Friday, December 02, 2005

ID is popular amongst traditional Christians

Contrary to the view which Darwinists are seeking to portray (the theory of intelligent design reflects the views only of extreme fundamentalists in the US) an increasing number of traditional and well established Christian denominations are expressing their support for Intelligent Design.

In the UK many conservative Christian denominations look to the reformed publishing charity "The Banner of Truth" to express an orthodox stance doctrinally. They have recently put an article on their website from the very traditional Free Presbyterian Church magazine expressing a very positive attitude to intelligent design theory.

Positive articles have also been written in the Evangelical Times and the Grace Magazine.

Recently the usually extremely cautious Roman Catholic approach to evolution has hardened to clear opposition for chance only teaching and a positive approach to Intelligent Design.

To have the Pope and the Free Presbyterian Church agree about something controversial must be a first!

Clearly it is not just theological illiterates who find the chance and necessity view of life and death unsatisfactory. It seems that your attitude to ID is influenced strongly by your prior commitments to particular worldviews. Materialists find it alarming and threatening. Theists of a more traditional and conservative type find it exciting and thrilling.


Anonymous Andy Groves said...

It seems that your attitude to ID is influenced strongly by your prior commitments to particular worldviews. Materialists find it alarming and threatening.

Well, my attitude to ID as a scientific theory is influenced by the amount of scientific evidence for it - which is pretty much zero.

I think it also the case that some Christians find the idea of undirected evolution alarming and threatening as well. My experience in talking with such people is that they derive comfort from feeling that they are present on Earth for a purpose, and that someone (or something) has our interests at heart. I think some Christians also worry that if we are not divinely created with a moral spirit, then we are doomed to live in a morally degraded state.

I think these concerns are valid ones, and proponents of evolution should be sensitive to them. Robert Pennock has an excellent chapter on this subject ("Burning Science at the Stake") in his book "Tower of Babel".

P.S. Your use of "materialist" is a little confusing. There are plenty of scientists who believe in a supernatural being (or at least accept that such beings could exist in principle), but do not think that the scientific method can be used to investigate such beings, or the phenomena they may cause. I would put myself in this category.

7:48 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hello Andy,

The difference may be that our generation grew up with evolution mixed with our mother's milk as it were. ID is new and spreading fast e.g. (comments by Ronald Numbers)

You are right about Christians seeing evolution as a threat. Evolution as a full explanation for life is closely associated with a materialist world view which is antithetical to the Christian world view.

Materialism cuts away the traditional foundation for morality and law and some people do find that a little worrying.

What confused you about my usage of the word materialist?

8:53 pm  
Anonymous Andy Groves said...

What confused you about my usage of the word materialist?

It all comes down to whether one is a philosophical materialist/naturalist or a methodolgical materialist/naturalist.

Richard Dawkins, for example, does not accept the existence of supernatural phenomena. He has no evidence to support this view, and it is a philosophical view, not a scientific one.

I think it is perfectly possible that supernatural phenomena can occur, and that supernatural beings can exist. However, I feel that it is impossible to try and use science to investigate them, as science is based on the assumption (and it is only an assumption) that the world works according to natural laws. Our experience over the last few thousand years (with regard to doing science) suggests that this is a reasonable assumption, but it's still just an assumption. That is why you can have evangelical Christians who are also scientists (such as Kenneth Miller).

While religion may be the traditional foundation for morality, it isn't the only foundation. There are plenty of people who behave in a way most Christians would regard as moral without recourse to a God who tells them what to do. Only some of the 10 Commandments mention God. The others - don't lie, steal, murder, commit adultery and be nice to your parent - seem a pretty good basis for humans to live together, whether God commands them or not.......

9:42 pm  
Blogger Jeffahn said...

When you say "increasing numbers" it sounds just like the DI's "increasing numbers" of scientists who dispute that rather vague anti-evolution statement that doesn't really say anything at all. The DI's "increasing numbers", btw, seem to fluctuate from time to time, and have been far outdone by Project Steve, which came later. I don't think you really have any idea about the numbers other than annecdotal stuff.

Anyways, another thing I wanted to say is that what the majority of people will believe on the issue depends mostly on how it is presnted to them. If it's God-fearing ID versus those immoral, child-molesting, atheistic evilutionists, then most Christians would probably side with ID, but somebody like Mr Miller, giving a truer picture of the 'contraversy', would make seem considerably less attractive.

2:12 am  

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