Monday, January 30, 2006

Since you ask ...

... I will try to answer.
Bonnie Calhoun, commenting on my post yesterday about why I do not subscribe to intelligent design theory, asks: "If you believe God made everything, how can you not believe in intelligent design?"
Well, first, I think it's important to note that its theorists do not advance ID as an argument for the existence of God. Theoretically, the designer could be super-intelligent aliens from a far galaxy who visited Earth eons ago.
More to the point, though, is the leap in logic that ID proposes. To demonstrate that a given biological entity -- whether cell, flagellum, or eye -- could not come to be incrementally, as posited by Darwin, is one thing. To say that said entity must therefore have been intelligently designed is another. Perhaps there is another, perfectly natural explanation besides the Darwinian one that would work better. In other words, it seems to me something of a stretch to say that the only two possibilities are natural selection and intelligent design.
Atheist Richard Dawkins and theist Michael Behe both believe that biology, in Dawkins's words, is "the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." Only Dawkins thinks the appearance is deceiving. On the face of it, I think Behe has the edge here, since Dawkins is left having to prove a negative, well-known as a fool's errand. Moreover, appearance counts for a lot. Nothing real doesn't in some way appear to be and every appearance is to some extent real. And indeed, both Dawkins and Behe should be engaged in the study of those complicated things, rather than debating their ontology.
But I digress. The reason I do not subscribe to ID theory is simply that I find it logically flawed.
I also think that the notion of God implicit in ID is inadequate. Hence, my quip about the Everlasting Edison. I think that God has more in common with poets and composers than with engineers and mechanics. Moreover, God did not create the world so many billions of years ago. He is creating it right now. His act of creation is an eternal act. Finally, the Living God that I and millions more believe in is not a grand abstract idea or the conclusion of a syllogism. He is a Presence. As the Psalmist put it, "O taste and see how the good the Lord is."


  1. Hmmm, very interesting. but I guess this could turn into a long discussion....

    I would only say that the Bible declares that God made the heavens and the earth. Whether it took him six days or sixty billion years, there's room for debate there, too.

    One thing that I am sure of, whenever we as humans 'think' we always get in trouble...LOL

    God bless you, my friend!

  2. Hi Bonnie,
    On the way home, after writing that post, it occurred to me that what I could said in a nswer to your question was this: I believe it is true that God made all that is visible and invisible, but that ID theory doesn't, purely as a theory, work to prove that. In other words, something may be true, but a particular argument in its support may just not work.
    I would add, by the way, that it's a good idea for us humans to remind ourselves from time to time that life and the world are much, much bigger than our minds and we're never going to figure everything out. A little humility, please.

  3. Now that answer, I like!