Dembski: Theistic Evolutionists Close Ranks — Let the Bloodletting Begin!

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.


@Agauger and @pnelson, I hope you can give me some background on this. Though I disagree with Dembski’s choose to add fuel to the fire, stoking a culture war, this also gives me some empathy for your situation too.

What would cause Van Till to get so heated? Is it that he saw Evangelical Christianity as trying to get scientific credibility and he felt he was on the forefront of this movement and he feels ID is holding everyone back? What goes on psychologically?

The only person’s perspective I really have a problem with at DI is Stephen Meyer because I feel like he makes almost ANY naturalistic process out to be metaphysically accidental and metaphysically “unguided,” which plays right into Dawkins’ rhetoric, and sets Christians up for a false dichotomy. This does make me angry, so part of me can understand…but still…???

Very few other people at DI talk like that. Certainly not Denton.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Paid to misrepresent science?

Thanks for taking the time to hear out Dembski on this point. I know that when Bill Dembski would get riled, he sometimes would add to the heat of the culture wars himself, and that sometimes made matters worse, but I think he is being honest when he says that he felt unjustly attacked by some fellow Christians. I think that is how he and many other IDers perceived matters, early on in these debates.

At the point I entered these debates, such attacks on Behe, Dembski and other ID people by Miller, Lamoureux and other TEs were quite common. When BioLogos got going, it spent more time running multi-column series against Behe and Meyer than it ran against Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, etc. BioLogos seemed to dislike ID even more than it disliked the New Atheists. The joining of hands of fellow-evangelicals with atheists and materialists caused many ID folks to adopt a siege mentality; they were constantly repelling attacks on two fronts from what seemed a very odd and sinister combination of bedfellows. This activated my sympathy for the underdog.

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