate.com/id/2100715

Heck, apparently our universe might have been created by a physicist in a lab!

Since many of the molecular machines are analogous to inventions that have only been conceived since the coming of the age of physics, I would say that is a pretty good bet!

Chip -

What are you talking about? I’m discussing a popular defintion of God held by a significant amount of contemporary theologians - to the point which it is assumed what is meant by theism unless otherwise specified. It isn’t a strawman. It isn’t a fundamentalist notion. I’m not even trying to refute it. I’m merely pointing out how cosmological ID arguments, even if they were effective, wouldn’t get you to a being with those properties. I’ve clarified myself enough that this shouldn’t be missed. I’m fairly certain Ken Miller and Howard Van Till do believe in the God of classical theism, though I don’t know enough about what Dobzhansky’s beliefs were to reasonably speculate.

Osmo:

Who created those that created us? And who created them? And on and on.…

Do you not end w/ God?

Comment #36858: Posted by Quentin Crain on July 1, 2005 02:25 PM

Osmo: Who created those that created us? And who created them? And on and on . …..Do you not end w/ God?

Osmo is not saying that it couldn’t be God at the end of a finite regression. He is saying that is doesn’t perforce HAVE to be God at the end of a finite regression. I don’t think he is actually an ID apologist. I think he is playing devil’s advocate to help the anti-ID side hone its argument. If it means anything Osmo I get it. Sincerely, Paul

I think I hear you too Paul. But is it not the case that we have an infinite regression? And if so, what is at the end? IF not, how/why does it end/begin? Respectfully, Quentin

But, to be negatively critical of Osmo’s argument, I would add that it is not a sub-infinitely powerful not-God that the ID’ers are ultimately trying to get into the science classes. It IS the omnimax christian god that they want. As such your argument, while not wrong, is seemingly irrelevant. The rank and file want THEIR god and no other will do. Whether their god is omnimax or not I don’t think really matters. Paul

Comment #36864: Posted by Quentin Crain on July 1, 2005 03:51 PM

…But is it not the case that we have an infinite regression? And if so, what is at the end? IF not, how/why does it end/begin?

Forgive me for saying this Quentin, but that statement suggests a certain lack of mathematical sophistication. (In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to believe that I am fairly sophisticated in a mathematical sense, but it is true that one of the two reasons I dropped out of college was differential equations.)

IF the ID assertian is true that life can’t exist (i.e. is impossible) without intelligent design and IF the ID assertian is true that it needn’t be their omnimax christian god that was responsible, then an infinite regression is forced upon them. So the answer to your first question is yes. There is no answer to your second question because it is meaningless. There is no end to an infinite regression. Which is why the ID arguments are absurd. An infinitely old universe or an infinite regression of big bangs out of the ashes of previous universes is not so hard to deal with, but an infinite regression of intelligently designed intelligences does seem logically wrong. The only way to break the regression is to insert the christian god, which is why we know they are only trying to be deceitful when they say that god is not the ‘designer’. If offended please forgive me. I hope that was accurate and helpful. Sincerely, Paul

Steve, are these your words or are you quoting someone else?:

At Hillsdale, after his public lecture, I challenged Behe in a small-group discussion to give us a positive statement of exactly how the “Intelligent Designer” creates bacterial flagella. As usual, he was evasive. But I didn’t let him get away. And finally, he answered: “In a puff of smoke!” A physicist in our group asked, “Do you mean that the Intelligent Designer suspends the laws of physics through working a miracle?” And Behe answered: “Yes.”

Also, is that on record in any way? If so I’d be very surprised. It’s one thing to go on record admitting that the designer is God – many “evolutionist” critics of ID/creationism do that. It’s quite another to admit that the laws of physics were suspended, especially since, IIRC, he previously claimed that ID does not require suspension of any laws of physics.

Hmm. Seems to me if it’s not an infinite regression, then it would be something that had been stable for eternity and then suddenly decided to make something. On the face of it, that sounds less plausible than an finite regression of physical causes.

Re “It IS the omnimax christian god that they want. As such your argument, while not wrong, is seemingly irrelevant.” Another Hmm for this - I don’t see how evidence for deliberate engineering of life could distinguish between something omniscient and something that we couldn’t distinguish from omniscient. Well, unless the evidence pointed to multiple engineers working at cross purposes. (Which on the face of it does look more plausible than the single purpose engineer apparently presupposed by most “I.D.” advocates.)

Henry

Osmo,

If I misunderstood you then my apologies. But I take you to be saying two things:

1) There is no point in discussing a deity unless the deity fits the traditional Christian definition of Omnimax; 2) The Omnimax definitin of God is the position of most, if not all of modern Christian theology.

My point with respect to 1 is that if that is your argument, it is a strawman.

My point with respect to 2 is that many modern Christian theologians do not accept that definition of God. Tillich and Barth, at least, represented mainstream Protestant theology of American Protestants in much of the 20th century. So to argue that the omnimax is the position of most modern theologians is just plain wrong.

As to what kind of God Miller believes in, I believe the answer to that is quite simple to find out. One need merely read his book. Personally, I think Miller is a much better biologist than theologian, but then again, he is a trained biologist and not a trained theologian. I think that Miller believes in 1) a personal God 2) a God who acts in History 3) a God who creates through the subtle manipulation of quantam mechanics but 4) a God who is ultimately constrained by and works through, natural law. Since as a Catholic, Miller presumably believes in miracles he must believe God can suspend or manipulate natural law at will. But I do not have the impression Miller believes in a God who just goes “poof” and makes things appear.

Dobzhansky’s position on God is spelled out in “The Biology of Ultimate Concern” which is in many ways a restatement of de Chardin’s earlier work, albeit from the point of view of the modern synthesis, which of course, Dobzhansky helped to create. Dobzhansky’s God is Tillich’s God and Dobzhansky was quite explicit about that.

Comment #36871: Posted by Henry J on July 1, 2005 06:46 PM

Hmm. Seems to me if it’s not an infinite regression, then it would be something that had been stable for eternity and then suddenly decided to make something.

Very much so. Thank you for pointing that out. And that is pretty much the position of christian creationists. Who made god, you ask? God has always existed, they answer. Then one (non-day) day he decided to create something. Paul

But is it not the case that we have an infinite regression? And if so, what is at the end? IF not, how/why does it end/begin?

If the physical charateristics that determine the contents of our universe are perpetually inherent to the energy, then there is no violation of causality.

For example, if we were to have a big bang right now, then the same imbalances, or “imperfections” in the energy that produced everything in this universe would be cast forth into the next universe.

… and so on, and so on… ad infinitum.

How would “god” fit into that?… Beats the hell out of me, but it works with at least one model of relativity… lol

Steve,

I see that it was confirmed by Larry Arnhart, and I have no reason to doubt his honesty. But did Behe ever confirm or deny it? Then again, does it matter? Behe’s only proposal for a potentially scientific alternative to evolution - the “first designed cell” - is in print (in “Darwin’s Black Box”). But AIUI he later said that he never took it seriously. Although that was after H. Allen Orr suggested some easy ways to confirm it. IDers have a way of slipping out of anything anyone tries to pin on them.

Paul -

It’s important to undertand the problem of infinite regress of designers in the context of what the IDist is proposing. They argue that certain features we observe within the universe are evidence that a being intentionally brought them about. Now, unless an intelligent agent must have those same properties that strongly indicate design, then the need for that entity to be designed isn’t there. So in the case of the most naive of naive design arguments, where a person incredulously asks “So you think all this order just poofed out of nothing” the “who designed the designer question” is entirely apt as a designer must be “ordered” to be coherant. However, this becomes more fuzzy when the issue is something like fine-tuning. The problem is we don’t know what sort of existence this designer has. Is it a disembodied mind on some mentalist plane of reality? Is it in some other physical universe with different physical laws? What’s going on here? We have no idea. That is where it becomes very difficult to say whether or not the IDist is pointing at a diety, depending on what we mean by the term. Certainly, even a terminal “designer of all designers” god, isn’t neccessarily God as typically meant. For example, there is no logical reason this being would be benevolent to humanity. Most IDists, despite occasionally saying otherwise for pragmatic reasons, think they are doing religious apologetics, but there is legitimate question over whether there arguments are taking them where they want them to go with there *wink* *wink* “the designer”. As far as organismic design is concerned, I think it is a given that designers of organisms don’t need to be gods or God.

Elliot Sober comments on this in his conclusion of a very good paper he wrote on the design argument:

It was obvious to Paley and to other purveyors of the organismic design argument that if an intelligent designer built organisms, that designer would have to be far more intelligent than any human being could ever be. This is why the organismic design argument was for them an argument for the existence of God. I predict that it will eventually become clear that the organismic design argument should never have been understood in this way. This is because I expect that human beings will eventually build organisms from nonliving materials. This achievement will not close down the question of whether the organisms we observe were created by intelligent design or by mindless natural processes; in fact, it will give that question a practical meaning, since the organisms we will see around us will be of both kinds.29stripped of its theological trappings. However, it will be abundantly clear that the fact of organismic adaptation has nothing to do with whether God exists. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World, several indigenous peoples thought these intruders were gods, so powerful was the technology that the intruders possessed. Alas, the locals were mistaken; they did not realize that these beings with guns and horses were merely human beings. The organismic design argument for the existence of God embodies the same mistake. Human beings in the future will be the conquistadors, and Paley will be our Montezuma.

http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/de[…]1%202004.pdf

It’s a lovely rhetorical flourish.

Chip -

If I misunderstood you then my apologies. But I take you to be saying two things:

1) There is no point in discussing a deity unless the deity fits the traditional Christian definition of Omnimax; 2) The Omnimax definitin of God is the position of most, if not all of modern Christian theology.

I’m not saying one at all. As to two, I am saying that omnimax theism or a very close approximate (I’m not concerned with minor technical variations on this point) is the standard position in Christian theology, and I don’t know how you can represent Tillich and Barth as the flagbearers of mainstream theological thought. Influential, sure, but the normative opinions? I’m not a theologian, and I’m only partially familiar with either, but this flies in the face of my familiarty with modern apologetics and theology.

As far as Ken Miller is concerned, omnimax theism doesn’t concern itself with whether God creates through *poof* or via natural mechanisms we have some understanding of. Both are compatible. Miller believes in a God who uses natural process behind the quantum curtain to accomplish his will. Simply pointing out that Miller doesn’t believe in a God that works via magical *poofs* to obtain features of reality we understand via science doesn’t pertain to whether or not he believes God can be defined and properly understood through criteria including being all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly moral, etc.

Moreover, this is really straining from my point that ID arguments don’get IDists to that God, which is a desired goal of at least some IDists and something certainly swallowed by a significant portion of its followers. In short, they probably want to draw more religious conclusions out of their arguments than their arguments, even if they were successful, will bear.

Frank, I don’t know anything more about it than I sent. I don’t know if Behe’s ever confirmed it. Knowing what we know about the IDers, I’d say we can assume it’s true. I would spend more time researching it, but Sabado Gigante just came on.

Cosmo,

I agree with your last point. Even if the evidence for human beings points to design, it does not point to an omnimax designer. In fact, there are some interesting avenues to explore here. Any designer must meet constraints and face tradeoffs. No design is actually perfect. My Honda runs pretty well and is a pretty nice car. But the model I have still has a little bit of engine noise as you accelarate. Later models reduce the noise through a series of tinkerings. Push the analogy a bit and you have a rather curious designer-more like a Honda engineer than an Omnimax deity.

Except, no Honda engineer would do something so cruel as engineer a birth canal to misfit the human infant’s head, thus increasing the amount of pain and risk of death to both mother and child. Of course, ID advocates have a perfect **theological** answer here: It is a result of original sin “in sorrow shalt thou bring forth childen”. Which makes the designer a nasty misogynist intent on punishing women. It also leads to a clear admission of a theological position. Id’ers tend to want to argue for some sort of optimal human design, but there are numerous sub-optimal features of organisms.

It’s curious that ID advocates don’t get confronted more on their theological problems.

So, we agree on that point.

Now, the lesser point is what do most theologians learn in seminary. I suppose it depends on which seminary you attend. But I would hazard to guess that if you attended a United Methodist or an Episcopalian seminary, Tillich and Barth would be quite mainstream. In fact, Barth was considered rather conservative, hence his brand as “neo-orthodox”. It was only the fundamentalists who had a hard time with Barth. For that matter, I can see no reason why a normal, mainstream moderate Protestant would find anything particularly objectionable about Tillich.

However, this becomes more fuzzy when the issue is something like fine-tuning. The problem is we don’t know what sort of existence this designer has. Is it a disembodied mind on some mentalist plane of reality? Is it in some other physical universe with different physical laws? What’s going on here?

LMAO!!!… OH my word, those aren’t EVEN valid consideratins if you don’t allow for NutJobs that spit-out unsubstantiated and speculative theoretical rationale like it was some kind of accepted fact or whatever.

String theorist and crackpots pushing multiverses have destroyed science so badly that you poor suckers will buy into any sci.fi story anybody wants to tell… Whew!

Empiricism trumps FantasyLand BS like that… every time.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed Brayton published on June 30, 2005 9:51 AM.

Blame Aliens was the previous entry in this blog.

Watch out… It’s the Creationist Patrol! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter