12 July 2008

Uncommon Descent conversation, part 7: the question

Below is another installment of my comments from two weeks ago on a thread at Uncommon Descent, which I've been re-posting here.

As the conversation wound down, I patiently endured the silly suggestion that my expressions of frustration amounted to my "reverting to a culture war mode" (huh??), then asked a question that summarizes one of my main objections to the ID movement: the arguments, all too often, add up to a debasing of "natural" processes in God's world. "Random" or "naturalistic" mechanisms are too frequently assumed – or even asserted – to be separate from God's real work, such that explanations that provide "purely" or "merely" natural accounts of biological phenomena are thought to "exclude God." Exposing and attacking this blatant error is one of the main goals of my blog.

Well, unfortunately, I don't think I made my question very clear, and Thomas Cudworth clearly didn't understand what I was getting at. We'll come back to it sometime, but here it is for QoD readers, most of whom should be able to see where I'm going.

Thomas @89:

I’ll be glad to leave the discussions of culture-war casualties behind. If you read my response to StephenB again, you might find that you have been too harsh in your judgment of my words. (In fact, I think your comment that I “reverted to culture war mode” is patently unfair.) But either way, I’m still committed to our discussion, and I will let your comments stand as they are, if that means we’re done with that particular diversion.

I’ll add that while I think you’ve been unfair in your characterization of my comments, I don’t think you meant to be rude or disrespectful, and I’m still glad to be a part of the conversation. I’ll also add that we should all work on being patient with each other: we have substantive disagreements on emotionally-charged questions of real import. We should expect each other to behave civilly, but we oughtn’t be surprised to see some sharp disagreement. I’m okay with that (or I wouldn’t be here), and I think you need to be okay with that.

I propose that we wrap it up, for now anyway, perhaps by looking over the previous installments to see if there are any questions we’d still like to ask each other. I’ll start, if that’s okay.

Do you see design in the processes of human embryonic development? (I do.) If so, do you think that a Christian developmental biologist who embraces naturalistic explanations of these processes should be expected to affirm that s/he believes that Psalm 139 speaks the truth?

This is not a trick question; I’m very curious about how the whole natural vs. God thing works out for ID thinkers when considering biological phenomena other than evolution.

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