Thursday, February 22, 2007
Worrying the bone of Phillip Johnson's article, "Intelligent Design in Biology: the Current Situation and Future Prospects," a bit more, I wonder why the ID crowd is so contemptuous of theology. After all, after much whining about how mean scientists are not to welcome Johnson's unevidenced speculations about a "creator" into science, he says:
The goal of the Intelligent Design Movement is to achieve an open philosophy of science that permits consideration of any explanations toward which the evidence may be pointing. This is different from the current restrictive philosophy that rules out of consideration the possibility that a creator may be responsible for our existence ...
One of the strengths of science is that it does not require that scientists be unbiased, only that different scientists have different biases.
In point of fact, Johnson and the whole movement suffers from "science envy" and the niggling suspicion that, in direct competition with the clarity and power of science, their beliefs are so weak as to be unable to compete. That's why William Dembski has to admit that the science that Johnson and he (falsely) equate with "materialism" "rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option." It doesn't, of course, as Christians such as Ken Miller, Francis Collins and John Paul II, among many others, amply demonstrate. That's another of Johnson's logical fallacies: a false dichotomy. If it is true at all that science rules out "Christianity," it is only because they are speaking of a particularly narrow and fragile version.
So they do what any childhood bully does and try to change the rules so they can win (or, in this case, at least pretend they have a seat at the same table as science).
The question is, if their beliefs are so sickly and easily defeated, why do they bother?
To the contrary, I'm afraid. Their beliefs are very strong, but it is theology that is weak. They "know" that there must be something more to support their strong beliefs than the emptiness vacuity poofiness of theology. "Science envy", yes. But weak beliefs, no. If they had weak beliefs then they wouldn't be going out of their ways to make complete goofballs out of themselves, now would they. I don't see why you guys keep saying they have weak faith. "Nya nya, your faith is weaker than the good guys' faith, nya nya." (Shrug.)
As to defectors, I tend to doubt it. It is easier to turn one's mind off than to turn it on.
Phillip Johnson: a man of weak faith. Charles Darwin: a man of strong faith. Okay, but I don't see how anybody can be a mindreader about how much religious faith somebody has. Seems to me it's like one of those "nya nya" things.
Look at it this way: what God, who wants to save mankind, in their right mind would want to remain undetectable by science? That's just common sense. And that, to me, is how the ID people look at it too. And who can blame them for that.
And, yes, I think Darwin's faith was stronger in some ways than Johnson's is. At least, it wasn't science that killed it (although that caused him to modify his beliefs), it was the death of his daughter that turned him away from the faith he grew up in (though not, to my mind, to lesser beliefs).
As to what God might want, you either have to accept that you don't know how such a being thinks or you have to face the problem of evil, that nobody has solved in the context of a God who is comprehensible to humans. Theodicy is no friend of IDers.
Okay, then I will go and see what they themselves say about how much faith they have. And I will check to see if there is anything that would cause Phillip Johnson to modify his beliefs or if there have been any bad things that have happened to people he loved that would cause Phillip Johnson turn away from his faith, as that might indicate that his faith is as strong as Darwin's. Thank you.
Thanks, but I don't think they think they have to change science to keep their faith. I don't think anybody else thinks that either, but it is a clever rhetorical device though. (I guess.) Okay, I'm done beating the horse now!
Neither do I. Their insistence nonetheless on saying they have to while making the attempt is what I see as the telling point.
But cessation of the bludgeoning of moribund Equidae is noted.