I came across a fairly stunning article from Dembski in 2007 recently, that is worth reading. I’m hopeful those more engaged in the conversation then can give me some context. This is just 2 years after the Dover Trial, when ID was still regrouping. An endorsment of Ken Millers book triggered a fuse on Dembski:
His endorsement of Miller’s book leaves no doubt that the ID people are a bigger threat than the atheistic evolutionists like Dawkins:
“In this powerfully argued and timely book, Ken Miller takes on the fundamental core of the Intelligent Design movement, and shows with compelling examples and devastating logic that ID is not only bad science but is potentially threatening in other deeper ways to America’s future . But make no mistake, this is not some atheistic screed — Prof. Miller’s perspective as a devout believer will allow his case to resonate with believers and non-believers alike.” –Francis Collins, Director, the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
With devout believers like this, give me a good infidel any time. Ever since Phil Johnson began publicly voicing his criticisms of Darwinism in the early 90s, his biggest detractors and most vicious critics have been — surprise, surprise — fellow Christians. In fact, we had a Mere Creation conference at Biola University in 1996 rather than at Calvin College (where we had planned to hold it initially) because Howard Van Till was so enraged with Johnson during his visit in the winter of 1996 that he was visibly shaking (Johnson and Niles Eldredge were having a debate at Calvin College — Eldredge turned to Phil after witnessing Van Till’s meltdown and remarked that even though things get heated among fellow evolutionists, it’s nothing like what he witnessed here).
They are happy to jump in bed with Richard Dawkins if it means defeating ID. They are on the wrong side of the culture war.* And they need to be defeated.
You know, I would be happy to sit down with theistic evolutionists and discuss our differences. I think they are wrong to baptize Darwin’s theory as God’s mode of creation. But I don’t think they are immoral or un-Christian for holding their views. But ID proponents, for wanting ID to have a place at the table as a scientific alternative to Darwinism, are, according to Miller, Collins, Alexander, etc., immoral, undermining Western civilization, and destroying America’s soul. Well, you want this fight, you’ve got it.
Reading this, I am sympathetic to Dembski’s sense of anger, but not his response. I disagree with ID, as is well known. This sort of language from Miller and Collins seems to have just validated the ID’s premise of culture war, a premise that I reject. While I disagree with Dembski on many things, I can see why they might feel that the Faraday Institute and BioLogos threw the first punch. It is easy in retrospect to call them to turn the other cheek, but that is certainly not easy to do.
It reminds me that kindness to people in ID is just as important as showing where I disagree. There need not be a culture war in science. Instead, it could be our common ground. Once again I devote myself to seeking peace, and the hard work of peace making. This conflict has injuries on all sides, not just my own.