Wednesday, 7 September 2005

What does Intelligent Design achieve?

Lately I have been posting a few remarks on Intelligent Design (ID), since I have been disturbed by the recent push to have ID taught in our schools alongside evolutionary theory. Tim Hormon posted a comment here a few days ago, and it’s so perceptive that I asked him if I could reproduce some of his comment in this post (in abridged form). Like me, Tim is objecting to ID not on scientific grounds, but on theological grounds. Here’s what he says:

What, ultimately, does the “Intelligent Design” theory achieve? At best, all it does is point (arguably) to the existence of a distant creative power, who could be either the God of the Bible, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Buddha, or Allah, or a nameless mystical force that permeates and unites all things. Who or what “the intelligent designer” is cannot be answered by ID (I wonder what would Freud say about that acronym?).

What, then, will ID achieve? Intelligent Design does not lead us any closer to a god who is involved in the affairs of the world; [if ID is taught in schools] all we will do (at best) is raise deists in our schools.

In other words, ID cannot achieve what many are hoping it will, and it doesn’t let us out of the “trap” that many of its advocates believe science has “put” god into. In ID god is still the handmaiden of science, science remains the rule against which we must argue. By this I mean that science remains the battleground; science will set the agenda; ID will always be on the defensive, always in a situation of point-counter-point. I can see this going nowhere fast...

5 Comments:

Ben Myers said...

"ID (I wonder what would Freud say about that acronym?)" -- not to mention what Feuerbach might have said....

tim said...

Particularly in the light of such statements as, "What man calls Absolute Being, his God, is his own being." (Essence of Christianity)

Ken said...

I'm not necessarily an advocate of ID and especially not of any particular curriculum but I will be a devil's advocate on the more general issues.

If you start from the a priori assumption of a creator rather than an agnostic or even atheistic worldview, you are often going to ask completely different questions and/or interpret the evidence in considerably different ways, without even bringing God into any actual explanation or experiment. In other words, the question seems to me about science conducted as science within a worldview that allows for a god and conducting science as science within a worldview that doesn't. Now, I know that ID in some corners is considered a handmaiden of creation-science and in this case I think it is misguided. But, if it is merely attempting to acknowledge that science as science within a worldview that acknowledges the existence of a creator is possible and useful then I really don't see the problem and actually would support this.

Lyn said...

I know we've moved on to other topics, but came across another jab at Kansas at the Onion (a site known for its sarcasm)...
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512

My feeling is still that faith is being mocked by the Flying Spg Mnstr, Intlgnt Falling, etc. We can poke fun at ourselves... but it definitely hurts when others do it. Maybe deserved, but I know it's not meant positively.

lgp

Ken said...

I'm not necessarily an advocate of ID and especially not of any particular curriculum but I will be a devil's advocate on the more general issues.

If you start from the a priori assumption of a creator rather than an agnostic or even atheistic worldview, you are often going to ask completely different questions and/or interpret the evidence in considerably different ways, without even bringing God into any actual explanation or experiment. In other words, the question seems to me about science conducted as science within a worldview that allows for a god and conducting science as science within a worldview that doesn't. Now, I know that ID in some corners is considered a handmaiden of creation-science and in this case I think it is misguided. But, if it is merely attempting to acknowledge that science as science within a worldview that acknowledges the existence of a creator is possible and useful then I really don't see the problem and actually would support this.

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