On the Christian opposition to intelligent design

Some Christians maintain the notion that:

“The term ID is an attempt to remove God from the discussion.”

Well, that might be true…

…if God were in the discussion to begin with. Intelligent design is a strategic move to break the strangle hold philosophical naturalism has on most science classrooms.

In that respect the only goal of ID is to lead people to the conclusion that there is a designer. After that, we can move the discussion down the hall from the physical sciences classrooms, many/most with their presupposition of verificationism as the only or ultimate source of truth (which ID satisfies with flying colors btw) into the philosophy/metaphysical sciences classroom. You see, ID is meant to address the “how” of our existence, that being design by an intelligent being while a further discussion on “who” the designer is can and should be shifted to another classroom.

This strategic approach to leading others towards the designer we know as Christ (that is, for ID proponents that are Christians) is nothing new. The cosmological argument for God’s existence is designed only to lead someone to the understanding that there is a God and not necessarily the Christian God. This is mostly because the cosmological argument came to us from Islam.

We should not be afraid to use any and all evangelistic tools at our disposal. Whether it be ID, cosmology, mathematics, etc. If Romans is right then all of creations speaks to God’s handiwork so it logically follows that we ought to be able to use all of creation as a springboard to lead people to Christ.

As for proponents of 6 day creationism1. I am a proponent of it as well. However I do not hold to a 6,000-10,000 year old universe (young earth)((ID is not necessarily opposed to YEC, but the use of scientific arguments does pose a lot of problems for proponents of YEC.)). And it is this, coupled with a poor view of how Scripture ought to be used in relation with non-believers, that led me to my rash comment from earlier. We simply cannot ignore the findings of science, especially when they in no way contradict the text itself, and still hope to maintain any sort of intellectual credibility. And hiding under the “fools for Christ” umbrella is simply not intellectually valid or honest because while it is true that we are called to maintain a historically unpopular position, it is not true that we are called to abandon logic and reason in order to do that. Moreover, an assault on science and the use thereof to lead others to Christ does great harm to the legacy of Christians who, throughout history, have striven to provide a logical and cogent argument to the people of their times.2 ID is no different.

So while I understand that many, especially those who for some reason still hold to a young earth position, will not join with their brothers and sisters in using and promoting ID, the least they can do is get out of our way and not accuse us of holding strange and heretical doctrines like theistic evolution. It is hard enough to advance in the face of overwhelming odds on rough enemy terrain without having to worry about getting shot in the back by friendly fire.

  1. This is addressed because some who are against ID accuse proponents of ID of denying a literal 6 day creation. Presumably because ID proponents generally simply refuse to comment on it. []
  2. Including Stephen, Paul, Peter, James, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Anselm, Irenaeus, Ignatius, etc. []

31 responses to “On the Christian opposition to intelligent design

  1. Science doesn't teach philosophical naturalism – it's a way of doing things – methodological naturalism maybe.

    How do you proposed a scientist controls for god?

  2. "So I suppose the real question is for philosophical naturalists, which is the predominant presupposition of many scientists these days, would be:
    How can you trust your senses to accurately detect anything if they are products of random mutation? Ie. If they are not designed for the environment in which we find ourselves. "

    This screams an ignorance about what science is and how we've evolved.

  3. If you need enlightening on what science and evolution are at a basic level, it's no wonder you post such drivel.

  4. "Natural selection over a long long time generated our senses."

    On what basis are you making this claim? I mean, other than the tired line used by proponents of evolution which amounts to "we have senses therefore natural selection MUST have been the causal agent that produced them".

    Here is the logical conundrum. The engine behind natural selection is randomness. It must be because the alternative is design which brings up the whole concept of "intelligent design" which I know Darwinists absolutely loathe. So if our senses are merely cosmic accidents, and if our minds are cosmic accidents as well, on what grounds are we warranted in trusting either one? It seems to me that you defeat your arguments quite well on your own, the only thing a theist like myself needs to do is point out the logical absurdity of your position.

    "Of course, this is all scientific theory"

    It is only if you take the problematic view that naturalism is part and parcel of science. It is not and further it constitutes a logical fallacy of assuming the conclusion.

    "And if contrary evidence arises, science would revise their theories and adopt new working definitions. "

    Except that Darwinian evolution is not a scientific theory. It is a metaphysical belief that is strongly held by people who, like Stephen Hawking, want to write any sort of higher power or being out of the universe. While that may be true, and it would be a fun and potentially fruitful discussion to have, we can't escape the present issue which is that it is intellectually dishonest to attempt to hijack science by presupposing that it rests on a materialistic/physicalistic view of the universe.

    Oh, and new theories have been posed regularly that poke all kinds of holes in the Darwinian model. But rather than abandon Darwinian evolution a long time ago, which would be the most intellectually honest thing to do at this point, new and ever more wild theories have been formulated that all share the same naturalistic presuppositions. In other words, many scientists have abandoned real science a long time ago in favor of a sort of "evolution of the gaps" approach wherein no matter how absurd a theory is, it is acceptable so long as it paints a view of the universe without God.

    "You think dogma from your old book is a more reliable source?"

    Nice try, but my "old book" is not in conflict with the finding of science in any way.

    Tell me, what would it take to convince you that the universe was not one giant cosmic accident? Anything?

  5. "Nice try, but my "old book" is not in conflict with the finding of science in any way."

    I needed a laugh, thanks for this.

    "Nice try, but my "old book" is not in conflict with the finding of science in any way. "

    Sure, good evidence. The theistic answers fall woefully short.

  6. So how do I control for god in my experiments then?

    Yes it's the question you ducked about six comments ago.

  7. Put it another way;

    How do you think the thousands of religious scientists do it?

  8. Re senses – we see intermediate forms of all the senses demonstrating how a step by step evolution could work. We see relationships between the physiology and molecules that fit the pattern of a nested hierarchy that you see with evolution – why did your god make it look that way?

  9. BTW – where are you getting your information from?

    This is a serious question.

  10. Hi Wes,

    You are very insulting – this isn't very Christian is it?

    I have been very polite and not insulted you at all.

    *Takes breath*

    You appear to be making transparently wrong statements left right and centre. Or we are speaking about different things altogether.

    For example, from your response it appears that you don't even know what a "control" is for in an experimental sense.

    Please prove me wrong and tell me what one is. I like to be shown to be wrong and to learn something 😉

    If you don't know I will explain or I will point you in the direction of an explanation.

    When we have that straight we can start to look at some of the other "issues" you are raising.

    Fire away.



  11. Your scripture speaks of talking donkeys and snakes, immaculate conceptions, men gathering 2 of every species onto arks. and dead people rising and walking around. Try to shoehorn those claims into a scientific proof.

    Your good at bare asserions yourself.

  12. "It seems to me that your argument rests on a hidden premise of philosophical naturalism wherein the existence of supernatural or metaphysical entities and forces is somehow dismissed a-priori."

    This is incorrect. I don't dismiss them a-priori, I ask for evidence of them before believing in them. Until that evidence is shown, I disbelieve them. The Bible itself is no more evidnece of talking donkets than the Odyssey is of cyclops.

    "I do not, simply because they have not been recorded in a source I've found to be trustworthy."

    On what basis/bases do assign trustworthiness to documents?

  13. "I didn't say belief in Jesus was a-priori, I said belief in God. Belief in Jesus could only come about through specific revelation but belief in God I would argue is properly basic."

    But belief in A god vs belief in Yahweh are 2 very different things. To assess the claims of yahweh specifically, we're back to the book with talking donkeys in it.

    "I believe I asked you a question regarding how you propose we should objectively weigh historical documents. Specifically I asked whether you believe we can know, with any degree of certainty, facts about historical events/people/places."

    You asked your question without answering mine. I'll play your little evasion game for now and answer yours: historical documents need to be vetted by their source and other corroborating other documents or evidence from the time. And the more outrageous the claim being made in a historical doceument, the better vetting and more corroborating evidence required.

    I don't need a lot of evidence to "believe" that your best friend had dinner with you last weekend. I would require A LOT more to believe that JFK had dinner with you last weekend.

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