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Monday, June 19, 2006

Young earth creationists love the intelligent design guys?: ... Not!

Recently, ID maven Bill Dembski moved from his job teaching at Kentucky-based Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Al Mohler's stamping ground) to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, closer to his home in Texas. The guy who replaced him was Kurt P. Wise, a young earth creationist who studied under Stephen Jay Gould and has said many unsupportive things about the ID guys. But Wise's reasoning is quite different from that of the Darwinists:

He told me, for my book By Design or by Chance?,
Being compatible with virtually all worldviews, ID gives very little insight into God, thus gives very little (to no) glory to Him, and is thus of very little use to me. (p.208)

Of course, many young earth creationists, such as Paul Nelson, Marcus Ross, and John Mark Reynolds, are quite friendly with the ID folk, seeing it as a big tent. Yes, ... it is a big tent. That's precisely Wise's problem with it.

(Note: Go here for my comments on Simon Conway Morris's characterization of intelligent design hypotheses as mystery religions. )

Wise isn't the only one to have a problem with that. Meanwhile, Ken Ham, an Answers in Genesis heavyweight, weighs in,
"Those of us who believe in a literal Genesis have a history, a history concerning the Fall, a history concerning the Flood. So when we look at this world, we're looking at a fallen world. It's not God's fault there are tsunamis. … Death is not God's fault." However, by only discussing an unnamed designer, Ham says, flaws in creation must be attributed to that designer.

Just for now, I am going to take a pass on the theology here (I have to get back to my day job). As Christianity Today's Rob Moll writes,

While the press railed against efforts to introduce Intelligent Design into classrooms, spokespersons at the Discovery Institute routinely distanced their theory from creationism and from those who wanted to teach ID in science classrooms. At the same time, creationists were warning their millions of followers about the dangers of ID. Its foundation in science, not the Bible; its willingness to accept large aspects of evolutionary theory; and perhaps a little jealousy of ID's quick rise to prominence make ID unacceptable to creationists.

Besides, they don't need ID's help to topple evolution. They're doing just fine. An April CBS poll found that 44 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

I predict this gap will grow worldwide, mainly thanks to the Darwinism-based pronouncements from evolutionary psychology, which are increasingly distanced from the reality of human nature.

Meanwhile, Ham argues,
"I don't think the ID movement would be where it is even now if it was not for the general creation movement," says Ken Ham, president of AiG. "They're riding on the coattails of the creation movement."

AiG's Terry Mortenson notes that "it would be very likely that the majority of people who are trying to influence the schools are creationists rather than ID [proponents]."

Yes, that is my impression too, based on my own interviews, dialogues, and other research. Anyone who genuinely thinks that there isn't a difference between creationism and ID should try dealing with the two groups separately, as I have.

The inevitable cleavage greatly complicates addressing the issues around meaning, purpose, order, and design in the universe in schools. Why is some level of cleavage inevitable? Because the creationist (as opposed to ID proponent) is primarily seeking support for a specific view of origins that is compatible with a written scripture (Bible, Koran) or a traditional origins story (native American creation stories, for example). Personally, I do not object to these projects but teaching about them should not be done by proselytizers, any more than Darwinism should be introduced by proselytizers (and it commonly is).

Anyway, teaching about creationism is a far cry from allowing students to know that there are evidence-based reasons for doubting Darwinism, the current creation story of the publicly funded school system. And different again is a research scientist's project of following the evidence, free of the constraints of Darwinian thinking.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove ?

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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