Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Science and the Question of God: Creationism, Evolutionism, and Intelligent Design

Cover of "The Edge of Evolution: The Sear...             Cover via Amazon
God’s creative action and sustenance of all things includes not only the mechanistic characteristics of Newton’s laws and the probabilistic ones of quantum mechanics, but also of evolutionary processes. God can choose his creative path as he wishes and he may do so either in ways we cannot comprehend or in ways that are systematic and subject to our comprehension. -- Randy Isaac, "Science and the Question of God" BioLogos
Nice quote, Dr. Isaac.

Randy Isaac discusses three categories, Creationism, Evolutionism, and Intelligent Design. He explains the reasons why he is not persuaded by the arguments from Intelligent Design.
Furthermore, [Stephen Meyer] has not convincingly ruled out evolutionary causes. Evolutionary processes can easily be observed to increase, decrease, or modify DNA and epigenetic information in living cells. This occurs in different ways in the development of every organism, in the reproduction process of every species, and in specific biological processes such as antibody formation (Story, 2009) (Isaac, 2010).
Yes, but --

He misses the point.  Demonstrating evolutionary causes does not invalidate intelligent design. Let me repeat that . Demonstrating evolutionary causes does not rule out intelligent design. Rather, intelligent design, if validated, demonstrates the explanatory inadequacy of darwinian mechanisms. Behe, for example, has argued for the limits of the darwinian mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection.

Isaac treats ID and evolutionary causes as an either/or propositions. This is a misunderstanding of ID. As indicated in a previous post covering the thoughts of William Dembski, proponents of Intelligent Design claim that the earmarks of design are scientifically detectible and point to an intelligent cause, but they do not necessarily indicate where, when, or how the intelligence caused the design. Dembski specifically said that it could be via a seamless evolutionary process that would achieve the intended design results.

So, the fact that Isaac says evolutionary processes can be observed to "increase, decrease, or modify DNA and epigenetic information" does not negate the intelligent design argument. It seems to be an argument against an active interventionist view of ID, the view that at a specific point in time, or at specific points in time, an intelligent agent intervened in otherwise natural processes to create life or inject information (or whatever) into molecules. While this is a popular view of ID, and a possible or even likely scenario, it does not constitute the essence of the ID argument, and thus constitutes a straw-man.

You'll find lots of dissent in the posts below.
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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"