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Friday, December 29, 2006

Intelligent Design's "vise strategy": ID is religious

William Dembski, by all accounts one of the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement, proposed a "vise strategy." By this, he meant that he wanted "Darwinists" to be cross-examined in court, so that flaws in their science could be exposed.

If there are scientific flaws in evolutionary theories of origins, they should, indeed, be exposed, in court, in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in scientific journals. There is a huge flaw in naturalistic theories of origins, namely that it is not possible to rule out supernatural activity scientifically -- scientists cannot rule out God. There have been mistakes made in science, lots of them. There are, no doubt, mistakes in textbooks, and in the thinking of individual scientists, and of mainstream scientific thinking. They should be exposed, and, if such exposure must be in court, so be it.

Unfortunately for Dembski, court cross-examination (and simple examination of the record, including public statements by Dembski and other leaders of the Intelligent Design movement) has shown something else, namely that Intelligent Design, which claims to be a scientific theory, and, supposedly, does not even specify a particular Being as Creator, is, at its heart, a Christian theory. This has been documented thoroughly by Barbara Forrest.

I am guessing that Forrest is an atheist. I certainly disagree with her on that, if it's true. I strongly disagree with anyone who says that scientific study has ruled out Divine action in origins. (As far as I know, Forrest has not done this.) But I agree that the idea of intelligent design is not a scientific theory, but fundamentally a religious idea. There has been some controversy in my home state of South Carolina, over the teaching of ID in the public schools. There is no question that some of the proponents of this idea were pushing it for religious reasons. It is also true that some of the people who want ID taught in the public schools are really wanting young-earth creationism taught, which is strange, because the two are definitely not the same.

I also agree with Forrest that, whatever the merits and demerits of ID, it does not justify lying on the part of some of its proponents. Christians, or supposed Christians, may have done this, in South Carolina, and other places. The most common deceit is to claim that ID is not religious, when it is. I would guess that most of the supporters of ID are ignorant on this score, or haven't thought about the matter seriously. They just want the creative activity of God acknowledged in the public schools, or they want their favorite interpretation of the origins portion of Genesis acknowledged in the public schools.

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I mistakenly published this, instead of saving it as a draft, on December 22nd, 2006. During the 3 hours that it was temporarily available, elbogz commented. I didn't realize that Blogger would keep his comment, so posted it below, as part of my post, when I first put this on-line for real. That was not necessary, it turns out.

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

elbogz said...

I sometimes wonder sometimes if I comment too much on the intelligent design debate. Perhaps my time would be better spent reading Proverbs 26:11.

The one debate that has yet to be made about intelligent design is that it is not biblical, nor is it Christian. How small their God must be, if someone by the name of Charles Darwin can destroy His teachings. How small their God must be if they need someone like the Discovery institute needs to defend His reputation. I’m pretty sure, God can defend His own reputation, if need be.

The bible does not teach that God sat around and thought up a design, sketched it out on the back of a Denny’s napkin and then created the Heavens and the Earth. It says God spoke the universe into creation. Designing is something that man would do. But God is God. God is omnipotent; God’s ways are not man’s ways. Perhaps creation of the heavens and the earth to God was on par with us blinking our eyes. Not a task we would sit down and think about and create a design.

How small the ID’s God must be, if He can only create the heavens and the earth using the tools of man.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, elbogz!