Keep Intelligent Design Theory out of Schools….

No catch, I am firmly against Intelligent Design Theory ( IDT).

Read Dembski’s Article

Now read my review

Dembski, William A. What every theologian should know about creation, evolution and design
1995-2002. Leadership U

Summary

In his work, Dembski seeks to give a clear alternative to both Creationism and Darwinism. His stated goal is

my aim in this talk is to make the design theorists’ critique of Darwinism intelligible, and I hope even compelling, to the contemporary theologian. In particular, I wish to show that the design theorists’ critique constitutes a genuine challenge for contemporary theology, and is not rightly dismissed by a one-liners like, “Design commits the god-of-the-gaps fallacy” or “Design violates the rules of science.”  (Dembski 1995, 1)

To achieve this aim, Dembski attempts give a clear outline of the thoughts of his camp. To do this, Dembski strives to disassociate Intelligent Design Theory (IDT) from creationism. He also seeks to give substance to the evolutionist position in order to build academic respect for IDT. Moreover, Dembski gives strong attack to the thought of theistic evolution, which he deems a poor accommodation to Darwinism. He eventually does begin to actually define his camp -as that which sees in science a clear universal design, which has purpose. Next, in bulk of the work, Dembski strives to build a respectable position of IDT, in contrast to a Blind Watchmaker Theory (BWT) which holds a naturalistic purposeless process. This position he strives to build is done in such a way that appeals (potentially) to Darwinists who have discredited his position.
Dembski seeks to summarize the purpose of his work in the need to work with the confines of the scientific community to bring about change. Dembski focuses on the need to give IDT respect in the scientific community. He never seeks to build respect for the IDT in the creationist community. For Dembski, we must “get rid of our metaphysical blinders.” (Dembski 1995, 11)

Evaluation
Dembski strives to adequately introduce his work as substance that will engage theologians in a way that will introduce them to IDT. Moreover Dembski states that he will strive to give proper understanding to the relation between science and theology. As the work will be evaluated in full, it serves only to say that Dembski falls short of engaging theologians, or giving illumination to the relation between science and theology.
Dembski does spend much effort to explain that IDT has no relation to creationism in any form. Dembski is very eager to point out that IDT will not base any scientific position on Genesis 1 or 2. By excluding young earth, old earth, and progressive creationism; Dembski distances his position from every conservative evangelical position as well as historical Christianity. This seems to put IDT in a theistic evolutionist position. To deny this, Dembski diligently attacks any alleged connection with theistic evolutionist by displaying theistic evolutionists as an allowance to Darwinism which leads to divinely directed pointlessness in the universe. However, it seems that Dembski is advocating that IDT is theistic evolution with purpose, thus desiring to coin it as creationism. He offers no alternative to this deduction.
Dembski does attempt to discredit Darwinism by giving clear examples of major flaws in it. He also strives to discredit traditional creationism, particularly the young earth theory. Dembski sites a Gallop poll that 50% of Americans hold to creationism and 40% Theistic evolution, while only 9% adhere to Darwinism. Ironically he has dismissed 90% of Americans as naive, and seeks to gain creditability with 9%. Considering that IDT refuses to examine Scripture as authoritative, seeks recognition on science alone, it is clear this work and the IDT view hold no substance with the orthodox Christian, much less the godless adherent to Darwinism. 700 years ago scientists knew the earth was flat, 300 years ago scientists knew the earth was the center of the universe, and for the last 200 years scientists have known Darwin is right. Therefore, Dembski has a flawed axiom and method in that he sees science as the foundation of discovering truth.

Reaction
Dembski has not aided in the understanding of the IDT for historical Christianity. If anything he has damaged it. Considering that the majority of theologians are creationists, Dembski has further damaged most willingness by theologians to consider his view. This work does give insight to the liberal quasi-Christian mindset. While moderates or liberals have distaste for the term “liberal quasi-Christian”, it must be noted that historically Christianity holds to the authority and functionality of Scripture, and therefore the Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Substitutionary atonement, and especially- Creation. Therefore any thought or group that goes left of the standard of historical Christianity, yields a “liberal quasi-Christian”, not Christian thought.

Regarding Dembski’s appeal to adherents of Darwinism, He seeks to gain a foothold in scientific academia. In doing this, Dembski is quick to disregard Scripture as authoritative and functional. Obviously his goal is to remove the barrier of Scripture as so Darwinists will be open to God, without encountering Christ. For the Christian, as Scripture (not religion) has withheld the scrutiny of science for thousands of years; Scripture must interpret science, not visa versa. By seeking to validate any Christian thought from science, Dembski sacrifices any Christian thought.

This work is helpful to prepare the church with the thought processes of a world not devoted to Scripture. By understanding how and why popular academia has the ontological presuppositions it hold, the Church should be equipped to respond with proper views regarding metaphysics, especially the imageo dei.

Further comment should be made regarding Dembski blatant mockery of traditional creationism. It must be a priority of any respectable biblical scholar to discover what Scripture says about itself, and moreover what the understanding of the original audience was. While there is obviously an element of faith regarding Scripture, it is noted that there is substantial evidence that support the claim of Scripture. Understanding that evidence eventually leads only to skepticism by the skeptic and support or proof by the believer, to the relativist- neither science nor Scripture is authoritative. Therefore for authoritative teaching, one must evaluate the validity of one presupposition or worldviews. Science (Darwinism) struggles with the purpose of life, root of emotions, complexity of thought, survival of “weak” species, universal practice of marriage, and unexplainable phenomenon (miracles)…and especially the origin of the cell
The wisest statement Dembski makes in this work is that “the ground rules of science have to be changed.” While this is true, it raises the questions, “How? Why?” .  There is a legitimate concern that IDT is theistic evolution baptized with Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.”

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About matthewstevens

Matt needs more Jesus...just like you. He writes to encourage thinking and the expansion of the Kingdom
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One Response to Keep Intelligent Design Theory out of Schools….

  1. Pingback: “The Church ignores science….so I left” « reflections of Matt Stevens

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