Home


Updated: 10/6/14

Header for page



Topics


About Science & Faith
Apologetics Archaeology & Anthropology Astronomy & Cosmology
Bible & Science
College Teaching & Research
Creation & Evolution
Education Environment
Ethics
Historical Studies
Mathematics
Origin of Life
Philosophy
Physical Science
Psychology & Neuroscience
Science &
Technology Ministry
Worldview
Whole-Person Education
Youth Page

Publications

JASA/PSCF
Articles
Book Reviews

 

ASA/CSCA Newsletter


New Books

______________________


ID
The claims that intelligent design theories are not legitimately scientific and that such theories can carry no genuinely scientific content represent conventional anti-design wisdom.

 However, actual supports for such claims come to remarkably little and tend to implode under scrutiny. Furthermore, demands confronting design theories are often arbitrarily restricted to the realm of direct empirical consequences. The precise surface-level empirical upshot of design theories is, I think, still relatively minimal. But the directly empirical level does not exhaust the substance of science, and design theories may bring to science deeper cognitive richness, broader conceptual resources, and more substantive anchors than a purely (methodologically)
naturalistic science can achieve.

--Del Ratszch

Apologetics

One last word. I have found that nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of that faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as the one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate. For a moment, you see, it has seemed to rest on oneself: as a result when you go away from the debate, it seems no stronger than that weak pillar.

 That is why we apologists take our lives in our hands and can be saved only by falling back continually from the web of our own arguments, as from our intellectual counters, into the reality--from Christian apologetics into Christ Himself. That also is why we need one another’s continual help--oremus pro invicem. (Let us pray for each other.)

C. S. Lewis-1945

|General Papers| Intelligent Design | Introduction | Relevant Scripture |
|Videos | Vocabulary
|


Christian Apologetics and Science

 

 Today we find a resurgence of publically proclaimed  science related atheism - books, blogs, articles, lectures, videos, interviews, and debates from  Richard Dawkins, Sidney Harris, George Coyn, P. Z. Meyers, and many others. Their messages are mixed, ranging from mild admonitions that religion should be kept separate from science in public education and the lab to arguing that science has made religion obsolete and that scientists of faith are suspect if not dangerous when they bring their beliefs into the lab. Christian response has varied both in tone and direction.

Christians in science have long recognized the challenges to faith found in scientific culture. Each has had to forge his or her path. The reasons for today's upsurge in public atheism are complex, stemming from a variety of social factors that include opposition to very public moves by some Christians to reinstate religion in public schools and by others who argue that religion has a place in the practice of  science. This page seeks to help meet the challenge of atheism and evaluate the claims that the supernatural should be part of  scientific method.

We will examine more formal claims by Christian and non-Christian but also remind the reader of the telling place of a Christian's morality in the scientific enterprise - lab, classroom, or corporate office.

 

Introduction

 

Apologetics is derived from the Greek word apologia, which means "to make a defense." Christians have adopted this term to mean the defending of the rationality of the Christian faith. This defense usually revolves around philosophical arguments although science, history, archeology, psychology, sociology and other fields of study may also be involved. Apologetics serves two purposes: (1) to defend areas where Christians' beliefs are challenged and (2) to give positive reasons for accepting Christianity.

Apologetics,
in the sense of a rational vindication of the Christian religion, is hardly a positive term. Some scholars prefer to use "Christian Evidences", the "Defense of the Faith," or "Contending for the Christian Religion."

 

ISchoolofAthans.jpgn this page we will consider arguments framed from the natural world and our scientific understanding of natural phenomena. Scientific findings and scientific theory are a two-edged sword - on one hand used to support Christianity, on another to discredit it.

We will focus on the cosmological argument (arguments for the existence of God as the First Cause) and the design or teleological argument (arguments for the existence of a cosmic designer and creator). These arguments have been popular with both believers and non-believers from the time of Plato.

The result has been a large literature expressing a wide diversity of views on the nature and validity of the evidence offered. In the last two decades well funded organizations have aggressively sought to include design based anti-naturalistic materials in US public school science curricula. One result of these well-publicized events has been to build walls between a segment of American Christendom and the main-stream scientific community. The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) supports efforts to develop dialogue rather than confrontation.

 

Thomas AquinasThe rise of modern science in the 17th century was accompanied by serious concerns about the effect that the new mechanisms of nature would have on Christianity. As most of the participants were 'men' of faith (often clerics), there was intense debate over God's role in nature and the kind of God that apologists offered.

St. Thomas Aquinas.

 

Was God only a craftsman-architect? What about the biblical revelation? How was the new understanding of nature to be interpreted? Where does science find its limits? What kind of natural theology has survived? Can natural theology be used to support deism as well as theism? These concerns continue to this day.

We offer a diversity of articles from the pages of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF) and other sources and an assessment of 
Intelligent Design movement which emerged in the 1980's as the kingpin of an effort to counter Darwinian evolution.

A Working Vocabulary

Anthropic Principles: A certain set of values of initial conditions and physical constants of a universe are fine-tuned for intelligent life if and only if (a) each of the values of the initial conditions and physical constants in this set is a physically necessary condition for intelligent life, (b) the values in this set are jointly sufficient for ('give rise to') intelligent life, and (c) there is only an extremely small range of all physically possible values of the initial conditions and physical constants that meet conditions (a) and (b). If any value meets these three conditions, it is an anthropic coincidence (Nick Bostrom, 1992).

 

Atheism: The denial of the existence of God - any god.

 

Agnosticism: The view that the truth of claims like the existence of gods is unknown or unknowable. Word from Greek a, meaning without, and gnosis, meaning knowledge. Noted agnostics include Francis Crick, David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Warren Buffett.
 

Deism: The belief, based solely on reason, in a god who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation. The belief that god has created the universe but remains apart from it and permits his creation to administer itself through natural laws. Deism thus rejects the supernatural aspects of religion, such as belief in revelation in the Bible, and stresses the importance of ethical conduct. In the eighteenth century, numerous important thinkers held deist beliefs (including many of America's founding fathers).


Theism:

1.

the belief in one god as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism).

.
2.

belief in the existence of a god or gods ( opposed to atheism).

Design:

 

"When we come to inspect the watch, we perceive. . . that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, or placed after any other manner or in any other order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it. . . . the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker - that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use . . . living organisms are even more complicated than watches, in a degree which exceeds all computation . . . how else to account for the often amazing adaptations of animals and plants? . . . only an intelligent Designer could have created them, just as only an intelligent watchmaker can make a watch." (William Paley, 1802).       Portrait of Wm. Paley

 

Naturalism: (1) In general, the philosophical belief that what is studied by the non-human and human sciences is all there is, and the denial of the need for any explanation going beyond or outside the Universe. All such naturalists since Darwin insist especially upon the evolution, without supernatural intervention, of higher forms of life from lower and of these in turn ultimately from non-living matter. (2) (in philosophical ethics) Particularly since G. E. Moore, the view held by those who, taking the naturalistic fallacy to be not really a fallacy, insist that value words are definable in terms of neutral statements of fact - not excluding even statements of putative theological fact. Earlier, and surely better, usage allowed any secular and this-worldly accounts of value to score as naturalistic; including those - for instance in Hume - which expose and eschew that fallacy (A. Flew, 1979).

Natural Theology (Physico-theology): Those beliefs that can be established by reason without divine revelation; the attempt to demonstrate the existence and activity of God from the phenomena of nature.

 

Teleology: The study of design or purpose in natural phenomena; the use of ultimate purpose or design as a means of explaining natural phenomena; purposeful development, as in nature, toward a final end. A term applied to any system attempting to explain a series of events in terms of ends, goals, or purposes. It is opposed to mechanism, which holds that all events are explained by mechanical principles of causation. The teleological proof of the existence of God argues that since there is design (intelligent design) in the world, there must be a designer - God. 

Two forms: (1) Natural (or internal) teleology - teleological features attributable to some natural phenomenon, and (2) Artificial (or external) teleology - teleological features attributable to purposeful action consciously carried out by an agent (F. Ayala, 1998).

The faith that underpins science

MoonFaith.jpgAlbert Einstein once asked, does the moon exist when no one is looking at it? Such questions had been the preserve of philosophers, but with the discovery of quantum mechanics in the 1920s they became legitimate queries for physicists, as well.

Niels Bohr, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, did not believe that science grants us access to an objective reality and insisted that the task of physics was not to find out "how nature is" but only "what we can say about nature". Einstein, on the other hand, maintained an unshakeable belief in a reality that exists out there. Otherwise, he said, "I simply cannot see what it is that physics is meant to describe".  ....More New Scientist

 

Some Relevant Scripture


Ps. 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God: the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (NIV)

Ps. 97.6 "The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory." (NIV)

Rom. 1:20 "Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made." (NRSV)

 Video Presentations  'God: new evidence,' these feature Revd. Dr. John Polkinghorne, the former professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, Revd Dr. David Wilkinson, the principal of St. John's College, University of Durham (a former astrophysicist) and Revd Dr. Rodney Holder of the Faraday Institute in Cambridge, also a former astrophysicist (Focus UK, David A. Couchman)

General Papers (Intelligent Design is discussed here)

 

Ronald G. Larson, "Revisiting the God of the Gaps," PSCF 61 (March 2009): 13  Although design arguments for the existence of God are sometimes dismissed as God of the Gaps apologetics, reasons for rejecting them based on the history of science, philosophy, religion, and pragmatism are not as compelling as is often implied. I argue that using multiple evidences of design in nature, with regular updates to accommodate new findings, can be a sound and convincing approach to apologetics.

John W. Hall. "Chance for a Purpose," PSCF 61 (March 2009): 3. In our popular understanding, chance implies a lack of purpose. Consequently, the presence of chance or stochasticity in some physical and biological processes has led to the inference that the universe has no purpose. But we ourselves construct systems with stochastic features for our own uses. Several such systems were investigated to elucidate how the set of possible outcomes of a stochastic process is related to the global and local purposes of the system. One observation is that when every possible outcome is compatible with a particular purpose, the outcomes may be described as “purpose-equivalent.” This and other insights are used in investigating the relationship of two created systems with what we know of God’s purposes. These are the physical processes that produced the distribution of matter in the universe and biological evolution. How stochastic processes relate to other forms of divine action is also discussed.

David Snoke, "Defining Undesign in a Designed Universe," PSCF 60 (December 2008): 225. The argument from design, recast today in the Intelligent Design movement, relies critically on the contrast of designed things with undesigned things. This poses a problem for Christians, however, because they affirm that God designed the whole universe. How then can we call anything undesigned? I argue that this problem is equivalent to the problem of free will, or the problem of moral evil, and as such can be addressed by the same philosophical frameworks developed in the past for addressing those issues, in particular the notions of different levels of description and Augustine’s different levels of giftedness.

William Lane Craig, "The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe." Truth: A Journal of Modern Thought 3 (1991): 85-96.(web link)
The kalam cosmological argument, by showing that the universe began to exist, demonstrates that the world is not a necessary being and, therefore, not self-explanatory with respect to its existence. Two philosophical arguments and two scientific confirmations are presented in support of the beginning of the universe. Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, there must exist a transcendent cause of the universe..


William Lane Craig, "Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creatio ex Nihilo" JASA 32.1 (March 1980): 3-13.
To answer Leibniz's question of why something exists rather than nothing, we must posit three alternatives: the universe either had a beginning or had no beginning; if it had a beginning, this was either caused or uncaused; if caused, the cause was either personal or not personal. Four lines of evidence, two philosophical and two scientific, point to a beginning of the universe. If the universe had a beginning, it is inconceivable that it could have sprung uncaused out of absolute nothingness. Finally, the cause of the universe must be personal in order to have a temporal effect produced by an eternal cause. This confirms the biblical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo.


Robert Trundle
,
"A First Cause and the Causal Principle: How the Principle Binds Theology to Science," Philosophy in Science X (2003) pp. 107-135.


Randy Isaac,  "From Gaps to God," PSCF 57 (September 2005): 230-234
Arguments for the existence of God that are based on design often specify an aspect of our natural world that cannot be explained by our current understanding of the laws of nature. Such a gap of knowledge is construed as evidence for the existence of a supernatural being. Critics of this approach label these arguments as “God-of-the-gaps” fallacies that diminish the case for a Creator God as the gaps are filled in with increasing knowledge.2 Confident that all such gaps will some day be filled via the scientific method, many people reject design arguments for God. However, gaps of knowledge do exist in nature and the scientific community acknowledges that many cannot be filled, even in principle. This article surveys various types of gaps and considers their role in an argument for God.


Dennis Jensen, "Pain, Pleasure and Evolution: An Analysis of Paul Draper's Critique of Theism," PSCF 51.1 (March 1999): 40-46)

   

Murphy, George L., Cross-Based Apologetics for a Scientific Millennium PSCF 52.3:190-193 (9/2000).

Padgett, Alan G., The Roots of the Western Concept of the 'Laws of Nature': From the Greeks to Newton PSCF 55 (December 2003
): 212-221.

Harley B. Potter, "How to End Science's Border War: A Conceptual Framework," PSCF 51  (June 1999): 98-101.

David Snoke, "The Apologetic Argument," PSCF 50 (June 1998): 108.

Peter Zoeller-Green, "Genesis Quantum Theory and Reality: How the Bible agrees with Quantum Physics - An Anthropic Principle of Another Kind: The Divine Anthropic Principle," PSCF 52 (March 2000): 8.

Intelligent Design

 

In the mid 1980s the topic of "intelligent design (ID)" emerged to capture the attention and WedgeCover support of many in the evangelical world and raise the ire of the scientific community.

ID has stirred passions within and outside of the Christian world and a well funded movement promotes a
Wedge Strategy
featuring a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to "defeat [scientific] materialism" represented by evolution, "reverse a stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" and to "affirm the reality of God." One part of the program involves advocating discussion of ID in the public school.

In the second decade of the 2ist C. there is little consensus over the value of ID as an apologetic or as a part of science. More than 25 years of endless discussion has seen hardened attitudes, brought out bursts of angry rancor, and built walls of mistrust among Christians who should know better.

 

A Christianity Today Village Discussion on ID (2010)


A November 2011 Discovery Institute (DI) article "Phillip Johnson on the Scientific Nature of Opposition to Darwinian Theory" illustrates the rhetorical strategy and logic that characterizes this anti-evolution movement today.

 

Johnson was initially motivated by the way that a high school teacher force fed evolution to his children. It is difficult not to conclude that his basic objection to evolution was religious in the light of his evangelical faith rather than a carefully worked out scientific study that not only demonstrated the flaws in contemporary evolutionary studies but provided an alternative scientific explanation for the diversity of life.  Johnson's deeply held views followed the line of many other Christians in the 1980s and today. He lamented the fact that "naturalistic methods" reigned in the science of both atheist and Christians in the field.

 

Rather than join the cause of the creation scientists who followed main-stream science in all but questions of origins which fell in the realm of God and miracles Johnson attacked the philosophy that undergirded scientific method - methodological naturatism,

 

 
A historian comments:

"I don't think that God is obliged entirely to "hide" himself in the creation. At the same time, 
I share Polkinghorne's view that "The world is not full of items stamped 'made by God' -- the 
creator is more subtle than that -- but there are two locations where general hints of the divine 
presence might be expected to be seen most clearly."  One of those is cosmic history, the other 
our own consciousness. As Polkinghorne likes to say, "when the astronomer peers  into her 
telescope, she needs to remember that the most complex object in the universe is six inches
behind the eyepiece."

The "biggest problem" with ID, as I see it, is "the inability to separate ID from the politics of the
 "culture wars."  It  isn't hard to find leading ID advocates linking these inseparably.  So, for 
those who find the ideas themselves interesting and worth considering, but who reject the 
cultural warfare that the ideas are explicitly said to be linked to, what are we to do?

Furthermore, what are we to make of ourselves, those of us who believe that an inference to 
purpose/design in the universe is larger than science alone, that it depends also on 
metaphysics/theology?  I know quite a few Christians in the sciences who believe that one can 
in fact make design inferences from nature, but not independently of theodicy and prior 
conceptions of who the designer actually is. Are we ID advocates, or not? I find the general  
thrust of ID persuasive myself--the universe and its parts really are too complex in specified ways
to have been the product of "blind chance," as Christians and others have called it for centuries.  
But, I also hesitate to claim "proof" of this from the mere absence of presently known specific 
mechanisms that could have produced such complex objects."  

"So--does this make me an adherent of ID?  To the best of my knowledge, no, because of my  
belief about the importance of metaphysics and theology in drawing design inferences.  On the 
other hand, what of my sympathies toward the larger picture and my support for a modest natural 
theology?  Does this make me an ID or just the kind of TE that some IDs seem not to appreciate?"  

"The bottom line, for me, is that I believe what I believe, without regard to the categories we 
sometimes quite artificially impose on people  and  their ideas/beliefs.  In my opinion, the culture 
wars seem to require "proofs" to support a particular agenda and to oppose the equally shrill claims 
of Richard Dawkins and company.  In culture wars, those who sit in the middle of the road tend to 
end up as road kill. I suggest that drivers are often responsible for what they hit, particularly if it 
doesn't just jump in front of you around the next bend in the road.  A little more delicacy in 
navigation might leave some more of the truth alive."--ASA Listserv
A scientist comments:

"In principle, ID as a scientific research program could be separated from ID as a "movement," 
and most of my  criticisms have been directed toward the latter. 

However -
 
1)  "In principle" is one thing but the actual history is another.  I recall that Phillip Johnson was 
cranking  up his anti-naturalism rhetoric  well before any of the claims of Michael Behe or Bill 
Dembski became prominent,  and that "movement" was ready to glom onto specific ID ideas pretty 
much when they emerged from the womb. ID as a scientific research program alone has never 
really existed.  It has always been marked by Johnson-like  cultural confrontation.
 
2)  The major things that I have always focused on in criticizing ID are: 
a)  The failure of the movement's spokespersons to be straightforward about their theological 
agenda.  On one  hand there's Dembski saying that ID is just the Logos doctrine of the Gospel 
of John in the language of information theory, but when theological questions or challenges are 
raised, the response is "There's no theology  here. We're  just scientists and philosophers." (I'm 
speaking of ID leaders.)  
b)  When one starts looking at the theology that is implicit in ID claims, it isn't very good.
 
3)  I don't want to give the impression that my criticisms of ID are only theological. I focus on that 
1st because it doesn't get enough attention & 2d because molecular biology isn't my scientific 
specialty. But I think there is plenty wrong with ID scientifically. For one  thing, the jump from the 
claim that at a particular time certain processes haven't been explained in terms of natural processes 
to the claim that they can't be so explained is unjustified. Things like the bacterial flagellum should 
have been described not as "irreducibly complex" but  as "not-yet-reducibly complex." The fact that 
Behe et al resist evidence that some steps of things like the blood-letting cascade, the flagellum or 
the immune system can be explained in terms of natural processes is quite 
significant."--ASA Listserve
 

Dialogue from the pages of PSCF

The 2008 Round

Groothuis, Douglas. “Intelligent Design and the State University: Accepting the Challenge,” PSCF 60 (December 2008): 233. The emerging discipline of Intelligent Design (ID) is a legitimate scientific research program and, therefore, should be taught as such at the state university. I argue that the design inference is a reliable means of detecting design in nature which relies on no uniquely religious assumptions. However, ID does grant some intellectual credibility to Christian theism since it directly challenges the monopoly of naturalism in science and thus opens the door to claims that the Christian God is the Designer of nature.

Thorson, Walter R. “A Response to Douglas Groothuis,” 60: (December 2008):  240. Douglas Groothuis’ proposal to make “intelligent design” (ID) the focus of a Christian apologetic in the university community is a bad idea. It would publicly associate Christianity with debatable claims that design arguments are scientific, and also with hostile attitudes to scientific tradition. Dismissing “naturalism” as a presupposition of science is a particularly questionable move. In this response to Groothuis’ article, I argue, first, that the continuing controversy over ID has some disturbing parallels with earlier controversies over recent-earth creationism; second, that while there are a few legitimate arguments for ID, most are superficial, both scientifically and philosophically. The ambivalence or hostility of most ID arguments toward any kind of biological evolution is also significant. I argue that while ID is legitimate as natural theology, it is certainly not an agenda for scientific enterprise; in a brief account of the ID movement, I survey various arguments for ID. Finally, I discuss why attacking “naturalism” is misguided; in the long run, it damages the credibility of those arguments (such as Michael Behe’s) that have some scientific merit.

Howard Van Till, Mark Discher and others on Intelligent Design

Van Till and Intelligent Design. Mark Discher, PSCF 54 (December 2002): 220.

Is the Creation a "Right Stuff" Universe?
Howard J. Van Till, PSCF 54 (December 2002): 232.

Is Howard Van Till's Response to "Van Till and Intelligent Design" a "Right Stuff Response? Mark Discher, PSCF 54 (December 2002): 240.

David J. Krause, "Discher Analysis Raises Concerns," PSCF 55 (March 2003: 68[PDF]

George H. Blont, "Intelligent Design and Right Stuff: Where is the Truth?"
PSCF 55 (March 2003: 69 [PDF]

David F. Siemens, Jr., "On Dischers Reply to Van Till,"
PSCF 55 (March 2003: 69 [PDF]


Adrian Teo, "Thomas Aquinas and RFEP,"
PSCF 55 (June 2003): 136. [PDF]

Ben M. Carter, "Response to Discher and Van Till Dialogue",
PSCF 55 (June 2003): 137. [PDF]

Thaddeus Trenn, "On Super-Intellige
nt Design" PSCF 55 (June 2003): 137. [PDF]

____________________________________________________________
.
..the directly empirical level does not exhaust the substance of science, and design theories
may bring to science deeper cognitive richness, broader conceptual resources, and more substantive anchors than a purely (methodologically)
naturalistic science can achieve - Ratzsch
_____________________________________________________________

James Madden and Mark Discher, What Intelligent Design Does and Does not Imply, PSCF 56 (December 2004): 286 [PDF]

______ What Would Count as Defeating Naturalism? A Reply to Van Till,
PSCF 56 (December 2004): 296 [PDF]

Howard J. Van Till, Is the ID Movement Capable of Defeating Naturalism? A Response to Madden and Discher,
PSCF 56 (December 2004): 292. [PDF]


Further Papers on ID

Del Ratzsch, Design: What Scientific Difference Could It Make? PSCF 56.1:14-25 (3/2004) The claims that intelligent design theories are not legitimately scientific and that such theories can carry no genuinely scientific content represent conventional anti-design wisdom. However, actual supports for such claims come to remarkably little and tend to implode under scrutiny. Furthermore, demands confronting design theories are often arbitrarily restricted to the realm of direct empirical consequences. The precise surface-level empirical upshot of design theories is, I think, still relatively minimal. But the directly empirical level does not exhaust the substance of science, and design theories may bring to science deeper cognitive richness, broader conceptual resources, and more substantive anchors than a purely (methodologically) naturalistic science can achieve.

H. Allen Orr, Annals of Science Devolution Why intelligent design isn't. New Yorker, May 30, 2005. (An outsider's view on ID)

William Dembski, Allen Orr in the New Yorker — A Response As articles against intelligent design go, this one is not that bad. At least it gives some sense of the scientific issues that ID raises. But it also misrepresents ID in some key respects. (28 May, 2005)

Thorson, Walter R., Naturalism and Design in Biology: Is 'Intelligent Dialogue' Possible? PSCF 56.1:26-36 (3/2004) Seen as natural theology rather than science, “intelligent design” (ID) is not incompatible with a “naturalistic” approach to biology proposed earlier (cf. notes 1, 2 below). This paper develops ideas based on this understanding, emphasizing points of mutual agreement and some unresolved differences between the two perspectives.

Gavin McGrath, "Intelligent Design from an Old Earth Creationist Perspective," PSCF 58 (September 2006): 252.

Jeff Mino, "Science or Sience: The Question of Intelligent Design Theory," PSCF 58 (September 2006): 226-234.

Michael A. Everest, "Why Does ID Get (Nearly) All the Christian Press," PSCF 58 (September 2006):235-236.

David F. Siemens, Jr., "Mounting Evidence for Theistic Evolution against Intelligent Design," PSCF 58 (September 2006): 239-240.

Dal Ratzsch, Nature, Design and Science (2003) Dal Ratzsch answers questions about Intelligent Design

Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit, Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski's Complex Specified Information," (Nov. 2003)

Arthur V. Chadwick, "The Trilobite: Enigma of Complexity A Case for Intelligent Design," PSCF 52.4 (December 2000): 233-241.

David F. Siemens, "Two Prediction Sets and Their Consequences for Applying Intelligent Design Theories," PSCF 51.6 (June 1999): 108-113. Intelligent design, stripped to essentials, covers a broad range of theistic views. It includes Van Till's "functional integrity," which insists that God, in the original creation, provided both the causal principles and physical basis for the development both of the inanimate universe and terrestrial life.1 This view is not to be confused with deism or process theology, for it holds (1) that the rational Creator originally established the universe so that, under his continual providential care, it developed "naturally," and (2) that he is omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign.2 Though Van Till is Reformed, his view is comparable to Luther's teaching that all natural principles are larvae dei, the masks of God, behind which he is at work.3 Although it is always God at work, we see only the masks, whether we look at the development of the inorganic, from the Big Bang on, or the total development of the organic world. This is why we declare with the psalmist, "The heavens declare the glory of God," while recognizing that "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."4 We recognize God's hand behind natural events while the fool does not. Indeed, the fool's attitude is the same as that which brought forth Christ's rebuke: "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."5


Michael B. Roberts," Design Up to Scratch? A Comparison of Design in Buckland (1832) and Behe," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 51.4 (December 1999): 244-252.
Intelligent Design has attracted both its supporters and denigrators. Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box has been a secular best seller. This paper1compares Intelligent Design with nineteenth century Paleyan design, by comparing the philosophy and methods of Buckland’s lecture on "Megatherium" in 1832 with Behe’s philosophy in Darwin’s Black Box. Buckland regarded every detail as showing design and practiced reverse engineering, but Behe regards only the unexplained to show design. To put it pithily; Buckland saw the demonstration of design in explaining. Behe sees the demonstration of design in not explaining.

William A. Dembski, "Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information," PSCF 49 (September 1997): 180. For the scientific community, intelligent design represents creationism's latest grasp at scientific legitimacy. Accordingly, intelligent design is viewed as yet another ill-conceived attempt by creationists to straightjacket science within a religious ideology. But, in fact, intelligent design can be formulated as a scientific theory having empirical consequences and devoid of religious commitments. Intelligent design can be unpacked as a theory of information. Within such a theory, information becomes a reliable indicator of design as well as a proper object for scientific investigation. In my paper, I shall (1) show how information can be reliably detected and measured, and (2) formulate a conservation law that governs the origin and flow of information. My broad conclusion is that information is not reducible to natural causes, and that the origin of information is best sought in intelligent causes. Intelligent design, thereby, becomes a theory for detecting and measuring information, explaining its origin, and tracing its flow.



Return


 


leftlogo