Honestly Thinking

Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

I’m a Christian and I Don’t Believe in Intelligent Design

There’s a classic theorem out there that compares the creation of the universe to putting typewriters in a room full of monkeys. 

On one end of the spectrum are those that contend that given enough time, say billions or even an infinite number of years, the monkeys randomly pecking away at the keys will eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare.

On the other end of the spectrum are those that argue that after even billions (or even infinite) tries of hitting on the typewriter, the monkeys might be able to accidentally type up some words, or maybe even a complete sentence, but the chances of typing up even one actual Shakespearean play are insurmountable

Intelligent Design theory, which sides with the latter, looks at the patterns and complexity of creation in order to say that none of it would have been possible without the direct, purposeful guidance of an outside, intelligent designer.

The eyeball, for example, with all its separate components having to work together in order to function could not have randomly formed without a preplanned design.  ID theory also looks at the odds of all the right conditions coming into place for life itself to form.  Had the earth, for example, been just a few miles closer or further from the sun, life as we know it would not exist.  ID theory is different than previous creation theory in that it avoids traditional religious jargon or arguments and focuses primarily on the scientific evidence.

In chapter one of Rethinking God (which can be read here) I contend that God as the “I Am” is the natural source law of all that exists.  The “I Am” is existence itself and the ultimate of ultimates (nothing can be outside of it) and against which nothing else can be measured.

While the complexity of creation is certainly a very strong argument and any truly objective scientist must take that into account, when put into the framework of the “I Am,” ID theory ultimately falls short.  The problem comes with the application of the word “intelligence” – something that we have no way of actually measuring.

Put in another way: if the universe were unintelligently designed, how would we know it?

Imagine a newborn baby becoming a castaway on a small remote island in the Pacific after having been the sole survivor of a shipwreck.  Somehow he miraculously survives and grows up (raised by monkeys, with or without typewriters), never coming across a single other human being.  He reaches age 21 and one day proudly declares, “I am the strongest and smartest human being in the world!”  This statement may be true or not true for all he knows, but he has absolutely nothing else to measure his statement against to determine its veracity.

The above illustrates the problem with the notion of “intelligent design.”  “Intelligence” is a human term, designed to measure a person’s or creature’s ability to understand and provide application to the universe he or she lives in.  But when applied to the “I Am” or existence (the ultimate of ultimates) it simply does not work.  It assumes you can somehow judge existence by how well it knows the universe or applies what it does – as though there was a standard outside of it.

When we describe anything God or existence does as “intelligent” it’s the equivalent of saying, “Good job, God!” or “Great job, existence!” as though we can evaluate its performance. 

But of course it’s a good job.  Anything existence does is good because existence is the standard of good.  If it were to change what it did, it would automatically become the new good because there is nothing above it to say that it is not good.

Likewise it is with intelligence.  As humans who live within the context of existence our only standard of measure for intelligence is the way things actually are.  Our perception of a well-designed creation is based entirely on what is already designed.  If the eyeball had been formed any different, or if we’d only had one eye or three eyes or twenty eyes, then that is how we would have judged how eyeballs should be.  Or if we never had eyeballs to begin with, then there would never have been discussion of “eyesight” at all.

If the earth had actually been a few miles closer or a few miles further from the sun, yes life may not have formed as we know it; but might life have formed in an entirely different way, thus giving us different standards for what we consider the “perfect conditions for life?”

Intelligent design, therefore, becomes a circular argument.  It says that the universe is the way that it is because it was intelligently designed.  How do we know it was intelligently designed?  Because it was made exactly the way that it should be?  And how do we know the way it should be made?  Because it was made the way that it is. 

This is why intelligent design theory ultimately falls short as an explanation to the naturalist.  Creation may be complex, but after billions of years of billions of accidental occurrences, it’s bound to look somewhat complex and we’ve grown up accepting no other better way for it to be.  It’s the equivalent of randomly splashing paint onto a canvas and, rather than declaring the portrait a mess, stating it’s perfectly the way it was intended.

Our standard for determining if the universe is well-designed is entirely based on whether it managed to turn out the way that it did.  And, of course, the odds of it turning out the way that it did, whether on purpose or accidental, are 100%.

None of this is to imply that God or existence does not have what we label as intelligence.  Far from it.  What it does show is that the means by which everything was created (spontaneous creation versus random creation over billions of years versus somewhere in between) cannot from our perspective be a determiner of existence’s intelligence so much as the final results themselves.

With an “I Am” outlook, because it allows for a more natural view of God (see my articles on “Losing My Religion” and “I’m a Christian and I Don’t Believe in Miracles”), the “how” the universe was actually formed becomes far less significant than the “what.” By looking at the “what” of the universe that was formed we get a better picture of what existence, or God, is like.  Regardless of how creation was formed, for example, the universe still did end up with what we label as intelligent, personal beings.

In other words, how the monkeys managed to type up an entire story is far less significant than the story the monkeys actually wrote.Monkey-typing

So what can we know about existence?

For one, we know that existence is “alive’ because life exists.  Life could not exist if it was not written into the very code of existence.

There is much debate about how life actually began.  Some believe that life simply began as an abnormality to the otherwise mechanical code of the universe.  Like with the monkeys with typewriters, with so many billions of potential combinations over billions of years such an abnormal combination was ultimately inevitable.  But it was inevitable because existence allowed it to be.  For in order for such a combination or “abnormality” to take place there must be a rule within the law of existence for this to be able to even happen.  There must be a law that says if x + y takes place, then the exception of life begins, and furthermore, that defines and allows for “inevitable” in the first place.

In other words, life cannot be an abnormality to existence itself because nothing can be outside of the law of existence.  And if life was inevitable, even if through billions of combinations, it was because existence ultimately called for it.

It can be said similarly of person-hood.  Existence is personal because persons exist.

The ability to have relationship and to love and dream and learn and be self-aware are not some type of higher quality than original existence because nothing can be higher than existence.

Even if these qualities had progressed from the original “primitive” state of matter, they progressed because existence allowed it to be so and even said for it to be so.  Even if the development of these qualities in humankind was due to selection and survival, with such traits giving creatures practicing them a sort of “upper=hand,” so to speak, it is because existence ruled it so.  In other words, existence favored these traits.

“Love” would not exist if not a quality of existence.  People, and even all creatures, would not relate if it was not written into existence’s code.  How would self-awareness even be possible in people, if self-awareness did not exist at least as a concept of existence to begin with?

Interestingly, there are some who preach that ultimately the personal qualities of mankind are really nothing special and only a combination of complex mechanical gene interactions, not realizing they are teaching a contradiction.  For what does that say about the “mechanical” universe itself?

Maybe “love” is just an electrical chemical phenomenon; but we still call it “love.”  Perhaps “relationships” are just similar genetic codes working together for self-survival, but we still label it “relationship.”  “Intelligence” might be nothing more than cells interacting with the surrounding environment, but we still call it “intelligence.”

Perhaps people are ultimately only machines, programmed by the billions of codes in the universe, but we still name them “persons.”  So how can we then claim that existence itself, and consequently God, cannot be personal because it is nothing but complex mechanizations of code?

And regardless of what you think about the existence’s ability to love, relate, dream or have other such personal qualities, at its root levels it still ultimately does all these things.  For even if it took billions of years to get there, it was existence that created men and women who fall in love, and existence that created children who dream, and existence that created the artist who paints, or the author who writes, or the student who learns.

Existence loves, existence dreams, existence creates beauty, existence tells stories, existence learns and existence is alive.  And because existence lives, God lives.  And because existence relates, God relates.

No one proclaims that love is not real because it cannot yet be proven scientifically.  Nor if there ever was a full scientific explanation, would we ever proclaim it not real at that point either.  It is real because we witness it.  In the same way, God is real.

There are some who propose, as a way of increasing the odds by increasing the number of “monkeys,” the idea of multi-universes.  They state that the universe we live in is just one of many universes out there, and thus the type of universe we ended up with is merely one possible combination out of many.  But if that is the case, and our amazing, living, personal universe is just one possibility, how much even more amazing is the whole of existence?

If you want to see at least a glimpse of God and know just a part of what he is like, look around you at the universe we know of. 

You can see God in the billions of stars interspersed throughout the universe.  You can hear him in the laughter of a child being loved on by his mother.  You can see him in the rings that glow around Saturn.  You can witness him in a dancer who glides with the beautiful music that permeates the air.  You can see him in the rays that burst from the sun.  You can enjoy him in animal cubs that joyfully play.  You can see him in the mountain ranges that majestically stand against the landscape.

You can sense him in the storyteller, whether through a book or a play or a movie, who shares about adventure and love and danger and triumph.  There is more to it than just mechanical code, though scientifically you may be able to explain it that way.  It is the person of God on display.

–Adapted from Rethinking God: Because God is Bigger, Closer and More Real Than You Think.

Author’s Update (12/20/15): If you have any questions about what I wrote above, I encourage you to see some of my reply comments below.  I provide further clarification on some of the issues.  Also, would love to hear your feedback and questions.

9 Comments

  1. So, I understand, I think, what you’re saying but that doesn’t mean it makes sense. I think I would also fundamentally disagree with the assertions made about existence. First I think I would address the part I find annoying. It’s probably because it’s an almost post modern approach of thinking.

    You say that ID is circular reasoning and in order to do that you change the rules. It’s like me saying math is circular reasoning because you were only able to solve this equation because math works the way it does in this existence but there could have been another existence where math worked differently and then that math would work on it’s own rules. That’s kind of absurd… Man, text sounds so much harsher than I intend to convey so don’t take this as if I was mad and yelling or something. Instead image me with a look of confusion and trying to help a friend by pointing out that’s just not the way these things work, but not in a condescending tone. ID is a non-religious scientific viewpoint. I wouldn’t say “I believe in intelligent design” either, it’s not something I would put belief “into” like I would say that I put belief “into” God. But I do believe the scientific theories around ID make a much better scientific case for the arise of life and current state than does evolution. So when speaking with friends who have scientific background I’ll make points based in ID. The basic premise, because I don’t think it’s well represented here, is that under strict scientific terms we only observe information deriving from “intelligent” sources. DNA is such a complex well ordered set of information that the natural scientific conclusions must be there was an intelligent source from which this information came. It makes no specific religious points, in fact some ID scientists believe those sources are aliens and we just don’t have enough information to even postulate how they came into existence while rejecting any supernatural source, that is, a source beyond the time-space continuum. Furthermore, no other existences or possibilities are relevant. As we know existence from within time-space there are boundaries, laws, and confines by which we must derive all continuing function and form. In that space we must remain confined in order to speak scientifically or everything is a pointless “because God just did it” which doesn’t really get us anywhere. In fact a false claim oft laid at the feet of Christians is that if they believe in God they can’t come to correct scientific conclusions. Quite the opposite is actually true and can be seen in nearly every founder of major scientific branches. Sidenote: The story of Matthew Maury, the father of oceanography, is quite interesting.

    I might have been more disappointed by my own expectations after reading the title “I’m a Christian and I Don’t Believe in Intelligent Design” because I was thinking “oh, he’s going to talk about how a bunch of Christians go off and put faith in this thing or that which proves their worldview of God instead of putting faith into God through his word or something.”

    On my disagreement about the assertions of existence. I don’t think that existence could have been any other way. God has limits. I love pointing this out to other Christians. I like to ask what are things God cannot do? I always grin when I get the answer “God can do anything!” Especially when they puff up and have that indignant tone. I reply “God cannot sin.” They usually deflate a bit and say something like “okay sure” thinking I’m just messing with them. But I go on to contend that God cannot be illogical. I mean that in a philosophy/math logic not a “make sense” logic. God also cannot be anything other than he is. That is to say he’s immutable in character. God cannot make the number one anything other than the number one. I don’t mean our language/term. I mean the fundamental basic principles of math. These attributes of God are why things turned out the way they did because when he created the universe the universe had to conform to the attributes of God; In doing so it expressed what we call physics which can be understood through maths which is just another language to describe fundamental properties existence. I will grant, if you wanted to push, that we could have been created in another form or dimensionality and that would have been a different existence in perception but I would point out the way the dimensions and physics worked in that other existence would still be the same and only our form would have been different.

    Lastly I “honestly think” I was left with a universalism feeling and that perturbed me. I don’t think anyone can see God by looking at stars, or any other part of the wonderful beautiful pieces of creation. They can see the attributes. It’s like saying to someone “If you walked into Micah’s office and took a good look around you ‘saw Micah.’ ” You might be able to know there is a Micah because I have an office and it’s messy with some order, has computer parts, a guitar, a file cabinet with music stored away, bookshelves, etc. So you might be able to learn about me but knowing my office is not knowing me. In the same way knowing creation is not knowing God. It should lead you to know that God exists and point you to Him but _it_ is not _Him_. Romans 1:20 illustrates this accountability for knowing God because you can see creation but the Bible make clear that the creation is not God. It’s a bit word nit picky but I thought quite fair considering how nit picky the whole “what is intelligence” got.

    I don’t want to end on complete criticism, I love your blog. It’s the only blog I’ve ever kept reading for more than a month. I appreciate and treasure your honesty. I sincerely hope you read this in the context I intended which was as a disagreeing brother in Christ who enjoyed the conversation and affirms the statement “Where two agree, one is redundant.” ;-Þ Your responses would also be very interesting to me and welcomed.

    • Steve Baldwin

      December 18, 2015 at 8:36 am

      Thanks, Micah for your comments. You do not need to apologize at all. I fully expected feedback and criticism on this one. 1st, because while I have a great deal of confidence in what I’ve come to believe in “rethinking God” I’ve had very little confidence for quite some time in whether I can actually adequately express those beliefs. There’s a reason that I’m writing an entire book about it – because it actually takes the full length of it to adequately explain it. While I don’t think it’s a major theological shift (and I spend a great deal of time in the book demonstrating that), it’s still a pretty big paradigm shift in terms of how we actually think about God – thus, it takes a while to bring people on a sort of journey.

      Secondly, one of my self-criticisms with the blog is that my posts have been too long. As always, a person’s strengths are often his greatest weakness. My greatest strength is that I have a passion for wanting people to clearly understand things. My greatest weakness, is I want people to clearly understand things; consequently, I get too verbose in my writings. Therefore, starting with this one, I’m working on shortening the posts, recognizing that it may leave some things un-clarified and relying on the comments section to provide more clarification – which, in blog world, is not such a bad thing.

      All that is a long way of saying (ironically), I’m excited about your feedback and don’t consider it harsh at all. One of the primary purposes of the blog was to test the waters for principles in my book so I could get feedback from others and adjust where necessary. If you have not had a chance yet to read the chapters I’ve released so far from the book, I strongly encourage you to do so. While, it’s only a portion of it, it may give you a better idea of where I am coming from; plus, I’d welcome your feedback on that as well.

      Now, as to your actual points. To be clear, I actually am a strong proponent of ID theory; it’s just that I think it currently is flawed. That flaw is primarily semantics. While semantics can often be nit-picky, in this case I believe it can have a big effect on how ideas are perceived and is one the reasons ID theory doesn’t have as much of an impact as you’d think it would on certain segments of the population.

      I once heard a dialogue between an apologist and an atheist. The apologist brought up the idea of the odds of Earth’s distance from the sun being just right for the creation of life and the atheist responded, “So what. It is what it is.” It made no difference to him because whether there was guided “intelligence” behind it or random odds was simply irrelevant by the fact it just was. Neither answer was going to change the fact that Earth’s distance was exactly where it was.

      Yes, I agree that there are markers of complexity in DNA demonstrating an “intelligent” source. The problem comes in actually measuring that. For if you are going to measure something as “intelligent” you also have to equally have the possibility of measuring it as “unintelligent.” This is where we run into problems.

      So let’s take the “creator” of the universe, whether by that we mean actually God, or aliens, or simply scientific principles that helped to initiate the creation of the universe (or in particular the singularity that started it all; ie the Theory of Everything) – the main point being that this “creator” is the ultimate source of everything. Nothing is before it or above it. Yes, we can choose, based on our scientific observations of the universe, to label that “creator” as intelligent; but is it even possible to label it as unintelligent? Without being able to do so then “intelligence” has no meaning. An IQ test would have no meaning if it was impossible to get any answers wrong.

      For if you were to label the creator as “unintelligent” in it’s designs then you have suddenly placed a higher standard above this creator by which you can judge it. It no longer is the original source because there is now a higher source. If by creator you mean “God,” then you are no longer talking about the actual God because then there is a higher “god” by which you can judge him. (side note: this is where in the book I get into equating God with existence because we otherwise tend to unwittingly equate God with something less than the highest source of everything, which in turn causes us to judge him. No time to get into all of that here, but just to give you an idea of where I go with it).

      Thus, just like you say about all the things God can’t do, the one other thing God can’t do is be “unintelligent.” Likewise, it could be said of whatever anybody considers to be the ultimate source of the universe. Therefore, it renders the word “intelligent” meaningless. Everything just is what it is. Again, this is really an argument about semantics because I could easily argue (as I essentially do toward the end of the post) that if we label certain qualities we as humans have as “intelligence” (even if they can scientifically be demonstrated) then we should just as easily be able to label the source of the universe as having “intelligence.”

      At issue is that we all tend to think in either/or. Either the universe was created supernaturally by an intelligent creative being or everything was created by indifferent scientific principles. We have a hard time seeing both at once. What ID theorists see as an intelligent source, naturalists see equally as nothing but indifferent natural laws with no reason to call it “intelligent.” The first part of my post was merely my concession to why many of them may see it that way.

      As to your comment about universalism. The risk of sounding like that (or like a panantheist) is something I recognized a long time ago and I specifically address, not in the post, but in the book. I specifically point out that I do not equate God, or existence, with creation itself. God as the “I Am” is the invisible underlying source law behind everything in the universe. Everything that was created is merely a reflection of the attributes of the invisible God but not God himself (the one exception being Jesus Christ, who was the perfect full reflection of the invisible God). So, yes, it’s also a question of semantics when I refer to “seeing” God. I’m really talking about his attributes, so your criticism is duly noted. I had chosen to say “see” because when you think about it (other than gazing upon the physical presence of Christ) there really is no other way to see an invisible God, so looking at his attributes is closest way we get to seeing him.

      (Another side note: when I refer to God as an invisible source law, it tends to make God sound impersonal, like “the Force” from Star Wars. I also spend a great deal of time in the book trying to demonstrate how God, as the source law, is actually the most intimate, loving, personal being there is. That’s the “I’ part of the “I Am”).

      I hope that answers some of your questions but feel free to give further feedback, questions, etc. I think we are really on the same page, more or less. I’m walking a fine line on this either/or scenario of supernatural vs natural and it’s really hard to get across (or even understand myself sometimes).

      • That does add a lot of clarity. I’m glad you received that well! I think I read the first chapter when you put it up but unless the other chapters were posted as posts I might have missed them; I’ll look!

        The intelligence question I still don’t agree with though. I sort of see you’re semantic point I’m just coming from a different angle and I think the semantics fit. I mean the word intelligence in a non-personal way. Not something that could necessarily be tested but than can be shown by it’s remnant evidence. If you walked into my basement and saw on the floor a sentence spelled from the toy letters my kids play with you would be able to say aha this is evidence of intelligence. You wouldn’t need to test the dog and each kid to determine which had the minimum intelligence able to have created the information. Mostly because that’s irrelevant the who doesn’t change the facts that an intelligence was required. The ID theory doesn’t attempt to identify but merely show that something of intelligence created life, because life is dependent on information. You see the premise goes in the other direction. We know, scientifically speaking, that the only creator of information is intelligence. We don’t look for or try to test the intelligence we look for information. The SETI project in fact depends on that fact to find proof of extra terrestrial intelligence. Information has some fundamental attributes one being order. We also know from natural law that order decays into chaos, not the other way around. There was actually a big convention of scientists that called a conference to call the evolutionary biologists to the carpet because the math just doesn’t work once we discovered DNA, they adjourned planning to redress the issues after more information about DNA was available expecting it to prove evolution as they knew it wrong due to the mathematical impossibilities it presented. I’m trying to remember what it was called, been a few years since I learned about it though. On a similar note an actual study with monkeys was done and amazingly they didn’t even produce a single word. Remarkable since it only required three characters; space, i, and space. Not counting spaces they didn’t even have a two letter word like on, or, me, it, etc. Not even something that we consider to have some intelligence would fit this definition of intelligence. So I understand the quibble about the word intelligence but it’s only because you’re looking from intelligence to design and not from design to intelligence.

        • Steve Baldwin

          December 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm

          Those are good points, Micah. To go with your toy letters in the basement illustration I would add that the reason you are able to decipher intelligence from the sentence is because you would have already pre-assigned meaning to the order of those letters. You, and society, have already determined ahead of time through the development of language what sequence of letters provide any kind of information and, therefore, signify any kind of intelligence. Now, if you & I were archaeologists and walked into the “basement” of a newly discovered remote civilization (for which we have no knowledge or outside information regarding their language) and discovered a series of what look like could be letters arranged in a sequence, we might be able to determine that intelligence created the letters but we would have no way of knowing if intelligence actually put the letters in that particular order. It could have been a person from that civilization that put them in that order or it could have simply been natural elements over time. Thus, the words have no predetermined meaning to us at that point and, therefore, give us no basis for making a claim that it was intelligently written.

          Likewise our toy letters in the basement example works when you are able to base it off of predetermined judgments (which involve pre-existing causes), but we start to run into problems when we start talking about the “first cause” of the universe, for which we can have no predetermined judgments. Your predetermined judgments for intelligence can only be determined by drawing from information that existed AFTER or as a result of the first cause. This is where you start to run into a circular argument. You have a series of letters that have no prior meaning. You decide to give them meaning by assigning the order they are in to represent a certain action, object, etc. Then you say, “Aha, these letters had meaning all along because they are in an order that is obviously meaningful!”

          Now, truth be told, I’m playing a bit of devil’s advocate in all of this…or a least sort of. Sort of, because rather than believing one side and arguing the other, I see both sides equally. We are looking at it from 2 different angles, but so does a large percentage of the population. I see both and am simply arguing from one side to help push thinking both ways. I think there is a lot to ID theory and, in fact, as one who advocates that theists take seriously the sciences, think it is a very positive step in the right direction. After all, even in my example of the archeological find of letters, you still have to ask why the letters were in any kind of lined up order at all. Perhaps, saying use of the word “intelligence” is flawed isn’t the right statement but rather that it is inadequate.

          I actually still use the word “intelligent” to describe God often. I found myself several times in the book in the awkward position of using it to describe God several times (recognizing I appeared to be contradicting myself) because I simply could find no other way to describe that aspect of God. I would never actually say God is unintelligent. I think he obviously is the most intelligent being there is. I could also just as easily dissect the words “good,” “powerful,” “righteous,” etc and say there is no pre-existing measurement for that outside of God also. But I certainly often use all of those. The Bible does. But the question is whether they are truly adequate. That is the significance of the name “I Am.” No other name could possibly adequately describe God then to simply say he is “what is.”

          My goal is to challenge our thinking a bit from both sides of the aisles. There are 2 opposite ends of the spectrum: those that believe creation could have only come about the through intentional guidance (thus needing an intelligent being), and those that believe it came about as the result of “random,” natural law in play (thus no “intelligent” being necessary). My argument is that it can be both at once, depending on the angle you are looking at it. Notice in my original post, I shifted gears from essentially arguing one way and then to the other. The “I Am” perspective attempts to look at both at the same time.

          Best illustration I can think of is to see how we look at a human being. On one side of the spectrum you can see that person for all his qualities: his personality, his dreams and passions, his intelligence, his creativity, the way he loves, etc and say that’s what makes the person who he is. On the other side of the spectrum is to look at him purely scientifically and see him as nothing but mechanized DNA code in play (or selfish genes as Dawkins would analyze it). When he feels emotions or tries to solve a problem, etc different parts of the brain light up, so to speak, in order to produce the thoughts or resulting actions. You could describe that person as having intelligence or as simply having electrochemical processes that transfer through neurons in the brain. Neither one is more right or wrong. Both can be true at once. If we can say that about a human being, then why can’t both sides be true about the universe, or specifically the source of the universe as well?

          Thanks for the good conversation and challenge. Please feel free to keep it coming, whether here or in other posts.

          • Actually the words have meaning and significance whether we understand it or not. I can see what you’re saying about circular reasoning but I very much disagree. Using that type of reasoning virtually everything goes beyond explainable. On that basis I would reject the argument philosophically. It also means I have to be strict and say I also reject the argument that creationists use, and I’ve fallen into spouting before too. It says “Science as we know it currently rejects anything supernatural and therefore cannot come to any other conclusion than God doesn’t exist. So we must reject any of science’s ontological worldviews.” So both ID and evolution are victims from the other sides in claiming a circular reasoning then rejecting them. Even if we allowed both arguments to stand, something after this discussion I’d be tempted to entertain as well. I think ID is scientifically sound providing better factual explanations for things we can observe. Both do not answer first cause. ID hints at it and evolution doesn’t attempt it, at least not by serious science within the last 50 years.

            I was using a simple analogy but if we wanted to take it further it would be more like digging up a star trek replicator that still produced earl grey, much like the overwhelmingly complex and mechanical nature, at the microscopic level, of cells. The deductive scientific explanations lead to a conclusion that is beyond the possibility of the natural laws.

          • Steve Baldwin

            December 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

            “I think ID is scientifically sound providing better factual explanations for things we can observe. Both do not answer first cause. ID hints at it…”

            I agree with this statement and that’s entirely my initial point (though I can see where my post title would make it sound otherwise – because it was designed to have shock value like my other post titles). But I think we are getting too hung up in discussion of this initial set up point and missing out on the main point of the post – which is that even where ID can only hint at first cause and even for those who reject ID entirely as insufficient for proving an intelligent creator, there is still evidence in creation for a personal, intimate, and yes even intelligent, creator by simply what we can observe openly and outright in the character of creation itself.

            The early founders of our faith did not have ID theory available at their disposal and yet they still believed in a personal, intelligent creator God. Yes, some may say that they were believing out of ignorance, but I think think there is more to it than that. I think they were honest about the very personal nature of all of creation itself. Add in the fact they dared to enter into relationship with its source and they discovered this source interacted back.

            A naturalist who rejects ID theory might look at a person as entirely mechanized DNA code (or selfish genes) but that still doesn’t cause them to refuse to call it a person and that still doesn’t cause them to refuse to call it relationship.

            Thus, even for those who consider ID theory to fall short (because whether you agree with their conclusions or not, there are still plenty with that mindset), there is still reason to believe in an intelligent, loving, creative God.

          • Um, yes, exactly… So right on it makes me nearly forget what the minor points of disagreement were further up in the thread. :-þ

            I am passionate about apologetics and have to really push out my desire to dive into anything scientific when in those discussions. Mostly because my faith has nothing to do with it and I just enjoy the science talk so it’s a struggle to not want to just get chatty about it. In apologetics I stick to the philosophic foundations that are based in scripture through reason to make a case for God. That being said I have many science literate friends that I really enjoy the scientific discussions with and point them to God and ID and holes in this theory or that and some of the young earth views with the time distortion possibilities and have a blast but I never end those conversations with “See now you know there has to be a God.”

  2. Have you been reading a bunch of Catholic metaphysics? This is your only work I’ve ever read, but it reminds me of the metaphysics/ontology from the JPII Institute in DC. Heard of Ferdinand Ulrich (http://www.communio-icr.com/files/oster37-4.pdf) or von Balthasar (The Glory of God)?

Join the discussion. Please tell me what you honestly think. My comment policy is simple: you are welcome to disagree with me or others on here as long as you do it with respect (no insults, personal attacks, etc). Of course, if you'd like to tell me how awesomely wonderful my points are then you make my unofficial favorite commenter's list. ;-)

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