Does ID Make Space for Natural Processes in Origins?

Love the hymns, but I just do not see the overlap between evolutionary theory and ID.

The idea of “poofing” incorporates intelligence and design, and so YEC falls in the ID big tent. But a significant portion of ID proponents maintain that they support a somewhat conventional notion of the age of the earth and common descent. There is good paleontological and biological evidence for the paths of fish to amphibians, terrestrial to whales, dinosaurs to birds - you will be familiar with these and others. Now evolutionary biologists spend their time probing how this could come about, looking past the fact, if you will, of it happening, to explaining the process by which it happened. The how is the interesting part.

Everything I have read at Discovery Institute seems dedicated to the dismissal of any natural evolutionary process. I cannot recall seeing an allowance that any macro-evolutionary processes have any validity whatsoever, and the line drawn between micro and macro evolution seems all over the map and dictated by the need of the moment. This is not surprising, as once you allow the process, you allow that the thing could happen “on its own”. So when ID proponents affirm common descent, they share the language but not the meaning as understood by mainstream biologists. What does ID mean by common descent anyways? That genes are progressively “poofed” every thousand years or so instead of instantaneous entire creatures? Is there a process involved at all? One never gets a straight up answer. These are questions that completely separate ID research and evolutionary biologists, and I do not think there is any feeling of being at home with the other camp.

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That is not true.

Behe affirms common descent, as does Denton. I think the situation is far more complex than this. They do believe that design can incorporate natural processes. I believe that they make this clear in several ways and at several times. (right @bjmiller and @pnelson?)


I also agree that at some level, design incorporates natural processes, and natural processes incorporates design. My worldview and faith sees the fingerprint of God in natural law. The question involves the efficacy and sufficiency of natural law, which is as much a theological problem.

Yes, but in what sense? His trademark is irreducible complexity, the identification of features in biology which explicitly have no natural path to instantiate their existence. Mainstream science assumes that the emergent features of nature are reducible, life from more primitive life, biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics. The alternative “a miracle happens here” is not allowed as an explanation. When evolutionary biologists speak of common descent, are they not dealing with a process as well as a lineage?

Behe thinks much of this descent is due to non-natural means. So @RonSewell isn’t really incorrect here

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Well, let’s look again.

If @RonSewell hasn’t read DI stuff that affirms some “natural evolutionary process” then he hasn’t read very much DI stuff. Maybe that’s all Ron is saying: that he doesn’t read the DI carefully. That’s a good choice on his part, but it means that these claims are unfair besides being wrong.

But then:

That’s valid, and I would say obviously true. And yes, I read the DI’s stuff. Urrrrp.

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They are crystal clear in disputing that natural processes alone can account for life’s diversity. It just does not follow that they think that natural processes were not involved at all.


I disagree slightly, in that I don’t think the DI’s outlets are “crystal clear” about much at all. We should reject @RonSewell’s characterization, but acknowledge that confusion about what the DI wants and thinks is understandable.

It’s impossible to say since there is no one coherent position on what ID entails. It runs the gauntlet from God tinkered at every step to “front loading” of genomes to a “pool shot” God set up initial conditions then kept hands off.

The only thing consistent among ID pushers is that evolution alone must be wrong. :roll_eyes:


I don’t think you’ve read Ron’s post carefully.

The part you quoted isn’t about common descent but about processes of evolution. He’s saying that IDers deny that natural processes are (or can be) responsible for any evolution beyond a certain ill-defined point (i.e. a division between micro- and macroevolution).

What does “design can incorporate natural processes” mean?

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