Thursday, April 27, 2006


Tentless in Seattle

The Discovery Institute has responded to the Seattle Times article that I previously posted on. Once again, it is whining that nobody understands ID when, in fact, more and more people understand it all too well, ever since Judge Jones explored it so thoroughly. Robert Crowther claims that ID is not an argument from ignorance but he nonetheless cites to an article, "Not by chance: From bacterial propulsion systems to human DNA, evidence of intelligent design is everywhere," by Stephen C. Meyer, that claims:

1) "Either life arose as the result of purely undirected material processes or a guiding intelligence played a role."
2) There is an "appearance of design."
3) This appearance is "unexplained by the mechanism -- natural selection -- that Darwin specifically proposed to replace the design hypothesis."

In other words, the Discovery Institute, while brazenly denying it is doing it, cites to an article that makes just such an argument from ignorance, set on top of what Judge Jones rightly called a "contrived dualism." The rest of the "substantive" claims of the article are, hard as it may be to believe, equally disingenuous.

As to the unraveling of the "big tent," Crowther tries to downplay the criticism of ID by implying it is limited to people "such as Rush Limbaugh" and by simply denying that ID advocates are trying to sneak their religion into public schools. The problem for the ID advocates is that they can't maintain this pretense against criticism from within the big tent they have tried to erect. Take, for instance, William Dembski's attempt to blunt ID's differences with traditional creationists in his article, "Intelligent Design's Contribution To the Debate Over Evolution: A Reply To Henry Morris":

Despite my disagreements with Morris and young earth creationism, I regard those disagreements as far less serious than my disagreements with the Darwinian materialists. If you will, young earth creationism is at worst off by a few orders of magnitude in misestimating the age of the earth. On the other hand, Darwinism, in ascribing powers of intelligence to blind material forces, is off by infinite orders of magnitude. ...

ID is part of God's general revelation. Consequently, it can be understood apart from the Bible. That's why, for instance, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies invited me to lecture on intelligent design and warmly embraced my message (this happened in October 2003). Just about anyone who is not wedded to a pure materialism agrees that some sort of design or purpose underlies nature. Intelligent design not only gives a voice to these people, but also gives them the tools to dismantle materialism.

Dismantling materialism is a good thing. Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I've found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.

It doesn't even take reading between the lines to know what ID's real concern is.

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