Thursday, February 26, 2009


First Light

Hugh Ross, an astronomer and old-Earth creationist, seems to be moving further away from the Intelligent Design Movement. In the past he has described himself as "a Discovery Institute ally," though he has chided IDers to stop "attempt[ing] to walk a middle ground between evolution and creationism," which results, he says, in that "you make theology weak and you make science weak."

Now, in an article in the Christian Examiner he has a rather harsher assessment:

Perhaps you've already observed that "evolution bashing" tends to backfire. Claims that creation or intelligent design must be right because of flaws and shortcomings in the evolution scenario typically go nowhere, and for good reason. Scientists freely acknowledge that no theory comes forth perfect and complete. The investigation of flaws and weaknesses is the process that propels science forward toward more precise understandings of the natural world.

What's more, researchers and theoreticians interpret such complaints as a smoke screen, an attempt to cover up a lack of tangible, valid evidence for creation or, equally bad, an attempt to shield the biblical creation scenario from any meaningful evaluation and critique.

To gain a voice in the public arena, we cannot and need not stay "religiously neutral." We cannot ask for recognition of an unidentified intelligent designer who played an undefined role in bringing about the observable history of life on Earth. This lack of definition will prevent us from being taken seriously as scientists.
It's nice to see a creationist decry the "teach the weaknesses" ploy that is the latest refuge of the scoundrels at the DI. Of course, it is pretty hard to take Ross seriously as a scientist either, with stuff like this:

General relativity theory, which gave rise to the big bang, stipulates that the universe had a beginning and specifically a "transcendent" beginning. The space-time theorem of general relativity states that matter, energy, and all the space-time dimensions associated with the universe began in finite time, and that the Cause of the universe brings all the matter, energy, and space-time dimensions of the universe into existence from a reality beyond matter, energy, space, and time. The extreme fine-tuning of the big bang parameters that are necessary for physical life to be possible in the universe exceeds by many orders of magnitude the design capabilities of human beings. The worldview significance of these conclusions cannot be avoided. No philosophical system or religious doctrines in the world fits them as does the Bible. It not only fits them, it anticipates them by several thousand years.
Naturally, "the worldview significance" of the Big Bang rather strongly depends on the worldview you bring to the table:

Properly understood, God's Word (Scripture) and God's world (nature), as two revelations (one verbal, one physical) from the same God, will never contradict each other.
In other words, nothing can constitute a critical test of the truth or falsity of his creationism because any apparent contradiction is simply a bad interpretation of the evidence or of the Bible or both. Thus, the mere fact that some ancient text can be, in one way or another, interpreted to comport with modern science can hardly be taken as scientific evidence for the truth of the text. After all, without the presupposition that the Bible is right, the interpretation that makes it appear compatible with science could just as easily be wrong as the one that leaves them incompatible, and there is no way to empirically test which is the right way to look at it.

While I'll welcome any breakup of "the big tent," this is just a case of pot, kettle, black.

"The extreme fine-tuning of the big bang parameters that are necessary for physical life to be possible in the universe exceeds by many orders of magnitude the design capabilities of human beings."

In other words, the "fine tuning" is totally unlike anything that we know of that can be designed - therefore it is designed.

Tom S.
Yup. Just another version of Dembski's non sequitur.
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