Saturday, March 20, 2010

Intelligent Design and Me, Part II: Confessions of a Doting Thomist

The second part of my two part series on the Biologos blog, Science and the Sacred, has been published today. Here is how it begins:
It was probably around mid-2005 that I started to understand why I could never defend the Behe/Dembski arguments. This is when I began to play down these arguments and put a greater stress on anti-naturalism in the way I defined ID. Hence, in a September 2005 online debate with Douglas Laycock, I define ID in this way:
Intelligent design (or ID) is not one theory. It is a short-hand name for a cluster of arguments that offer a variety of cases that attempt to show that intelligent agency rather than unguided matter better accounts for apparently natural phenomena or the universe as a whole. Some of these arguments challenge aspects of neo-Darwinism. Others make a case for a universe designed at its outset, and thus do not challenge any theory of biological evolution.

But even ID advocates who criticize neo-Darwinism are technically not offering an alternative to evolution, if one means by evolution any account of biological change over time that claims that this change results from a species' power to accommodate itself to varying environments by adapting, surviving, and passing on these changes to its descendants. This is not inconsistent with a universe that has earmarks and evidence of intelligent design that rational minds may detect.
What was going on in my mind? I had begun to better appreciate why some Christian philosophers (mostly Catholic ones), all influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas, never jumped on the ID bandwagon. Although I considered (and still consider) myself a Thomist, it’s clear to me now that while working on my MJS dissertation, I had not properly thought through the implications of ID for a Christian philosophy of nature. For this reason, I am now convinced that my initial and growing unease with the Behe/Dembski arguments arose precisely because my Thomist philosophy could not accommodate them, even though it was not apparent to me until mid-2005. During that time I was beginning to think more critically of the Behe/Dembski arguments as I brought Thomist philosophy to bear on them.
Read the whole thing here.

1 comment:

penman@truegosp.org said...

For me, the key issue in the evolution vs. intelligent design debate is the claim of many evolutionists that, not only did the species of life emerge from a common anscestor over millions of year, but that this happened entirely due to natural forces without intervention and guidence from God.

As I point out in my website about intelligent design, it is impossible to prove that life came into existence without supernatural intervention, yet that is taught as fact in the public schools.

The scientific method does not allow science to prove evolution rationally and honestly because to prove something requires an open-mindedness that is willing to look at all sides. Science cannot look at the intelligent design side of the argument because the scientific method does not allow consideration of supernatural causes.