Sunday, January 09, 2011

Is Intelligent Design A Duplicitous Ruse?

Picture of William Albert Dembski taken at lec...                                          Image via Wikipedia
Is intelligent design a duplicitous ruse to get religion into science and schools as Jerry Coyne believes?
“Far from a respectable scientific alternative to evolution, it is a clever attempt to sneak religion, cloaked in the guise of science, into the public schools.” -- Jerry Coyne, here.
Not according to William Dembski:
Intelligent design is a modest position theologically and philosophically. It attributes the complexity and diversity of life to intelligence, but does not identify that intelligence with the God of any religious faith or philosophical system....
Even so, there is an immediate payoff to intelligent design: it destroys the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. This gives intelligent design incredible traction as a tool for apologetics, opening up the God-question to individuals who think that science has buried God." -- William Dembski, 2005, here.
Intelligent design asserts design but stops short of speculating about the nature or identity of the intelligent designer. It does so because it is a scientific construct. It is a disciplined theory which stops where the empirical evidence ends.

Unlike darwinism, which endlessly asserts there can be no God because God "would not have designed it this way":
Would an intelligent designer create millions of species and then make them go extinct, only to replace them with other species, repeating this process over and over again?” If so, the intelligent designer must be “a cosmic prankster".  -- Jerry Coyne, here.
This philosophical/theological strain began with Darwin, and continues to the present day.

However, going beyond the science, philosophically and theologically there is little common sense doubt whose imprint marks of design in nature would point to, as Dembski acknowledges in his second paragraph.

So, is ID duplicitous?

No. It is honest and disciplined in what it asserts.

It's unclear the same can be said about darwinism.
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Joe said...

If ID is an attempt to re-insert God then Darwinism is an attempt to remove God.

Personally I like to have more options on the table rather than exclude what I don't know because I don't know.

Ruling out ID smacks of religious intolerance. The Darwinian Religion excludes all other religions kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Can you guess who said the following:
“Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory. ”?

It was none other than Billy Dembski, who later claimed that "Intelligent design . . . does not identify that intelligence with the God of any religious faith or philosophical system...."

Joe said...

Anony just where did Billy misspeak? The theology of John's Logos predates John and is found in ancient Greek thinking. So far as I know the Greeks predating Jesus did not worship Yahweh as God.

Likewise in order to have an information based universe a Johanian Logos is required. If things are intelligently designed, as is apparent to any impartial observer, then obviously something like John's Logos must have been involved in the design. Its not like you or I could have done it.

Anonymous said...

How sad for you that, in order to maintain the fiction that ID is not a rebranding of religious creationism, you have to go to the extreme of excising the Gospel of John from Christianity.
Of course, even if Dembski were advocating for a Greek theology that is not a part of Christian theology, ID would still be a theological position and not a scientific position.  Attributing a different theology to Dembski doesn’t really help your argument.
But just for fun, let’s take a look at some other things that Dembski has said.  Let’s see if Dembski has been advocating for a Greek theology and not a Christian theology.
Well, there’s this: 
"If we take seriously the word-flesh Christology of Chalcedon (i.e. the doctrine that Christ is fully human and fully divine) and view Christ as the telos toward which God is drawing the whole of creation, then any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient."
And this:
"My thesis is that all disciplines find their completion in Christ and cannot be properly understood apart from Christ. "

Joe said...

Well annon if you want to simply bash people and their beliefs have at it. Fill you boots. Don't yell whoa in the mud hole. When your at the bottom of a deep pit just keep right on a diggen.

If you noticed the snippet of Dembski you quoted I pointed out as being factual. The idea of Logos did not originate with John. That doesn't mean John was wrong nor does it mean that I want to remove John as a source. Rather as an impartial observer of which you obviously are not the Logos concept as expressed by the ancient Greeks and St John are very similar. If you asked me I would speculate that the Greeks reached their Logos conclusion based on logic. Things are designed therefore there is a designer. Since the design is extremely intricate the designer must be much greater than we. After all we have yet to create anything that is self replicating, self maintaining, let alone an entire system of such beings that recycles all its own raw material.

Although I don't know how John came to the same conclusion it is widely supposed that he received it through revelation. I know I know you are likely too small minded to recognize revelation but ask any creative individual where his source is and he will tell you.

As for the rest of your screed... Who Cares?!?!

Anonymous said...

"Although I don't know how John came to the same conclusion it is widely supposed that he received it through revelation."

Ah, divine revelation! The hallmark of the scientific method.

RkBall said...

Sorry to enter this late. I'm in Africa and it took me8 hours to access these comments.

Concerning ID, ID as a human formulation, can be refined and reformulated. As science, it stops at the positing of intelligence as the source of the "overwhelming appearance" of design in biological systems and the cosmos.

As philosophy, it may consider the source of the intelligence in theistic terms.

And, as theology, it may discuss the consonance between this designing intelligence inferable from science and the designing intelligence portrayed in Scripture.

As for Logos, the Logos predates John. The Logos predates revelation. In the beginning was the Logos. Since it is such a rich word, it may be translated variously as Word, or Reason, or Rationality, or Mind. What they all share in common is intentionality as opposed to chaotic, purposeless randomness.

So, choose your God.

RkBall said...

Anon -- if you could provide a "handle" with your comments, i.e., a name of some kind, that would be appreciated -- to sort you out from all the other anons out there!

Joe said...

So annon if I "go to the extreme of excising the Gospel of John from Christianity" I lose.

If I mention his discovery as "Ah, divine revelation! The hallmark of the scientific method." I lose.

I do believe I am dealing with a closed minded, religious zealot whose faith in the Darwinian model is unshakable. Religious zealots like you are not open to discussion or reason. Pity really. I bet you even think you are enlightened!

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"