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...

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