Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Call for maverick ID bloggers

I have many friends in the ID community. What follows places me at risk of annoying some of them.

I share with the ID community the goal of promoting ID.

However, I completely disagree with what I see as the primary strategies of the ID community.

•  The first strategy I disagree with is proclaiming ID as science. Philosophical discussions aside, I will accept ID as science when I read something like this:
A scientist at (some respected research university) has been awarded a grant to do experiment X. ID predicts the result of the experiment will be Y. Non-ID predicts the result will be Z.
And don't tell me this cannot happen because the secular scientific community would never allow it. I was a practicing scientist before I was a believer, and we never had any secret meetings where we discussed our true agenda of destroying Christianity in the guise of science.

Predictions such as We will never discover an evolutionary pathway for (whatever) or We will never detect a parallel universe are interesting and important, but they are not examples of predictability arising from a full-fledged scientific theory.

•  The second strategy I disagree with is attempting to get ID placed in the science curriculum. Obviously this is related to the fact that ID is not science. And this strategy, flawed even in principle, has backfired. Not only is ID not in the curriculum, the well has been poisoned. I used to be able to go to public schools and talk about fine-tuning, but not anymore. (Yes, I know it is not illegal to discuss ID, even after Dover, but that doesn’t mean that principals have to invite me, or that they have to accept my offer. They used to, at least on occasion, but not anymore.)

•  The third strategy I disagree with, and this is the most germane to this post, is to deny that ID is religiously motivated. I don't personally know any ID advocate who is not religiously motivated—and I don't know one (personally) who is a strong ID proponent based solely on the physical evidence, although I am told such people exist.

The correlation I see, while not a proof, is highly suggestive: I am quite sure that the percentage of ID advocates who are also staunch theists is significantly higher than the percentage of theists in the general population.

Also, anecdotally, when I look at fine tuning I see design because I believe God designed the universe, while someone else sees multiverses because they don't share that belief. To deny that ID is religiously motivated is, in my opinion, both foolhardy and naïve.

What then is ID?

It is a scientifically-based apologetic. It is part of God’s general revelation. That’s what I think ID is, and that is where I think it is most effective: bringing glory to God, and showing men how they are without excuse. It can be an effective form of witnessing—it worked for me, and I have seen it work for others. Not because it proves God, but because it suggests God.

When I give ID talks, I proceed unapologetically on this basis. If someone asks or comments about ID not being science, I tell them I agree, it’s not. (I also point out that, for the very same reasons, multiverse theories are not science.) When they ask about ID in the curriculum, I say it should not be part of the science curriculum. (I also point out that some of the most ineffective and boring science classes are “science-only” classes, and ID should be an acceptable rabbit-trail discussion because it makes the class more interesting.) With these controversial topics swept aside, I have the necessary time to concentrate on the astounding array of fine-tuning examples.

This leads me to the real topic of this post—a call to like-minded bloggers (of which there may not be any.)

I would like to explore starting a ScienceAndGodBlog team blog, similar in format to the team blog ScienceBlogs.

Do you write on science and faith, and do you share the view that ID is an apologetic, not a science? If so, I invite you to join (or, more accurately, join the planning, or just let me know you’d be interested when everything is ready.)

Techno-wizard and Christian blogging patriarch Dean Peters of Heal Your Church Website and blogs4God has offered to help.

If you are not interested in blogging, but would like to support this effort in other ways (perhaps with server space and bandwidth--or contributions--offers only at this point-- to help purchase hosting, and perhaps some design) please let me know.

Just like on ScienceBlogs, the posts can span the spectrum of topics—science, politics, theology, humor, commentary. The only gentleman’s agreement is the shared view of ID as part of general revelation.

UPDATE: It should be noted that I do not equate the Discovery Institute’s policies with what I have been describing, generically, as ID strategies. For example, as spelled-out in this document on the DI website. (see question 3), the DI does not advocate placing ID in the science curriculum or textbooks. So insofar as my second point of disagreement with the ID community is concerned, I have no conflict with the DI. I probably am in conflict with the DI over the other two points. As for the ID community at large, parts of it still argue for including ID in the curriculum—I think evidence to that point is seen in the debate advertised on this site.

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