Dr. Fuller, I agree with you to the extent that, all too often, theologians make unnecessary concessions to scientists. The question, though, is why? I suspect that many of them are not very well educated in sound philosophy and, do not, therefore understand the metaphysical foundations that underlie modern science. I think that the problem is not so much that they are “ashamed of their knowledge base” It seems more likely that the knowledge they have does not really constitute a base at all.
If, indeed, these hesitant theologians were grounded in the metaphysical fact that truth is unified, that is, if they understood that no scientific truth, properly understood, could ever conflict with a theological truth, properly understood, they would not be so intimidated. Remember, these are supposed to be theologians. On a related matter, if they understood that Christianity’s metaphysical assumptions made possible they very same scientific enterprise that sneers at Christianity today, they would be far more qualified to enter into the fray and slap down such irrational notions. You have made the latter point many times.
On the other hand, I disagree with your assertion that many people in the ID camp seem to think that “admitting any theological support for ID is tantamount to denying its scientific merit.” Again, this gets back to the fact that truth is unified. ID proponents typically understand that Romans 1:20, which teaches that God’s handiwork in nature is perceptible, is obviously consistent with a scientific inference to design. Of course the Bible supports the design inference. How could it not?
What we DO deny is the false claim that ID must PRESUPPOSE theological truths in order to make the design inference. That the scientific inference is CONSISTENT WITH Biblical teaching is not the same thing as saying that the scientific inference DEPENDS on Biblical teaching. This is the key logical point that Judge “copycat” Jones missed at the infamous Dover trial, as he explicitly used the phrase “depends on” in his final decision.
Most in the ID camp are quite ready to acknowledge the point that ID has religious implications. Indeed, if your have read many of our posts on this site, you will find that several of us have argued that Aquinas proofs for the existence of God are perfectly compatible with ID science. It is our adversaries, especially the “Christian Darwinists,” who want to say that theology should be put in one corner and science in another. The only thing ID proponents ask is that their adversaries differentiate between scientific methods and Christian beliefs, an intellectual challenge that most have failed to meet even at this late date.
With respect to your point that both sides assign different weights to different sorts of evidence, I offer this thought. ID proponents insist that evidence should be interpreted according to the first principles of right reason. Darwinists do not believe that there is any such thing as a standard for reasonableness. For them, evidence can interpret itself. How can anyone interpret evidence reasonably while denying reason itself? In fact, it can’t be done. What does one say to a Darwinist who claims that quantum physics has invalidated the laws of non-contradiction and causality? (Yes, they do, in fact, say that). In fact, evidence does not inform reason’s rules; reason’s rules inform evidence. In this sense, philosophy illuminates science and provides rational direction for the ways that we interpret observed data. When pressed (and they must be pressed) Darwinists will, indeed, argue that something can come from nothing. To begin with such an irrational premise is to forfeit any possibility of interpreting evidence in a rational way. Science is, after all, a search for causes. If effects can occur without causes, all scientific investigation and all rational discourse come to an end. It would be the equivalent of a police detective trying to solve a homicide case while, at the same time, believing that a murder can occur without a murderer.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
In A Nutshell
Good comment at Uncommonon Descent: