Why Does ID Criticize TE?

(George) #63


Thank you for your response. You would concur, then, that for BioLogos supporters who are zealous about God guiding Evolution, and reject Darwinism, the camps are becoming ever more close together?

(Vincent Torley) #64


In my admittedly limited experience, plus a 1000+ page volume of critique, it seems that most ID thinkers criticize EC.

I’d say that’s correct.

(Jon Garvey) #65

Yes indeed. Like I said, it seems the one sticking point is “detectability by science,” and even that seems to do more with how you define science. When it comes to that, it Big Endians making war on Little Endians.

And I should add that I’ve long been one of those: I’ve posted on BioLogos, and I’ve posted on Uncommon Descent, and been equally liked or hated on both.

(Ann Gauger) #66

@swamidass, this isn’t true, by the way.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #67

Yup, he clarified. I’ll change my original post. Thanks.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) split this topic #68

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: ID and Science Classes


Is that because there isn’t much ‘movement’ left anymore that one could leave? :rofl: Already retirement of Dembski, departure of Luskin, the Brazil fiasco (with Behe repeating old lines as if new ones aren’t needed). Denton is there for the paycheck (having been the one who woke Behe up with his misnomer crisis talk), not for the Intelligent Designer, as far as rumour has it. The ‘ID community’ has lost momentum; that at least cannot easily be denied.

The answer to the title question is easy: Why do IDists criticize TE? Because it splits the vote, and away from their favour. They are minorities and will remain that way. They tried to ideologize with Intelligent Design, but have largely failed. Their conceptualistic game is up. Outside of the CSC’s few novelties with Intelligent Design Theory, the other links, historical and philosophical with creationism are too obvious to ignore and too easy to point out.

It is just no longer fresh and can’t be much fun to be an IDist anymore. The best ones don’t.

(system) automatically bumped #70

(Edward Robinson) #71

Hello, Curtis. Thought this was a new query of yours, but have just now noticed that it is an old one that for some reason came up fresh today when I logged in. Anyhow, if you’re still interested in the question, have a look sometime at God and Evolution, ed. Jay Richards. It is quite different from the Crossway book, but it gives several objections ID folks have to the theology of some TEs. Many of the contributors are not found in the Crossway volume, and several are Catholic or Jewish, which gives the theological criticism a different flavor.

(Curtis Henderson) #72

No problem, Eddie. My biggest point of confusion is how a group that contains multiple prominent members that are NOT Christians wishes to point out the perceived theological shortcomings of professing brothers and sisters in Christ. It tends to present a “ID is not about religion, but let me criticize your religion” vibe to me.

(Edward Robinson) #73

I understand where you are coming from on this. Bear in mind, however, that before the recent Crossway book, the usual accusation against ID folks was that they didn’t talk about religion enough! The volume I mentioned to you is one of the very few works in which a group of ID folks talk primarily about their religious views rather than about their views on design.

There may be a slight element of tit-for-tat in these matters. I’ve lost track of the number of times that TE/EC leaders have said “ID is both bad science _and bad theology”, and perhaps in some cases ID writers have taken the attitude, “Oh, so you want to stop talking about evidence for design and start denigrating our theology, do you? Well, what about the theology of Van Till, and Miller, and Giberson …?” Remember, most ID folks, like most TE folks, come out of the matrix of American Biblical/conservative/evangelical theology (many of the prominent TE leaders were conservative evangelicals or even fundamentalists before becoming TEs), and family quarrels are noted for such mutual recriminations. So “pointing out the perceived theological shortcomings of professing brothers and sisters in Christ” is something that both groups have done, on numerous occasions – it’s not unique to ID folks.

The difference between the Crossway volume and the earlier volume I mentioned is that the Crossway contributors are almost all Protestants, and in the “Biblical” section of the book all Protestant OECs or YECs. That’s not true of the God and Evolution book, where Catholics are heavily featured, and an orthodox Jew is also a contributor. Thus, the religion section of the Crossway view reads like an attack by conservative Biblicists on less conservative Protestant brethren, whereas the religious critique in the God and Evolution book is more on general points of Christian (or Jewish) theology, and not nearly so Biblicist in focus. In other words, I don’t think you can generalize from the Crossway book to “ID theology.” The Crossway book has very much the feel of an intra-Protestant turf war over who gets to own the Bible’s teaching. The discussions of Richards etc. are to my mind less parochial.

Another point to be made is that in neither book are any of the essays that focus on religious debates written by unbelievers. All the essayists are either Jewish or Christian. There are, as you mention, ID supporters and allies who are neither, such as Berlinski and Denton, but they do not appear in either book, and they are not known for criticizing the religion of TEs in their other writings. The ID folks who criticize TE theology are believers, and are speaking for themselves, not for other ID proponents who aren’t believers.

On the other side, Francisco Ayala, long after he had left Christianity behind for pantheism, repeatedly criticized ID for “bad Christian theology” on the BioLogos website and in other places; one might wonder about the propriety of that criticism, coming from an apostate priest! But Darrel Falk was happy to count Ayala as an ally, when he ran BioLogos. So again, these things work both ways.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #74

I noticed that also!

(Dan Eastwood) #75

I don’t know much about Ayala, but I don’t think being a Pantheist should invalidate his criticism. I’ve been known to criticize ID as bad theology, and I have occasionally defended Christianity. Being an outsider looking back at beliefs can have certain advantages.

(Edward Robinson) #76

It doesn’t, necessarily; but keep in mind what I was replying to. It was pointed out that ID has members who aren’t Christian, and suggested that there was something improper about non-Christians within the ID movement criticizing TE Christians. If that objection is allowed, then the objection to Ayala criticizing ID Christians must be allowed as well.

Could Ayala have been offering merely a scholarly, detached criticism, even though a pantheist? Yes, theoretically. But then I would have expected him to say, “Even though I’m no longer a Christian, I knew Christian theology pretty well when I was a priest and philosopher, and ID ideas of God strike me as inadequately Christian.” But instead, he would just say that ID was bad theology, conveying a sense of personal distaste, as if he were speaking as a Christian himself. And remember that BioLogos at the time was making out that he was still a Christian, though they listed him as a “liberal” one, and stressing his priestly background though he had renounced the cloth years earlier, thus leaving its readers with the impression that Ayala was a Christian TE. To be fair, they might have known that he had left the priesthood but thought he was still a Christian – but he wasn’t, and did nothing to disabuse the BioLogos readers of this belief; he continued to let himself be represented by TEs as a Christian voice, which was disingenuous. This semi-masquerade renders the idea that he was a purely objective critic somewhat dubious. Complete openness on his part would have made the idea more credible.

All that said, I grant your point that an outsider can sometimes see certain things clearly, that insiders cannot, and that a non-Christian can sometimes make fair criticisms of ideas which purport to be Christian.

Of course, Ayala’s main criticism of the “bad theology” of ID is that ID, by postulating a designer for malaria, makes God the author of evil. But that is not bad theology; it’s the theology of Isaiah 45 and many other Biblical passages. In fact, the doctrine that God would never create anything evil (in the sense of harmful, painful, potentially fatal, etc.) is more characteristic of modern, liberal theological thought than of the Bible. So, while in principle Ayala might have successfully criticized ID theology even as an ex-Christian, in practice he doesn’t achieve that goal.

(Dan Eastwood) #77

There could be a whole discussion about what any of these labels mean. I have Christian influences, and my personal views haven’t really changed from when I called myself Christian (I understand them differently). Perhaps I was never a very good Christian? The labels we give ourselves and others ate of limited usefulness.

My own theological criticism of ID and Creation Science are much simpler: It should not be possible to describe God in any sciencific sense. The attempts to do so lead to conclusions and which should not be sciencifically or theologically acceptable. (I think we had that discussion already :slight_smile: )

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #78

Yes you were and are a good human being which is better than being a good Christian. :sunglasses: I was a good Catholic atheist for decades now I am a good non-practicing cultural cafeteria American Catholic atheist.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #79


I always found Ayala rather confusing, and I guess I gave up on trying to understand him. Your post actually clears up a lot of things and confirmed some of my long-standing suspicions.

(Edward Robinson) #80

Yes, there could, but I was taking your original remark to be using the “standard” sense of “Christian”, i.e., I took you to be saying that one did not have to believe in the usual doctrines of the Christian churches (as found in, say, The Apostles’ Creed) in order to understand Christian doctrine well enough to say something intelligent about it. And this is undoubtedly true. Shaw, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Buber, and many others have said intelligent things about Christianity as outsiders to it. So I was agreeing with you. Enjoy!

Problem there right away, in linking the two, as ID has explicitly distinguished itself from Creation Science and all forms of Creationism, in refusing to make use of the Bible in the study of nature. Of course there are whole web pages on Discovery explicitly stating the differences between Creationism and ID, as you must by now know.

I’m not sure where the “should not” comes from, but I would agree with “is not”, if “science” is meant in the typical modern sense, as opposed to an older sense (in which it meant any systematic knowledge of something, however derived).

But of course, ID does not attempt to “describe God,” but can speak only of God’s effects. Its position is thus no different from that of Isaac Newton, in the General Scholium to the Principia. One can speak of a designer to the extent that he/she/it has left traces of designing activity in the world. One cannot get from that to a full description of the designer, or the ultimate nature of the designer.

One can of course dispute the assertion that traces of design are found in the world, but I don’t wish to dispute that at the moment; the point at the moment is that ID’s statements about the designer – to the extent it makes any – must by nature be very limited, and can never get even close to “describing God.” Anything like an adequate description of God, if it is even possible, is left by ID to philosophy and revealed religion – which is a very wise restraint on ID’s part.

(Edward Robinson) #81

I’m glad to be useful, and glad that this venue seems to have help overcome the barriers to our mutual understanding that arose in another internet forum. :wink:

(John Mercer) #82

According to the creationist and ID textbooks, they are indistinguishable:
Creation Biology (1983), p. 3-34:

Biology and Creation (1986), p. 3-33:

Biology and Origins (1987), p. 3-38:

Of Pandas and People (1987, creationist version), p. 3-40:

Of Pandas and People (1987, “intelligent design” version), p. 3-41:

Can’t get much more tightly linked than that!!!


Shouldn’t we take the words written and/or endorsed by known YECs and ID proponents far more seriously than claims offered under a pseudonym?