Friday, September 15, 2006

"Is Intelligent Design Biblical?"

Denis Alexander writes a provocative paper entitled "Is Intelligent Design Biblical?" in which he argues (quite persuasively in my mind) that it is not. In it, he notes some peculiarities about the current movement:

For whereas traditional design arguments perceive the whole universe to be created by God, ID proponents argue that certain components of the world around us are designed whereas others are not. [William] Dembski suggests that the universe may be likened to an oil painting. Some parts of the painting result from 'natural causes' whereas other parts are due to 'design'.

As he correctly points out:

One of the striking characteristics of the Biblical doctrine of creation is that God is described as the author of the whole created order without exception, both in its origins and in its on-going sustaining...The Bible therefore has no concept of 'nature' for the simple reason that the term is redundant.

He suggests that there are four ways in which ID is unscientific. 1. It proposes a split creation, 2. It uses "God of the Gaps" arguments." 3. It proposes that the designer not necessarily be the God of the Bible or that there even be a God at all. 4. It suggests that organisms that are responsible for great suffering in humans (the bacterial flagellum for example) are intelligently designed, making God out to be cruel.

I am not sure I agree with the last one but that likely stems from my belief that God has created a self-sustaining universe in which all parts are necessary. He is exactly right about the "God of the Gaps" argument. Kenneth Miller points that out in Finding Darwin's God. For me, that is a fatal flaw. Read the whole thing.

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