A New Deal for Intelligent Design?

@mark this is really constructive and helpful. I’d add that mainstream science should be more clear that it is silent on God’s design and has not blanket ruled it out, though it might have ruled out specific models of creation.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Miller, Ayala, and Theisitic Evolution

@John_Harshman, this is one place I think mainstream scienc should give ground. I’m sure @T_aquaticus agrees. Do you?

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I’d say that it’s necessary to be silent on God’s design until we have some kind of model of what God’s design would look like and how it would be different from God’s non-design. As you say, there are some models that can be tested, but those models have been ruled out. Science might most profitably continue to ignore the notion of God.

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I completely agree.

What I sometimes wonder about is if we lost out on a lot of great scientists because of the views found on the extreme ends of the spectrum (YEC vs. strong atheism). How many Christians have been scared away from a rewarding career as a scientist because they feel like they have to be an atheist in order to be a scientist? For this reason alone, I think it very worthwhile to talk about the limits of the scientific method and it’s philosophical borders.


I always find it annoying when those are equated. Just FYI. But it does bring to mind the famous XKCD cartoon.

Your are not on the extreme end of atheism. Not sure why you would think that equation applies to you.

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That’s a fair criticism, so perhaps I should clarify a bit. If a Christian is taking a Bio 101 class their freshman year and they hear the professor state that there is no God because of what science shows us, what would go through that Christian’s mind? On the flip side, a Christian raised within the YEC community is continually told that the science strongly opposes Christian beliefs. On both ends of this spectrum you have the same conclusion: if the science is true then God does not exist.

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Never said it did. And I’m not sure why you think I’m not on the extreme end of atheism either. I’d put myself around 9.9 on that 10-point scale. I just generally try not to be an asshole about it.

That the professor is abusing his office? When has this ever happened?

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I certainly observed this more than once during my education.

Mark had some helpful suggestions to improve the acceptance of ID:

– Drop “ID is science” and focus more on supporting efforts in any type of school setting to teach philosophy to younger students where the implications of scientific discoveries are discussed.

– Drop the “this is too complex to have been produced by natural processes” line.

– Adopt “ID according to Michael Denton and Richard Sternberg.” http://www.richardsternberg.com/pdf/sternintellbio08.pdf 1, but be clear which parts are metaphysics and which parts are science.

– Stop arguing against common descent. Stop pitting design against evolution. You can have both.

– Adopt positive language rather than "Darwin’s _____ (blunder, black box, devolves, theory in crisis, etc.).

– Join effort with Simon Conway Morris, Denis Lamoureux and others in favor of a more teleological vision of evolution.

In other words, ID should become TE.

Which, frankly, equates to E in theory and practice – i.e., evolutionary theory as currently promulgated – because any explanatory content difference associated with “T” (creative intelligence) will be flagged by the scientific community as violating methodological naturalism.

In the interest of promoting understanding and communication – my reason for coming to this board daily – I should report that the self-selected science students who show up every July to attend the Discovery Institute summer seminar on ID have already been offered TE, often as early as high school. Kindly HS biology teachers will frequently package their teaching of textbook evolutionary theory in some nostrum such as “God could have used evolution as his method of creating” or “Nothing we discuss in this classroom rules out the existence of God.” These students have already seen TE, see nothing of interest or promise, and move on.

If ID needs to become TE to pass muster, there’s nothing to negotiate, to use Josh’s term. These are terms of unconditional surrender.

I have my own ideas about what ID should be doing, but they have nothing to do with negotiation. Whatever that means. Bertrand Russell was a witty dude, and he used to say that in the competition between 2 + 2 = 4, and 2 + 2 = 5, the truth is not “somewhere in the middle.” :wink:


So TE, as you mean it, aligns with BioLogos and Faraday.

The approach that I’ve been taking falls outside that range, and not yet been tried. Students do not usually hear of it, but when they do they don’t just pick up and move on to TE or ID. Does that give any hints at a new way forward @pnelson?

Fair enough, but ID is full of “design because 2+2=5” arguments. At what point will outsiders see an effort to clean house?

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Josh – we’ll see! I look forward to the publication of your book.

I had a P.S. to Mark which disappeared in an edit. Here it is again: Denis Lamoureux and I are good friends, and have been since we met at Cambridge University in 1994. I reviewed his latest book, whose title I unfortunately don’t recall – it’s a defense of teleological evolution. Problem is, there’s no teleology there, or none that makes any explanatory difference.


You have observed, in class, a professor stating that there is no God? If this was in a state-supported institution, he should at least be censured.


I’ve seen that both at University and High School level, in public institutions. At the time, as a relatively powerless student, I did not know this was not allowed or what my recourse might have been. I just learned to live with it, but it also make me very aware of abuse of pedagogical authority.



What did you like about my post? haha. You said it was helpful and then said it boils down to ID should become TE.

I’m not sure if that’s quite correct. I see BioLogos as promoting a fairly a-teleological version of evolution. Would you say that all that Denton and Sternberg are is TE? Denton and Sternberg’s vision of evolution is HIGHLY TELEOLOGICAL. For example, if ID followed what I’m suggesting, they would have been on the front-end of predicting that there is more function to “junk DNA” (which is not the same thing as Pseudogenes, which are excellent evidence for common descent) than others originally thought without also making bad predictions with regard to irreducible complexity, evidence for common ancestry, etc. I would probably add J. Scott Turner to the list of good “ID guys” as well, though it’s not entirely clear that he groups himself in with ID.

I guess I’m suggesting ID should focus on a more structuralist interpretation of evolution and they shouldn’t be shy about discussing the philosophical implications of fine tuning, big bang, and other things surrounding evolution.

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Explain. And is this really recent? Like 2018/19?

Also, I AM basically saying ID should just become what I consider to be the best position in regard to creation/evolution. Haha.

It’s not something I have ever encountered, and I’ve taken classes from Jerry Coyne. You should bring this to Patrick’s attention so he can get the FFRF on the case.