Re: I have felt I have had to leave the ID movement due to my advocacy of common ancestry
I wish to announce that I have left the ID movement, my position having
become increasingly untenable, due to my advocacy of of common ancestry
within ID, it being finally suggested by Phil Johnson that I leave.
While the ID movement's *official* position is that "intelligent design is
compatible with ... God seamlessly melding all organisms together into one
great tree of life":
"Where does intelligent design fit within the creation-evolution
debate? Logically, intelligent design is compatible with everything
from utterly discontinuous creation (e.g., God intervening at every
conceivable point to create new species) to the most far-ranging
evolution (e.g., God seamlessly melding all organisms together into
one great tree of life). For intelligent design the primary question is
not how organisms came to be (though, as we've just seen, this is a
vital question for intelligent design) but whether organisms
demonstrate clear, empirically detectable marks of being
intelligently caused. In principle an evolutionary process can exhibit
such `marks of intelligence' as much as any act of special creation."
(Dembski W.A., "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science
and Theology," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1999,
in fact ID's *real* position is that of the later Phil Johnson (see tagline),
which is still heavily influenced by Biblical literalism, the earlier Phil
Johnson himself in 1993 claiming that "The `evolution of human beings from
apes' is not an unacceptable hypothesis for me":
"Since Hasker speculates about my own subjective leanings, I will
try to satisfy his curiosity. The `evolution of human beings from
apes' is not an unacceptable hypothesis for me. Obviously, God
could have made humans unmistakably distinct from other creatures
and did not do so. The hypothesis of LCA [Literal Common
Ancestry] was bold but justifiable as of 1859, if it were stated in
testable form rather than as a dogma. Subsequent investigation,
when evaluated without extreme Darwinist bias, establishes that
LCA is disconfirmed for the plant and animal kingdoms as a whole,
and also in this specific case. Even if `evolution' in some vague
MCA [Metaphororical Common Ancestry] sense should turn out to
be the true explanation of the similarities between apes and humans,
Darwinian science has only wild speculation to offer to explain the
unique human characteristics: relative hairlessness, upright posture,
and especially human consciousness. I do not know whether I am a
`progressive creationist.' For the time being, I am content to say
that, however God chose to create, it was not by neo-Darwinist
LCA." (Johnson P.E., "Response to Hasker", Christian Scholar's
Review, Vol. XXII, No. 3, 1993, pp.297-304, p.302.
but by 2002, common ancestry for Johnson had become (or maybe always
was) "a fantastic proposition" (see tagline).
As I wrote (with some minor changes) in my final message on ID's mailing
list, commenting on the tagline quote from Johnson's "The Right Questions":
"The supreme irony is that Phil thinks he avoided Dawkins' trap,
when in reality he fell right into it! After Phil denied common
ancestry, Dawkins did not *need* to continue with any "series of
follow-up questions designed to tighten the noose". That's why
Dawkins *asked* the question "would [Phil] admit that humans and
lobsters share a common ancestor"? Of *course* Dawkins expected
Phil to deny it, fitting Dawkins' stereotype of ID just being the
latest variant of Biblical literalism (Dawkins says something like
that in his foreword to a recent book "How to Keep Dinosaurs"
(http://makeashorterlink.com/?T2E362558). Now if Phil had instead
inserted a wedge between common descent and evolution (as I do:
that would *really* have rattled Dawkins!
As it was, Dawkins was probably *overjoyed* that Phil had
obligingly accepted `his part in the play that the Darwinists had
written for him'. You see, Phil, not being a biologist, really doesn't
realise how strong the evidence for common ancestry is. But
Dawkins does, and he no doubt thinks that if Phil denies that,
then there is no need to argue him out of it.
Phil is simply *wrong* all through this. I (for one) am not a
materialist or an evolutionist (and nor is Mike Behe) and I accept
common ancestry on the basis of the *evidence*. Dawkins *did*
"have scientific evidence stemming from" his "specialized
knowledge as a zoologist that ought to convince someone who does
not already share" his "belief" in common ancestry, namely "the
universality of the genetic code and other biochemical
fundamentals". The genetic code *is* AFAIK universal, except for
a *very* minor exception or two, and only at the level of codons,
not at nucleotides.
It is a Fallacy of False Dilemma for Phil to claim that it is either: 1)
"a common designer" or 2) "a common physical ancestor"; because
there is a third alternative, 3) "a common designer" who *realised* His
design through "a common physical ancestor". Does Phil *really*
claim that physical reproduction is not designed?"
However, as I also wrote:
"I am not bitter, more *relieved*. I will not go out of my way to
attack the ID movement (and I still believe in the work of Bill
Dembski and Mike Behe), and of course in *design*, but where I
consider that ID merits criticism, e.g. in its claim not to be
influenced by Biblical literalism, but denying common ancestry
primarily on those grounds) I will feel free to make it.
I will continue to pray for the ID movement, as I continue to
pray for the ICR and AIG, in its struggle against materialism-
naturalism, the *real* enemy."
I will probably leave my "Complete' web links: "Phillip E. Johnson"
(http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pjurls.html), "Michael J. Behe"
(http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/idbehemj.html) & "William A.
Dembski" (http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/iddembsk.html), but
de-emphasise them by moving them off my home page. They are way
out of date anyway.
To those IDists on CED who may feel let down, I have not become an
anti-IDist, more like a post-IDist. If you advocate ID on CED, you
need fear no attack from me, but rather *support*.
I can now concentrate more on writing my book "Problems of
Evolution" (http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html), so I
regard this as just part of the "all things [that] work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose" (Rom 8:28).
As I wrote privately to an IDist friend:
"Its like the kid growing up and leaving home"!
"Dawkins tried a variant of this `fatal concession' ploy on me in an e-mail
conversation by demanding to know if I would admit that humans and
lobsters share a common ancestor. if I had agreed to such a fantastic
proposition (the supposed `fact' of evolution), I would have left myself with
no logical basis for doubting any other Darwinian claim, and Dawkins
would have had grounds to insinuate that I must be only pretending to
disbelieve. Dawkins had ready a series of follow-up questions designed to
tighten the noose, but I changed the subject, asking: `On what basis are you
so confident that the hypothetical common ancestor of lobsters and humans
is not merely an artifact of evolutionary theory but actually lived on the
earth? My understanding is that your confidence is founded on philosophy,
specifically on your belief in materialism and reductionism. That is what
permits you to proclaim 'Universal Darwinism,' that is, that something like
Darwinian evolution must be the explanation for the existence of complex
life even on distant planets where we can make no observations. Am I
correct, or do you have scientific evidence stemming from your specialized
knowledge as a zoologist that ought to convince someone who does not
already share your belief that the existence of this ancestor is a
philosophical necessity?' Dawkins responded that `the reason we know for
certain we are all related, including bacteria, is the universality of the
genetic code and other biochemical fundamentals. Philosophical
commitment to materialism and reductionism is true, but I would prefer to
characterize it as philosophical commitment to real explanation as opposed
to complete lack of explanation, which is what you espouse.' I knew then
that I had turned the tables on Dawkins and induced him to accept a fatal
premise that must undermine his position in any extended public debate.
That `universal genetic code' is not truly universal, but the more important
point is that biochemical similarities, like the musical similarities in
Beethoven's symphonies, may be evidence of a common designer rather
than a common physical ancestor. By appealing to the philosophical
question of what constitutes a real explanation, Dawkins had conceded that
the fundamental question was outside the professional domain of biology."
(Johnson P.E., "The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate,
InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, pp.82-83)
Stephen E. Jones http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones