Thursday, December 08, 2016

The difference between ID and creationism

The difference between ID and creationism isn't so much what they believe (although in ID there is no attempt to underwrite biblical literalism scientifically), but rather concerns what science can show. There is a difference between something being created and being designed. Plato believe that the natural world showed signs of design, but his philosophy made the Demiurge (his designer) only a designer, and not the creator of the basic stuff of the world. The idea is that we have ways of figuring out if things are designed (think about the way we decide whether someone is cheating at cards--- was the arrangement of cards you got from the deck designed or not designed by the dealer), and if we follow those rules, you get a positive result for design in nature. 

1 comment:

Jo F said...

I suppose the design argument really comes down to explaining this coincidence:

People have demonstrated examples of intelligent invention that have, in a vast number of ways, been revealed as having independently arisen in the natural world.

But there's another, deeper argument that's on better grounds for evading abstruse objections, that of inference from instantiations of biological complexity to an Intelligent Source. Antony Flew, for example, found the emergence of human life from inorganic materials improbable on naturalism, while being well-informed and praised for his objectivity in the past while he was still the worlds most influential atheist (before the philosophically incompetent Richard Dawkins, of course). I think Moreland's formulation of the arguments from consciousness, for example, do provide significant justification for theism.

Now, these are not to be dismissed as appeals to ignorance (God-of-the-gaps), as there is quite a lot of difference between that and: looking for the best explanation for phenomena we observe in the natural world. While I agree that we should exhaust all probable naturalistic explanations, there comes a point where it's time to consider supernaturalistic ones (i.e. when naturalistic inferences become inapplicable or patently inadequate)

The main issue I have with the so called "ID Theory" is that you can hardly have a meaningful discussion with someone about it without subjecting yourself to the emotionally laden debate on biological macroevolution by natural selection VS Christianity (I perceive no conflict there, except what is superficial, I should add--and as Plantinga argues, I think there is significant conflict between naturalism and contemporary biology...though I think the arguments from reason are less, well, unstable). ID is so often mistaken as an argument against evolution rather than as evidence for God--the latter is what matters in this philosophical endeavor. In fact, it is so profoundly misunderstood that I feel it ought to be abandoned entirely, but there are better reasons for my thinking this:

The other common criticism is that it is not science, as it attempts to infer a metaphysical explanation outside of the methodological naturalism of science. Of course, what matters is whether these inferences are veridical, not whether the terms are correct.

It seems to me that the ID movement has come about through well meaning, albeit, philosophically naive theologians. I say leave the natural theology to the analytic philosophers.