Re: Where to find God
- gluadys: "...you exclude God from necessity (even though he made the properties which produce necessity) and you exclude God from chance, though Judaeo-Christian scripture tells us God decides chances and can express his purpose through chance events."
As a theist, I don't "exclude God from necessity." If "necessity" is taken to refer to natural laws, then I think God is the author of necessity. But that's something I think on the basis of my Christian faith, not on the basis of science, which holds that natural laws have a natural origin, not a supernatural origin.
I also don't "exclude God from chance." On the basis of my Christian faith, I think God is sovereign over chance, meaning that He allows chance events to occur in His creation. But if I thought that God directly caused every event in creation, then I would have to stop describing chance events as chance events. It is senseless to describe a chance event as an event caused by God. To "express his purpose," God no doubt has a purpose in allowing chance events to occur, but they would not be chance events if He caused (or otherwise controlled) their occurrence.
I can't recall any Biblical verses stating that "God decides chances and can express his purpose through chance events." Could you refer me to some?
gluadys: "...having excluded God from what we know, you wonder why you don't see God in what we know."
I've never wondered any such thing. I don't exclude God from what we know and I do see God in what we know (the truthfulness of Darwinian theory is not, by the way, something we know). What you can't seem to get through your head is that I've been writing from the perspective of everyone - believer and nonbeliever alike (you, on the other hand, write from the perspective of a believer). When Bonhoeffer said that we should see God in "what we know," who was the "we" to whom he referred? I took "we" to mean both believers and nonbelievers, and I understood Bonhoeffer to be saying that knowledge should provide a window through which everyone should be able to see the reality of God. But since nonbelievers (i.e., atheists and agnostics) have no reason for thinking that God empowers chance or that He authored necessity (or natural laws), any scientific theory that invokes only chance and necessity will provide them with no window through which God might be visible to them. Darwinian theory is such a theory. It provides no reason for a nonbeliever to suspect that he might be wrong in thinking that God does not exist. Intelligent design theory, on the other hand, avers that chance and necessity do not suffice to explain everything in nature - that mind (or intelligence) played an indispensable role in making the natural world what it is. If a nonbeliever comes to accept that claim, then intelligent design theory (unlike Darwinian theory) provides him with a reason for reassessing his denial of God's existence and thinking that he might be wrong. ID theory provides a window through which God might be visible to nonbelievers that Darwinian theory does not provide.
gluadys: "...neither is it the task of science to fence off any part of nature and say 'God is not here'" It seems that by excluding God from both chance and necessity, ID is doing just that. I mean what does this imply other than 'if it's necessity, it's not God; if it's chance, it's not God. So let's look for those gaps where we can find God.'"
Intelligent design is not a matter of trying to fill gaps in our knowledge of the natural world with God; it is instead a matter of investigating whether intelligent causation constitutes a better explanation for certain features of the natural world than do any undirected natural processes. You seem to think that if everything in nature can be scientifically explained in terms of chance and necessity, then science nonetheless provides a window through which believers and nonbelievers alike should be able to see the reality of God. Furthermore you seem to think that if science were to say that some things in nature are best explained in terms of mind (or intelligence), then science would draw the curtains on that window. I think you're profoundly wrong. There are really only two general ways to account for anything: Either a thing (an object, an event, a being, etc.) is the product of a mind or it's not. For science to provide a nonbeliever with a window through which he might see the reality of God, science would need to give him a reason for thinking that mind (or intelligence) constitutes the best explanation for a thing (an object, an event, a being, etc.). Once a nonbeliever thinks that a mind has been operative in making nature what it is, he might begin to identify that mind with God (there are really no other credible candidates). With respect to life, Darwinian theory implicitly avers that nothing in the living world is the product of a mind. Darwinian theory therefore provides no reason for thinking that God exists. ID theory, on the other hand, does. That no doubt accounts for the conversion from atheism to belief in God of famed philosopher Antony Flew (R.I.P.). By Flew's own account, he was persuaded to abandon his decades-long atheism by the arguments for intelligent design, not by the arguments for Darwinian theory.
Jim in Missouri
- gluadys: "Faith-based opposition to evolution (including in this instance ID) seems to hold that if something cannot be shown to be scientifically valid, there is no truth in it at all."
You're mistaken to include ID "in this instance." In the first place, ID is not opposed to evolution per se, rather it takes exception to the Darwinian explanation of evolution (how many times must this be brought to your attention before you grasp the point?). The basis for design theorists' opposition to Darwinian theory is science, not faith. As Dembski put it (in "The Design Revolution"):
"For the record...let's be clear that design theorists oppose Darwinian theory on strictly scientific grounds.... [W]e are convinced that Darwinism is, on its own terms, an oversold and overreaching scientific theory."
Or as historian of science Thomas Woodward put it (in "Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design"):
"[I]n the course of hearing how key design advocates came to their current views, it becomes clear that their entry into the movement stemmed from intellectual or scientific - not religious - reasons."
In the second place, design theorists have no truck with scientism, which effectively says "that if something cannot be shown to be scientifically valid, there is no truth in it at all."
Jim in Missouri