Making new evolutionary innovations: a neutral view of ID (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, March 30, 2020, 19:41 (58 days ago) @ David Turell

This author does not take sides:

"I do not wish to argue that intelligent design is true. I don't know if it's true. I also
do not wish to argue that it is a scientific position. I believe that it is not, but is instead an empirically undecidable, metaphysical one. I wish only to argue, contrary to the current intellectual zeitgeist, that it is neither stupid nor ridiculous either to believe in it or to entertain it as a possibility. I am referring here, not to a version of intelligent design that claims that the world was created 6000 years ago just as we find it today, but to one stating simply that there is now, or may have been at some time in the past, an ordering
intelligence behind the structure of the universe and its contents. I also want to argue that the position most commonly posed in opposition to it at the cosmic level (which is where
I will focus), which I shall refer to as "accidentalism," is not, as many would have it,
itself a scientifically open and shut case.


"Albert Einstein, a secular Jew who repeatedly affirmed his disbelief in a personal god, stated that, "The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." Other great scientifically informed minds from the past (e.g., Galileo, Kepler, and Maxwell) as well as the present time (e.g., Francis Collins, Fred Hoyle, and Alan Sandage) have expressed essentially the same belief. My admittedly ad hominem point here is simply this: Whether intelligent design is true or not, if people with relevantly informed minds of this caliber -- some of them the greatest minds in scientific history -- believe in it, it seems unreasonable simply to dismiss it as a ridiculous position with no merit whatsoever.


"The foregoing discussion is not proffered as an argument for intelligent design. It
is, rather, an objection directed at those who, in response to any suggestion that intelligent design beliefs may have some merit, blithely assert that, "We have no need for that hypothesis. We have it all covered scientifically." Aside from the fact that, properly
understood, there is no conflict between science and intelligent design, it is simply not
true that "we have it all covered scientifically." As M.I.T. physicist Alan Lightman reports
in his fascinating article, "The Accidental Universe," there remain very deep and
unresolved questions about the extraordinary improbabilities in our cosmos.

"I do not claim to have a settled answer for myself. I just don't know. Intelligent design may or may not be the case -- I believe we will not, indeed cannot, ever know for sure -- but it is hard for me to dismiss as merely foolish Einstein's conjecture that there may exist "an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." At the end of the day, the existence or non-existence of such an intelligence cannot be established empirically, is not a matter for science, and should not be taught in science courses. It is a matter for belief, and I have tried here only to argue that such belief, at least in certain of its forms, is not unreasonable, ought not to be unreflectively branded "creationism", and should not be viewed with contempt. The possibility of intelligent design falls in the realm covered by Wittgenstein's famous assertion that "even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched.'"

Comment: The whole neutral article is a good read. Of course design is required. God comes with the establishment of faith.

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