12 July 2008

Uncommon Descent conversation, part 6

This is a continuation of the exchange from two weeks ago. (I've been re-posting my contributions here for the benefit of those who (like me) don't read Uncommon Descent. The discussion ended more than a week ago, but I neglected to re-post my last few responses.) There's not much in this installment other than my attempts to drive home the simple points I made at the beginning of the conversation (hence my evident frustration). I'm responding (mostly) to a post by StephenB.

To StephenB @80:

I don’t think we’re going to make much more progress, since I don’t think I’m making it clear enough to you that I see God and His world differently than you do. You seem unwilling or unable to reflect on what I have already said and to account for my words in your responses to them. Perhaps I haven’t been clear enough on my position with regard to “pure Darwinism,” but I think it’s more likely that you won’t accept the fact that I don’t see “design” the way you do, and that I reject your preferred assumptions regarding “randomness” and God’s work.

I will offer these final thoughts in response to your post, and then you can have the last word if you wish. This does not mean that I won’t discuss other topics with you, or that I’m leaving UD for good, but it does mean that you have exhausted my patience on this subject.

1. I don’t know what an “internal principle” is, and at this point I really don’t care, but if you want to know what I think of “pure Darwinism” you can re-read what I’ve already written here.

2. There are multiple reasons why “Pure Darwinists” and “Miller, Collins et al” are hostile to ID. If you think your movement is controversial solely because it “implies the INTENT behind the evolutionary process,” then you’re wholly deluded. I am opposed to your movement, and I’m not a pure Darwinist. Unsuccessfully it would seem, I have tried to explain why.

3. I’m a pretty good Calvinist, so I believe that our world belongs to God and was created by Him. And so I do think that all things were brought into existence by His hand. Because I’m only a pretty good Calvinist (i.e., not a perfect one), I wonder about the idea of freedom and how it works out in creation. I am undecided about how exactly to explain or account for creaturely freedom, and I’m content to consider it one of many mysteries. For now, I am unwilling to commit to a puppet-show universe with no freedom, and equally unwilling to commit to open theology (as I understand it). As I hope you can see, my thinking on this issue does not lend itself well to the simplistic dichotomies that you seem to favor. That’s not my problem.

4. I didn’t come here to argue about what Francis Collins and Ken Miller believe or say. I came here to explain why I, a fellow Christian and practicing biologist, do not support your movement. Because our conversation went well, without any of the ugliness that characterizes the broader cultural confrontation, I now consider myself a fully-minted “friendly critic.” That’s a pretty big step, I think, but it doesn’t mean I have a whole lot more patience with the generally obnoxious tenor of this blog, or of the Discovery Institute, and it sure doesn’t mean that I will waste my time listening to a lot of whining about culture-war body counts. Count me as a friendly critic, perhaps even occasional defender, but not as a friendly audience for melodramatic portrayals of ID persecution, and certainly not as a scapegoat for the sins of whoever it is you can’t stand.

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