Intelligent Design, and Other Dumb Ideas

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Oops, someone pointed out to me that this publication preceded the DI’s press tour.

Poor Discovery Institute, after spending much time and effort on trying, unsuccessfully, to generate some media interest on the Gonzalez tenure case, all they got was a cynical response from Mac Johnson at the conservative site Human Events.com.

So in light of the issue’s new prominence and with a desire to improve the mental hygiene of others, I would just like to say that Intelligent Design is a really, really bad idea –scientifically, politically, and theologically. I say this as a dedicated conservative, who has on many occasions defended and espoused religion and religious conservatism. I also say it as a professional molecular biologist, who has worked daily (or at least week-daily) for years with biological problems to which the theory of evolution has contributed significant understanding – and to which Intelligent Design is incapable of contributing any understanding at all.

So far Mac Johnson has remained silent on the topic, largely because he shares some common beliefs with many of ID’s supporters but he cannot longer remain silent

So in light of the issue’s new prominence and with a desire to improve the mental hygiene of others, I would just like to say that Intelligent Design is a really, really bad idea –scientifically, politically, and theologically. I say this as a dedicated conservative, who has on many occasions defended and espoused religion and religious conservatism. I also say it as a professional molecular biologist, who has worked daily (or at least week-daily) for years with biological problems to which the theory of evolution has contributed significant understanding – and to which Intelligent Design is incapable of contributing any understanding at all.

On the scientific front, ID has little to contribute

Scientifically, attributing every aspect of biology to the arbitrary design of a divine tinkerer explains as much about biology as attributing the eruption of volcanoes to the anger of the Lava God would explain geology. A theory, by definition, makes predictions that can be tested. Intelligent Design predicts nothing, since it essentially states that every thing is the way it is because God wanted it that way.

Not only does ID fail scientifically to be a relevant paradigm, it also is offensive to many because of the theological impact of its arguments.

And as a matter of religion, ID is offensive to me in the lack of faith it demonstrates on the part of its proponents. I believe in God. My belief in Him is not dependent upon his being the motive force in developing shorter dandelion varieties for lawns and longer varieties for roadsides. I am not sure what God is. I am not sure what His role in this world is. But I am sure He is. I don’t need to have that belief enshrined in “theory” and validated by the approval of a county school board.

Seems that even those who should be the Discovery Institute’s closest allies are distancing themselves from the scientifically vacuous and theologically risky concept of ‘Intelligent Design’.

I cannot blame them

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Intelligent Design and Faith from Threads from Henry's Web on December 9, 2007 9:22 AM

An interesting discussion broke out in the comments to this post on The Panda’s Thumb, regarding the nature of faith and how intelligent design relates to faith. On the one hand we have some who hold that anything that provides evidence for God ... Read More

74 Comments

At some point, it becomes apparent to all but the really, really stupid and/or self-deluding that evolutionary theory has nothing at all to do with some liberal/conservative political dichotomy. I’m sure that Johnson and I, for example, might disagree on any number of political issues (I tend to lean leftward), but what he led off saying about evolutionary principles sounds very much like something I would have written or, I would imagine, anyone who works in the field at all could have come up with.

Hurray for the “silent religious majority”. Most of the believing people I know couldn’t care one way or the other about the Creation “battles” (Thank God).

dpr

Loved reading some of the comments. Reminds me of the perils of riding a tiger! 8^)

dpr

As a religion professor and a Christian, let me just say ‘here here’. The intelligent design movement makes an argument that is fundamentally ‘unbiblical’ (not that that term has a clear meaning) as well as being scientifically problematic. The Bible speaks of God as creator of the mountains, not mountains with faces on them, and so Behe’s argument in which he contrasts Mt. Everest and Mt. Rushmore is seriously out of sync with the Bible. And if you have trouble with things being explained naturally, then you will have to reject science of all sorts, since not only biology but meteorology and countless other fields explain things that were traditionally viewed as areas in which God’s activity could be seen.

I posted a ‘denunciation’ of Intelligent Design from a Christian perspective on my blog a while back at http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.[…]science.html

Except Johnson tries to blame the fact that religious conservatives are predominately creationists as nothing more than a false perception perpetrated by liberals:

The Left believes, correctly, that Intelligent Design is a political loser, and so they gleefully attempt to hang it around the neck of every right-of-center movement from libertarian neo-conservatism to isolationist populism – shouting all the while “See, the American Taliban has come for your children! Elect a Democrat before it’s too late!”

Yet even a cursory glance through the comments reveals that to be a fantasy. Far from reaching a reasonable silent majority, Johnson’s article has uncovered the immenseness of the gulf between religious conservatives and reality. Conservatives really are anti-science ignoramuses who irrationally despise evolution and embrace pseudo-science. Mac Johnson isn’t evidence that “the Discovery Institute’s closest allies are distancing themselves from the scientifically vacuous and theologically risky concept of ‘Intelligent Design’.” He’s the exception that proves by and large they aren’t.

I guess this is significant in that we have here a conservative and a Christian speaking out against ID. However, it was not a very interesting article—just rehashing old arguments about bad design (e.g., blood vessels in the eye) and evil design (HIV). He did write some things that are theologically incorrect, at least in terms of Christianity:

And as a matter of religion, ID is offensive to me in the lack of faith it demonstrates on the part of its proponents.

And later,

That is why religion really boils down to faith. You believe or you don’t.

As it goes down the path of equating faith as it is used in the bible with “blind faith.” In other words, this is an argument that ID is bad theology because good Christians shouldn’t seek physical evidence. That is theologically incorrect. Now, if some variant of ID is wrong, then it is bad theology, because (obviously) nothing that is wrong can be good theology. However, it is not the case that it would be bad theology for that particular reason. Blind faith is not a Christian virtue, so something that is contrary to blind faith is not necessarily bad theology. After all, God tells us to look at creation (do science), not to ignore creation and accept everything on faith.

My favorite comment was the one that said “I bet Ann Coulter would crush you in a debate.”

I laughed heartily, until I remembered that people like that can vote.

The Left believes, correctly, that Intelligent Design is a political loser, and so they gleefully attempt to hang it around the neck of every right-of-center movement from libertarian neo-conservatism to isolationist populism – shouting all the while “See, the American Taliban has come for your children! Elect a Democrat before it’s too late!”

First of all, even Repukes like Romney know that there is a base of fundie idiots out there worth tapping. That is why he tried to pander to them in his recent speech about “religious freedom” where he somehow forgot to mention those bad old atheists.

But best part about the “strategy” of repeately pointing out how stupid fundies are and how ultimately stupid it is to grant them political power via their Repuke Party is that, slowly but surely, it’s working.

Even conservative commenters were quick to point out that Romney’s speech was offensive to the millions of citizens who deeply dislike religious garbage and choose not to subscribe (as is our right under the Constitution).

We hope that folks like Mac Johnson will someday be able to put 2+2 together and see the light. In the meantime, a conservative who can tell a magnificently dumb religion from all the other dumb ones is an improvement that we’ll take.

Heddle

It is my understanding that “blind faith” means belief in something in the absence of evidence. A definition which I have thought was accepted by Christians and was if not a “virtue” certainly considered OK. If you mean by “blind faith”, faith without the use of (or despite) reason then I think you have a point.

Can you clarify?

shiftlessbum,

There are many biblical examples, I’ll just name just a couple. Gideon (who is responsible for perhaps the most humorous exchange in the bible, when he says to God: “wait here, I have a gift for you back in my house” and God replies “OK, I’ll wait”) demanded physical proof from God, and God complied, and Gideon was not condemned, but rather praised for his faith. Jesus, when presented with a lame man, essentially announced he was God by telling him “your sins are forgiven.” Immediately after that, instead of telling the crowd that “they just had to believe on blind faith” he healed the man, explicitly explaining that he was providing physical evidence so that people would believe.

The only time something resembling blind faith is praised in the NT, is when it is used to praise the OT saints who were credited with faith even though they weren’t able to see the finished work of Jesus.

Even “doubting” Thomas, when he demanded proof, was not condemned.

In general, faith in the NT should not be interpreted as belief, but as trust. Still, many Christians think it is a “purer” faith when we ignore creation (science) despite the fact that the bible teaches just the opposite.

Even “doubting” Thomas, when he demanded proof, was not condemned.

No, he was just told that he wouldn’t be “blessed” like the unquestioning rubes would be “blessed.”

In other words, he was used as a bad example by the dude who would eventually get to decide whether Thomas’s pitiful soul would be allowed in Fantasy Land or suffer eternal torment in hell.

n general, faith in the NT should not be interpreted as belief, but as trust.

Thus spake Heddle, whose deep confusion about all such matters is well-documented.

Registered User,

There is no commentary on John that I am aware of that exegetes, as you do, that Thomas lost blessings because he demanded proof. As for Jesus’ comments, that (and in Hebrews) are the two cases where one can argue about blind faith. In Hebrews, similar language is used (praising those who believe what they didn’t see) and then the writer goes on to praise them by name, in the faith hall-of-fame (Heb. 11)–which includes–to a person– OT saints who saw the miraculous. Having witness miracles, most would place them in the category of those who absolutely do not have to rely on blind faith. Therefore the writer of Hebrews cannot be praising blind faith in general. Instead he is praising that they believed in the promise of a savior even though he hadn’t arrived. As for Jesus’ comment after Thomas, I would again suggest that he is referring to those who had believed in the promise before it was fulfilled. That, I’d agree, is slightly more speculative. Regardless, your interpretation that No, he was just told that he wouldn’t be “blessed” like the unquestioning rubes would be “blessed.” is championed by nobody of note.

That’s all I’ll say on the matter, not wishing to hijack PvM’s thread.

Whether the bible endorses or eschews blind faith is irrelevant in light of the fact that blind faith is a modern Christian’s only option. Any evidence which could back up the assertion that Christ was a miracle worker or son of god died with him 2000 years ago, and nary a peep has be heard from him since. (Unless you believe the Mormons.) Mac Johnson is correct that searching for proof for his faith is a futile effort, although probably not for reasons to which he would admit.

Increasing numbers of political conservatives now recognize that ID is a useless and hopeless cause. If any readers here describe themselves as ‘conservative’ or ‘libertarian’ or you know persons who are, please consider spreading the word and signing on to CONSERVATIVES AGAINST INTELLIGENT DESIGN at

http://www.caidweb.org/blog/

Some notable conservatives have already signed on.

vhutchison,

I’m curious as to why ‘libertarians’ are on the list. I didn’t know there were significant numbers of libertarian ID supporters.

The discussion on the CAID web site mentions libertarians. Indeed, I know some of that political persuasion who are sympathetic to ID, including a local geologist. Of course, ALL of them do not follow the ID line!

DI Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture Senior Fellow (and YEC), Nancy Pearcey, is married to Richard, former managing editor of Human Events.

An unintentionally hilarious article by another (fired) Human Events managing editor, pulling back the Crazy Curtain: http://www.vdare.com/misc/050922_lamb_events.htm

It really is remarkable that theists and conservatives are beginning to give voice to their unease with this wholly flustercluck of NeoCreationism. I find it encouraging, satisfying and just a little amusing. But mostly satisfying. I think the writing on the wall is becoming more legible to those whose lives do not usually involve thinking hard about things.

I left the following post to Mac at Human Events, comment number two hundred umpty-ump:

I was thoroughly enjoying your column, Mac, and then you wrote, “I don’t need God to make sense. I just need God. And besides, I have Darwin and Newton and their like when I need mundane things to make sense.” Seldom have I heard such an honest and penetrating statement. My enjoyment peaked at a significantly higher level.

You give a ringing voice to the wonder of discovery and its attendant understanding. Naturally, new understanding reveals new questions and this is the great delight of thinking scientifically. Endless avenues, ever-broadening vistas; so much to look forward to!

As an atheist I proudly state that in the realm of ideas I consider you a friend. May you be widely quoted from this column. And may you always feel blessed.

Merry Christmas, Mac.

And a Merry Christmas to all you heathens out there, too!

The denial of tenure of an Iowa State University assistant professor who has studied the concept of intelligent design and has expressed his belief in it has stirred controversy about academic freedom and freedom of speech.

His tenure denial violates neither of those principles. I participated in the initial vote and voted no, based on this fundamental question: What is science?

The assistant professor, Guillermo Gonzalez, works in the ISU Physics and Astronomy Department in the area of astrobiology. He is very creative, intelligent and knowledgeable, highly productive scientifically and an excellent teacher. Students in my Newspaper Physics class like to interview him.

Hauptman on his vote against tenure, arguing that it was not intelligent design but ‘what is science’ which caused him to vote against Gonzalez.

Mac Johnson:

The Left believes, correctly, that Intelligent Design is a political loser, and so they gleefully attempt to hang it around the neck of every right-of-center movement from libertarian neo-conservatism to isolationist populism – shouting all the while “See, the American Taliban has come for your children!

Ask Ms. Comer, the former head of the TEA science curriculum about what happens when the American Taliban show up. She was on NPR and details are coming out. About what you would expect from Stalin, McCarthy, or the Taliban.

She isn’t the only victim either.

Theocracies earned their bad reputation centuries ago.

Heddle Wrote:

As it goes down the path of equating faith as it is used in the bible with “blind faith.” In other words, this is an argument that ID is bad theology because good Christians shouldn’t seek physical evidence. That is theologically incorrect. Now, if some variant of ID is wrong, then it is bad theology, because (obviously) nothing that is wrong can be good theology. However, it is not the case that it would be bad theology for that particular reason. Blind faith is not a Christian virtue, so something that is contrary to blind faith is not necessarily bad theology. After all, God tells us to look at creation (do science), not to ignore creation and accept everything on faith.

I strongly disagree with your conclusions, Heddle.

Faith is, pretty much by definition, belief despite the absence of evidence, or continued belief in the face of contrary evidence.

Proof denies faith. If one has proof of the existence of god, one does not need faith. Without faith, what is god? Therefore, the quest for conclusive physical proof of god’s existence is futile for several reasons:

(1) Such proof appears not to exist (otherwise, how come no-one has found it yet?); certainly any evidence of the biblical miracles to which you refer will no longer be around for us to examine.

(2) If such proof were to be found, it would destroy the need for faith. In what way could this possibly be good theology?

(3) The quest for proof in and of itself demonstrates the inadequacy of the faith of the questors.

(4) Since all the arguments put forth by Behe, Dembski, Wells et al. for ID have already been shown to be wrong, then, by your own words, ID is bad theology.

If a person’s faith is strong, they do not need proof. They should be able to accept the discoveries of science and continue to have faith. Those (such as YECs) who reject science are either limiting the abilities of heir god (claiming that god could not have acted through the natural forces that science has discovered) or ascribing subvertive motives to their god (the “great deceiver” argument).

Proof denies faith. If one has proof of the existence of god, one does not need faith. Without faith, what is god?

Hang on, apparently Oolon Colluphid’s lawyer is on the phone.

Nigel D,

That’s a definition of faith, but not the one that is used in the NT. As I said, the NT use is closer to trust. When we live by faith, we are to have a different behavior–namely we are to trust not only that God exists but that we should live as he describes, and to acknowledge that his ways are good. I’m not making this up, theologians have long acknowledged more complex aspects of faith than mere intellectual assent. (Short course: notitia–knowledge of the content + assensus–intellectual assent + fiducia–the passion that what what you believe is actually good.) The most common example is that the demons, as James tells us, believe–but they are not ever described as possessing faith. The have notitia and assensus, but lack fiducia.)

As for ID–well if Dembskian or Behe-ian ID is wrong,then obviously it would be bad theology too–just like insisting in a young earth or geocentrism is bad theology. However, any theist is also, at some level, a creationist, so there is some form of design, perhaps much much weaker that IDists hope, that is good theology. The point is that an ID theory in principle is not bad theology simply because it somehow detracts from faith. If it were, then the bible would warn us that creation tells us nothing about God. But the bible is anti-Gnostic–it teaches just the opposite, that creation is good, the physical realm is good, and it points to God. Exactly how, it doesn’t say.

Oops, someone pointed out to me that this publication preceded the DI’s press tour.

Nicely done. Why?

After the goof was discovered, the mistake was admitted right up front, bolded, no less.

It wasn’t ignored.

The post/comments didn’t disappear down some memory hole.

Thanks for leading by example!

(obviously) nothing that is wrong can be good theology.

I don’t profess to understand theology or the larger scheme of philosophy that it seems to arrange itself under. But my understanding is that philosophy is valued on internal coherence, not about if it fits external facts or not.

So I can (obviously) not immediately agree on the obviousness here. It seems to me blind faith would be the best theology, or in PvM’s terms, less risky.

It also eliminates a discussion whether you can have any valuable theology at all on your own terms, because you must first prove that a concept of gods or supernatural ideas in general is not wrong, which you can’t.

In general, faith in the NT should not be interpreted as belief, but as trust.

You have to stop right there. Nothing in a religious text of any sort warrants trust. And the fact that there are several different religious texts, even within one religion such as the one you mention, prevents it.

heddle:

As for ID–well if Dembskian or Behe-ian ID is wrong,then obviously it would be bad theology too–just like insisting in a young earth or geocentrism is bad theology. […]

Insisting on ID does not seem to be justified.

Insisting on young earth does not seem justified.

Insisting on geocentric view is a choice of frame of reference and it is a perfectly valid one.

Geocentric view is a valid position, but it is not favored nowadays, because heliocentric view offers a less complicated way of describing planetary motions at a conceptual level. Even then, we need to make relatively complicated calculations to find out, where the stars and planets seem to be, looking from our planet.

I do not know, what kind of theological implications there might be involved in my statement.

You may be thinking along the lines of Aquinas, which are not the worst lines I have read about theology. I am not familiar with theology, though.

Regards

Eric

Torbjörn Larsson, OM

You are quite wrong, at least as far as the NT goes. Again, the most explicit NT text is probably the book of James, which tells us with no subtlety that “belief” is not the issue, because even demons believe. If faith saves, as states the standard Christian doctrine, and faith=belief, James would not have warned us that mere belief is woefully insufficient.

You can have the last word, if you wish, ‘cause I have to run to catch a plane.

Eric you are wrong. In what other system does a center of mass revolve? Any such system would be wildly unstable. Second there is the Coriollis issue. And of course your model demands that of all the solar systems we have studied so far it would the only one out of over a hundred where a star is not more or less at the center.

JGB:

Eric you are wrong. In what other system does a center of mass revolve? Any such system would be wildly unstable. Second there is the Coriollis issue. And of course your model demands that of all the solar systems we have studied so far it would the only one out of over a hundred where a star is not more or less at the center.

I do not think that my statement about the frame of reference was wrong. It has nothing to do with the stability of a system, since we only calculate predictions based on one or more mathematical models. We try to predict what we would see in the chosen frame of reference. The system we study is the same in all the frames of reference.

Coriolis acceleration exists even if the Sun would be removed, but the Earth is spinning.

I did not understand your claim that “my model” excludes the possibility that stars tend to be in the center among planets, rather than vice versa. I was only referring to the celestial body, on which you might wish to make your observations.

It has been discussed in another thread on PT, but I do not think that the Earth is a particularly privileged planet, apart from the fact that it is special to us, since we live on it.

Regards

Eric

Father Wolf,

Then you completely missed my point. That is, if good scientific evidence contradicts our theology, then the theology must be re-examined. (Or, in the case of a universe with a definite beginning, science had to be re-examined.)Thus, in ancient times it was reasonable to accept, say, geocentrism. But later, in light of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, it is foolish to hold on to that theology–it has been shown to be bad, because no good theology can lead to a contradiction with one of God’s chosen means of revelation–creation. And the passages that allegedly supported such a view must be revisited. Are they making a scientific statement? Are they figures of speech? Are they imagined?–Did we just presume that God would naturally place us at the center?

Nigel D,

A key aspect of ID (and its predecessor, “creation science”) is the insistence that there exists physical evidence to prove the existence of god.

Well, using that definition of ID then it is in fact bad science and therefore bad theology. However, I have been arguing for years that ID is an apologetic, not science let alone a scientific proof of god’s existence. Thus, in describing God’s creation to believers, one can, I believe, point to scientific wonders, including the anthropic coincidences and the complexity of life, in order to foster an appreciation of God’s creative power. That’s my definition of ID, and obviously I think it is good theology, and counter to those who would say that science should never be used to complement faith.

Rolf Aalberg ,

It must be a language thing. That is, you must actually think that somewhere I wrote: “we should not be allowed to make scientific judgments that would contradict the Bible and Church opinions” or you don’t recognize a sarcastic “yeah” or I’m not understanding what you are saying.

That is, if good scientific evidence contradicts our theology, then the theology must be re-examined.

Or discarded. What you’re describing is a collection of texts that sometimes describes the physical world more-or-less correctly, and sometimes misses by a wide margin. From the texts alone, it’s impossible to tell them apart. Science, which can use reality as arbiter, DOES tell them apart. This leaves the theologist to return to his texts and derive some new (and usually contorted and unconvincing) interpretation to FORCE the texts to fit the reality science discovered. Or reject reality in favor of the most straightforward interpretation of erroneous texts. Neither exercise is very useful for any purpose I value. Why even bother with such texts?

Thus, in describing God’s creation to believers, one can, I believe, point to scientific wonders, including the anthropic coincidences and the complexity of life, in order to foster an appreciation of God’s creative power.

If the power of your god rests on your creativity in concocting post hoc ergo propter hoc errors, you’re in trouble. It’s not really helpful to say “Out of an infinite number of contingent possibilities, one of them was guaranteed to occur. One of them DID occur. Since the probability of that particular one is infinitesimal, god exists.” Now, you may be right, and that may be good theology. I’m not a theologist; I wasn’t aware that good theology consisted of logical errors.

I can understand how some biblical texts (and interpretations) might be useful for guiding human behavior to facilitate cooperative group living. I fail to see how unsupported biblical decrees about the natural world are useful, even if they’re correct. Because we don’t KNOW if they’re correct, unless we use a different method of vetting them.

Heddle Wrote:

Well, using that definition of ID then it is in fact bad science and therefore bad theology. However, I have been arguing for years that ID is an apologetic, not science let alone a scientific proof of god’s existence. Thus, in describing God’s creation to believers, one can, I believe, point to scientific wonders, including the anthropic coincidences and the complexity of life, in order to foster an appreciation of God’s creative power. That’s my definition of ID, and obviously I think it is good theology, and counter to those who would say that science should never be used to complement faith.

So, were you aware of this new surge of “creation science”, known by its authors as “ID”, or “Intelligent Design”?

Because, from the paragraph I quote here, it seems like you are not aware of what ID means in modern parlance. And by “modern” I mean the last 15 - 20 years, or thereabouts. ID, as vaguely alluded (because they steadfastly refuse to agree on a definition) by Behe, Dembski, Wells, Johnson and others, is a re-worded set of “creation science” arguments. It quite definitely opposes modern evolutionary theory (MET) and it would seek to replace the science with “Well, that sure looks designed to me,” (or words to that effect).

Heddle, why on earth would God allow people to draw erroneous (geocentric) conclusions in the first place? Would it really have been difficult for Genesis to read “and God made a great sphere, the Sun, and smaller spheres, the planets, of which the Earth is one, circling the Sun, and a sphere called the Moon, circling the Earth?” See, a decent summary of the actual shape of the solar system takes about two sentences and would surely not be beyond the capacity of a god capable of creating the universe.

It’s almost as if, I don’t know, Genesis was written by someone who didn’t have the faintest idea what shape the solar system is, and was just writing down a local myth.

Stephen Wells:

It’s almost as if, I don’t know, Genesis was written by someone who didn’t have the faintest idea what shape the solar system is, and was just writing down a local myth.

I like to turn it around when I pose this to YEC’ists: was God limited by human understanding when he created the Universe and then gave His people the Truth? If God used means beyond the understanding of people 3KYA, he would have had to make His people wait to give them His Truth until they could understand it. So, since we’re made in His image, He did what we do when answering questions from a three-year-old: tell them fables.

Thus, in ancient times it was reasonable to accept, say, geocentrism.

contradicts

And the passages that allegedly supported such a view must be revisited. Are they making a scientific statement? Are they figures of speech? Are they imagined?–Did we just presume that God would naturally place us at the center?

It was reasonable for the people who wrote those passages to accept the view of the world expressed in them; why then should they be “revisited”? It’s just a book, written by people who lived long ago. It would be the height of foolishness to “trust” those authors as authorities on anything at all.

it also is offensive to many because of the theological impact of its arguments

There’s lots of stuff that is offensive to many because of supposed theological impact, including evolution. I think we shoot ourselves in the foot by attending to such offense.

heddle Wrote:

Thus, in describing God’s creation to believers, one can, I believe, point to scientific wonders, including the anthropic coincidences and the complexity of life, in order to foster an appreciation of God’s creative power. That’s my definition of ID, and obviously I think it is good theology, and counter to those who would say that science should never be used to complement faith.

Cherry picking science to justify sectarian doctrines about deities is basically a bad idea. There is a lot more in the record of life on this planet that isn’t pretty (mass extinctions, disease, parasitism, cannibalism, etc.) and contradicts the public relations image that proselytizing sects want to present.

The need to look to science to justify one’s sectarian views is evidence that the sectarian picture is under strain and needs some shoring up from a more universally respected source of knowledge. It is dishonest, and it refuses to admit that thousands of years of wrangling over “theology” have produced nothing but a proliferation of sects. Attempting to make one’s sect look more respectable than all the others by tacking on some scientific window dressing is nothing more than a marketing ploy for a shoddy sectarian religion.

Mike Elzinga:

The need to look to science to justify one’s sectarian views is evidence that the sectarian picture is under strain and needs some shoring up from a more universally respected source of knowledge. It is dishonest, and it refuses to admit that thousands of years of wrangling over “theology” have produced nothing but a proliferation of sects. Attempting to make one’s sect look more respectable than all the others by tacking on some scientific window dressing is nothing more than a marketing ploy for a shoddy sectarian religion.

Conversely:
“The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Bill Gascoyne Wrote:

Conversely: “The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

:-)

I might not have chosen the word “conversely”.

Some of what is behind the ID/Creationists’ distortions of science is quite probably fear.

My thought was that this was “conversely,” as in your “religion attempting to justify itself using science” vs. Emerson’s “religion trying to denounce science,” but I see your point that either reaction could result from fear.

Bill Gascoyne:

My thought was that this was “conversely,” as in your “religion attempting to justify itself using science” vs. Emerson’s “religion trying to denounce science,” but I see your point that either reaction could result from fear.

Yeah. I liked the quote. It is about a concise as I have seen.

H. Humbert,

You said, “Except Johnson tries to blame the fact that religious conservatives are predominately creationists as nothing more than a false perception perpetrated by liberals:”

Sir, I have this advice for you; never mistake volume for volume. [pun deliberate]

You are quite wrong, at least as far as the NT goes.

No, it is easy to find conflicting claims in there - I won’t bother with links as descriptions are so easily found on the web, unless asked to.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 7, 2007 10:57 AM.

Slackjawed creationist surprised at his own incompetence at a scientific job was the previous entry in this blog.

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