Friday, January 05, 2007


Past Blast

I recently picked up a (used) copy of The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer, an early (1994) attempt at Intelligent Design advocacy. It doesn't seem like they had gotten their act together yet. Chock-a-block with such Discovery Institute stalwarts as Phillip Johnson, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski and the editor, J.P Moreland, the stage is shared with more traditional creationists, such as the old-Earth creationist Hugh Ross, young-Earther Kurt Wise and even televangelist John Ankerberg. The IDers clearly had not yet developed their best protective coloring.
In his Introduction, Moreland starts off by noting that science has affected what people believe, how they see the world and how they go about seeking knowledge. He proposes that:

If Christians are going to develop and propagate an integrated worldview, they must work together to integrate their theological beliefs and the assertions of science that seem reasonable. [Emphasis added] (p. 11)
He then (p.11-12) outlines six views of "science-theology integration" (here somewhat interpreted):

1. Science and theology deal with distinct realms of reality;
2. Science and theology are noninteracting, complementary approaches to the same reality [similar to Stephen Jay Gould's Non-overlaping Magisteria];
3. Science generates a metaphysic in which theology is then formulated;
4. Theology provides a context for the justification of the philosophical presuppositions of science;
5. Science fills out details of theological principle and vice versa;
6. Science and theology are interacting approaches to the same reality that can be in conflict or in concord.
Moreland goes on to state (p. 12):

Currently most intellectuals who focus on these issues reject position 6 and embrace the popular, but in our view mistaken, notion that theological beliefs -- such as the notion of a direct, miraculous act of God -- should play no role within the scientific enterprise. [Emphasis added]
Moreland continues (p. 12-13):

This book is an attempt to defend, use and illustrate position 6 ... We will develop position 6 by defining and defending what we will call theistic science, and will focus our attention on issues in the creation-evolution controversy. [Emphasis in original]
... [T]o explain it briefly, theistic science is rooted in the idea that Christians ought to consult all they know or have reason to believe in forming and testing hypotheses, explaining things in science and evaluating the plausibility of various scientific hypotheses, and among the things they should consult are propositions of theology (and philosophy). ...
In short, science should not be an empiric enterprise but should only be read through the colored lenses of religious belief. There will be much tap dancing in the rest of the book about how that is not a violation of science but actually constitutes True Scienceā„¢. At least they had an honest name for it back then. If the ID advocates had only held to this line, they would have made it easier to get ID into public schools ... in the place it belongs: comparative religion and philosophy classes.

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