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Bad Theology, Bad Science Part II

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Once again covering the bad theology of Intelligent Design, but this time from Fred Clark at at Slactivist.

"Miller is, like me, one of those "not many people" who believes in both God and evolution. He's quite accustomed to dealing with Weisberg's assertion that these things are incompatible but, also like me, he's more accustomed to fielding such blanket assertions from the other side -- from the "scientific creationists" and their repackaged heirs in the "Intelligent Design" movement.

Miller sees the Intelligent Design argument for what it is: Bad theology.

They claim that the existence of life, the appearance of new species, and, most especially, the origins of mankind have not and cannot be explained by evolution or any other natural process. By denying the self-sufficiency of nature, they look for God (or at least a "designer") in the deficiencies of science. The trouble is that science, given enough time, generally explains even the most baffling things. As a matter of strategy, creationists would be well-advised to avoid telling scientists what they will never be able to figure out. History is against them. In a general way, we really do understand how nature works.

And evolution forms a critical part of that understanding. Evolution really does explain the very things that its critics say it does not. Claims disputing the antiquity of the earth, the validity of the fossil record, and the sufficiency of evolutionary mechanisms vanish upon close inspection. Even to the most fervent anti-evolutionists, the pattern should be clear -- their favorite "gaps" are filling up: the molecular mechanisms of evolution are now well-understood, and the historical record of evolution becomes more compelling with each passing season. This means that science can answer their challenges to evolution in an obvious way. Show the historical record, provide the data, reveal the mechanism, and highlight the convergence of theory and fact.

There is, however, a deeper problem caused by the opponents of evolution, a problem for religion. ... They have based their search for God on the premise that nature is not self-sufficient. By such logic, only God can make a species, just as Father Murphy believed only God could make a flower. Both assertions support the existence of God only so long as these assertions are true, but serious problems for religion emerge when they are shown to be false.

If we accept a lack of scientific explanation as proof for God's existence, simple logic would dictate that we would have to regard a successful scientific explanation as an argument against God. That's why creationist reasoning, ultimately, is much more dangerous to religion than to science. Elliot Meyerowitz's fine work on floral induction suddenly becomes a threat to the divine, even though common sense tells us it should be nothing of the sort.

Bad theology is incompatible with science, but that's not the biggest problem facing it. The more immediate problem facing bad theology is that it is incompatible with good theology."
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8/16/2005 10:49:00 AM

I'm really glad you posted these ID posts. Yesterday I was reading comments about this at TPMCafe. There were scientists responding over there and there was arguing back and forth. I chose not to comment there because I am not a scientist. I am a Christian that has no problem with the concept of evolution. In fact, the more I learn about evolution, the more I am amazed by God's constantly evolving creation of the Universe. But let me ask here: From a theological standpoint not a scientific one, isn't all this emphasis by some Christians on how man was created missing the point? Isn't the true point of Genesis, not how man was created but why?    

8/16/2005 04:56:00 PM

Hi Kate,

Thanks for this comment, my thoughts on evolution and creation as a debate have gone through a long transition itself...and the best advice I got especially during the early days of my thinking on things was an Intervarstiy book I read cautioning both sides not to make Science say more than it does, nor to make the Bible say more than it does. While true, I thought both of these articles I referenced facinating as they purport that ID which postulates a simplicistic designer WITHIN time as actually painting a picture as LESSER than the God of Time-Space and Creation itself.

And your comments on the emphasis of Genisis on WHY and WHO created the world and all of us creatures in it rather than HOW is spot on.



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