955Re: The ID movement
- Jul 29, 2001Dear Steve and Group:
"Stephen E. Jones" wrote:
> GroupYes, I agree with Steve about the Thaxton et al. book. In fact, I was aware of its
> On Fri, 20 Jul 2001 12:29:29 +1200, Donald Nield wrote:
> DN>Dear Group:
> >Below is the first of a series of extracts from my article "Intelligent
> >Design theory: the way forward?", Stimulus, volume 9, issue 2, May
> >2001, pp.8-13.
> >I invite you to comment on whether or not I have been accurate and fair
> >in this introduction to the ID movement.
> Thanks to Don for posting this series. I will respond to them all as time
> DN>The modern Intelligent Design (ID) movement was to a large extent
> >sparked off by the publication in 1985 of the book Evolution: A Theory in
> >Crisis by the Australian medical geneticist Michael Denton, who now
> >works at the University of Otago.
> SJ: This is a reasonable assumption, but I personally would claim that the
> modern ID movement began with the publication of Thaxton, Bradley and
> Olsen's "The Mystery of Life's Origin" in 1984. That book specifically
> mentioned non-supernatural intelligent agency:
> "Implicit in this [uniformitarian] assumption is the requirement that
> no supernatural agency 'entered nature' at the time of the origin,
> was crucial to it, and then withdrew from history." (Kenyon D.H. &
> Steinman G., "Biochemical Predestination," McGraw-Hill: New
> York, 1969, p.30). (Actually all that is required for this assumption
> is that no intelligent- purposive-interruption or manipulation of the
> workings of natural forces ever occurred at the time of life's origin
> or since.)" (Thaxton C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The
> Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," Lewis &
> Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, p.8)
> But Denton's book was certainly *very* important in highlighting the
> problems of Darwinian evolution.
importance, but I wanted to highlight Denton because I came back to him, in
connection with his 1998 book, later in my article.
>Thanks to Steve for the clarification on Ross. I believe that the interest in ID as
> DN>Today the leading lights are Phillip Johnson (lawyer), Michael Behe
> >(biochemist) and William Dembski (mathematician). Robert Pennock2
> >lists a couple of dozen other people who are also associated with the
> >movement, and it is noteworthy that virtually all are U.S. Americans
> >(Hugh Ross, a Canadian, is an exception).
> SJ: The predominance of Americans in the leadership of the ID movement is
> interesting. But the movement itself is international. Hugh Ross is not
> strictly speaking a member of the ID movement, and he has been publicly
> critical of ID for not being explicitly Christian.
a movement in the USA is directly linked with the constitutional difficulty of
teaching science and religion together in public schools in that country.
> DN>Several of those named have contributed to a proceedings of a Mere
> >Christianity conference3. Philosophers are represented in the movement
> >by William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, Paul Nelson and
> >Stephen C. Meyer.
> Plantinga is also not strictly speaking a member of the ID movement,
> although he is sympathetic to it. And Jay Richards (mentioned further
> down) is also a philosopher.
> DN>A person of particular interest is Jonathan Wells, of the Unification
> >Church, who has publicly stated that he has dedicated his life to
> >destroying Darwinism, and to that end has collected two PhD's, one in
> >Theology from Yale and the other in Biology from U.C. Berkeley. In a
> >recent book4 he attacks prominent arguments for evolution as presented
> >in current textbooks.
> SJ: Why is Wells singled out "of particular interest" just because he is a
> member "of the Unification Church" and because he "has publicly stated
> that he has dedicated his life to destroying Darwinism"? The ID movement
> is not a specifically Christian movement (it has at least one member,
> philosopher Todd Moody, who is not even a theist), and a number of
> members who are religious Jews. And that Wells has "dedicated his life to
> destroying Darwinism" is nothing strange, since Darwinism is the very
> antithesis of design, as Darwinists from Darwin to Dawkins have made
> *very* plain.
> SJ: BTW, I have reconsidered my previous decision not to respond to Don's
> critique of Wells' Icons of Evolution at:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/733 It
> was posted just before I went on holidays and on returning I had 500+
> messages to read and hence no time to respond to it. I still have no time to
> respond to it (!), but I now feel I am obligated to do so, since I have read
> Icons from cover to cover and I am familiar with Wells' thinking. As it
> happens I also am familiar with the Biology text (Campbell, Reece &
> Mitchell) hat Don referred to in his review, since it was the main textbook
> in my two Biology units last year. I hope to post my response (or at least
> the first part of it) in the next few days.
>I understand that. Steve will appreciate that I came on the document second hand,
> DN>Together with Nelson and Meyer, Wells now works at the
> Seattle>based Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and
> >Culture, which was founded in 1996. According to its web site
> >(www.crsc.org) the CRSC "strives to replace materialism and its
> >destructive cultural legacies with a positive alternative. The Center seeks
> >to develop a robust science for the twenty-first century, illuminated by an
> >empirically fruitful Theory of Intelligent Design [namely] a scientific
> >research program that seeks to detect intelligent causes in natural
> >systems, as well as apply the explanatory power of intelligent design to
> >empirical problems in scientific research".
> Sounds good! :-)
> DN>A CRSC document "The Wedge Strategy" started circulating on the
> >internet in 1998. This describes a 3-phase strategy to implement ID over
> >the next 5 then 20 years. Its goals are to "defeat scientific materialism and
> >its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies" and "replace
> >materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and
> >human beings are created by God." The document focuses on
> >overthrowing evolution, not from within the scientific establishments, but
> >through convincing the public that ID theory is the morally acceptable
> >one. Jay Richards , Director of Program Development for CRSC, has
> >admitted that much of the content of the document can be found in
> >Johnson's book Defeating Darwinism By Opening Minds (1995).
> SJ: While there was nothing in the document that was not already in the public
> domain, the document itself was an early draft which apparently some
> Darwinist `fishing' on the CRSC web site, struck it lucky. One can imagine
> the outraged indignation if a creationist or IDer did that to a Darwinist
> website. But apparently the end justifies the means for Darwinists (since no
> Darwinist, AFAIK has ever expressed even mild disapproval of the way
> this document was obtained)?
and it just helped to highlight the ID wedge agenda in my article.
>Perhaps. It seems significant to me, but then I am not a citizen of the USA.
> DN>Johnson has updated his arguments in a new book, The Wedge of
> >Truth (2000). In May 2000 the Discovery Institute sponsored a policy
> >briefing for Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington. The
> >speakers (Behe, Meyer, Nancy Pearcey, Dembski, Johnson) presented
> >their version of the scientific debate between Darwinian evolutionary
> >theory and intelligent design theory, and also addressed the social, moral
> >and political consequences of Darwinism.
> SJ: This policy briefing is often commented on. But there is nothing strange
> about members of Congress being fully informed about both sides of the
> `culture war' that rages in their electorates.
>If ID was just a *scientific* theory , and the debate about it was just a matter of
> DN>Thus it is not surprising that the ID movement is seen by many people
> >as the new face of Creationism, and that it has aroused opposition.
> SJ: How does that follow? The ID movement itself makes no claims for
> Creationism (in the Biblical sense). ID is strictly a *scientific* theory, i.e.
> that there is empirical evidence of design.
> That ID's opponents react to it as though it is just "the new face of
> Creationism" exposes their naturalist (i.e. anti-supernaturalist) agenda. And
> I include those so-called "Theistic Evolutionists" who are strongly opposed
> to ID, in this. There is no reason why true "Theistic Evolutionists" should
> be opposed to ID, unless they are strongly influenced by naturalistic
philosophy, then I would agree with Steve on this. However, to my mind IDT cannot
be separated from the ID political movement, and it seems to me that this is indeed
a continuation of the "creation science" movement, and both are concerned with what
is allowed to be taught in public schools in the USA.
>Thanks to Steve for the update on the Baylor situation.
> DN>This has been exemplified by the removal in October 2000 of
> >Dembski from his job as Director of the Michael Polanyi Institute at
> >Baylor University (in Waco, Texas) as a result of opposition from
> >members of the Biology faculty. The Institute had been formed the
> >previous year on the initiative of the President of the University, which is
> >a Southern Baptist institution.
> SJ: Yes. This showed the inroads that naturalism has made even in ostensibly
> Christian institutions like Baylor. However, it looks like Dembski is going
> to win that one:
> http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=11381 July 24, 2001
> Intelligent design advocate asserts reconciliation with Baylor
> faculty By Tammi Reed Ledbetter WACO, Texas (BP)--A
> prominent intelligent design advocate said July 23 that
> reconciliation with the faculty and administration of Baylor
> University could lead to positive dialogue on the relationship of
> science and religion. Associate research professor William
> Dembski's July 23 statement, released through the university's
> public relations office, praised the support he has received from
> Baylor President Robert Sloan and expressions of goodwill
> following a year of conflict ignited by Dembski's demotion as
> director of the Polanyi Center for Complexity, Information and
> Design. Rejecting allegations that intelligent design had suffered a
> setback at Baylor, Dembski stated that his own research on
> intelligent design "continues unimpeded and with the full support of
> the Baylor administration," and cited a growing interest in such
> study. "Despite the tensions of last fall, I have experienced a
> substantial reconciliation with Baylor faculty and administration,"
> he said, noting that he used the term reconciliation deliberately. "I
> am not referring merely to a cessation of hostilities or truce. I have
> experienced genuine goodwill on the part of the Baylor faculty and
> administration, and in particular from President Robert Sloan. ..."
> >2. Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New
> Creationism (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1999)
> >3. William A. Dembski (ed.), Mere Creation : Science, Faith & Intelligent
> Design (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1998)
> >4. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Revolution: Science or Myth? (Regnery
> Publishing., 2000)
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