Intelligent Design - The Cure for Naturalism

Last updated Fri Oct 18 12:32:44 EDT 2002

Nature and Creation

In the context of Naturalism, "Nature" is a concept of reality where all events can be reduced to natural causes. In the case of Deism, a transcendant God is hypothethized as the original source of Nature, but once created Nature is self-sustaining and self-explanatory - independent of God. Deism is functionally equivalent to Naturalism. "Creation" is the concept of a reality that not only originates with God, but interacts with God.

Naturalism has no (functional) transcendent God. There can be gods galore, but they are subject to cosmic laws just as we are. Although each system has its own concept of what the cosmic law is, Greek gods, Hindu gods, Norse gods, Mormon gods, Word Faith gods are all subject to cosmic law.

Methodological and Metaphysical Naturalism

Last time, we made a distinction between Philosophical and "Scientific" Naturalism. Let me rename last weeks "Scientific" Naturalism to "Empirical" Naturalism, because this week "Scientific" Naturalism is bad. Empirical Naturalism restricts scientific inquiry to what can be empirically observed. Philosophical Naturalism restricts scientific inquiry to natural causes.

This week, we further break down Philosophical Naturalism into two flavors. Methodological Naturalism considers only natural causes in scientific research, but admits the logical possibility of supernatural realities. Deism falls into this camp. Metaphysical Naturalism asserts that Nature and natural causes are in fact the only reality. Methodological Naturalism is the most popular, because it seems to allow for belief in God as in Deism. However, Methodological and Metaphysical Naturalism are functionally equivalent.

Science as Universal Knowledge

Intelligent Design Theory is compatible with Empirical Naturalism, because it provides an empirical basis for detecting Intelligent Design. It is not compatible with Philosophical Naturalism (and hence Methodological Naturalism) which excludes anything other than natural causes from consideration a priori. The goal of the Intelligent Design movement is to refute Methodological Naturalism by showing that intelligent causes are empirically detectable and not reducable to natural causes. Intelligent Design Theory does not try to determine whether intelligent causes are part of nature, or outside nature. It does not speculate on the nature of the intelligence when an intelligent cause is not of Human origin.

In our modern culture, Science is the only universally recognized truth. This is why it is important to develop a theory of Intelligent Design which is empirically verifiable, and therefore Scientific (except to the Philosophical Naturalist). Unfortunately, it may already be too late as PostModernism is on the rise. PostModernism rejects any form of absolute truth - even Science.

Theistic Evolution

Intelligent Design is not compatible with Theistic Evolution. Theistic Evolution is the idea that God created life by providing for undirected natural causes to do so when he made the Universe. You should recognize this ploy - it is Deism all over again. Theistic Evolution is functionally indistinguishable from Atheistic Evolution. However, Theistic Evolution should not be confused with "incremental creation". Incremental creation is the idea that God created life gradually and interactively. It could be called "Directed Evolution".

Equivocating Evolution

The word "Evolution" is popularly used to refer to any of:
  1. natural selection (survival of the fittest),

    often called "special evolution" because it involves living things specializing - turning various preexisting genes on/off or swapping them with other bacteria to adapt to an environment.

  2. origin of the species (ape becomes human),

    often called "general evolution" because it involves living things generalizing - creating new gene functions that did not exist before.

  3. spontaneous generation ("origin of life" - chemical soup becomes living cell) ,

    has nothing to do with evolution, but is a critical premise of "no creator" thinking.

"Special evolution" and "general evolution" are opposite processes. Specialization corresponds to configuring a computer program - turning off undesired features or loading optional modules. Generalization corresponds to writing code to implement new features.

Special evolution is well documented and can be confirmed in your home school by experiments in the back yard.

General evolution has never been observed, directly or indirectly. However, neither have there been any observations that would completely rule it out. On this question, science has no definite answers. The various "missing links" offered by evolution marketeers have all turned out be hoaxes (Piltdown man, Peking man, Java man, etc), or not missing links at all (Archeopteryx). Amazingly, even one of the classic experiments confirming special evolution turned out be a hoax: the grey and white moths on the tree in england were glued in place! This needless desperation betrays an inner sense of the folly of their position.

Spontaneous generation is impossible according to any known science. Louis Pasteur thought he had put this to rest when he showed that grain does not spontaneously turn into mice when covered with a screen. But because of a philosophical dedication to materialism, many scientists continue to search for a physical process that could cause spontaneous generation.

Using the unqualified word "evolution" to refer to opposite or unrelated concepts (special or general evolution or even spontaneous generation), and then pretending that they are the same thing because the same word is used, is called "equivocation". This is a logical fallacy. Here is a funny example of equivocation:

Proof that a cat has nine tails:

Here the phrase "no cat" is used to mean two different things. In the first premise, it means "there exists no cat that". In the second premise it means "zero cats".

The slogan of evolutionists proposed by Scott is: "Evolution happens, evolution happened." Logically, this is saying the following:

This is pure drivel.

What is Science

It should also be noted that attempts to answer questions about non-repeatable events are not classic "science". The scientific method relies on the ability to try something repeatedly in order to determine how it happens. A court of law often must try to determine details of past events. A knowlege of science can be used as evidence in the case, but whether a reported past event did or did not take place is ultimately not a scientific question (until someone invents a time machine).

There are other disciplines whose methods are devoted to finding the truth about past events: history, forensics, archaeology.

Science tells us that the sun rises every morning, and according to our best models the sun has risen every morning for the last 4 billion years and will continue to do so for a few billion more. However, history (Joshua) tells us that on at least one morning, the sun did not rise.

Science tells us that dead people do not come back to life once a certain level of decay has set in, and our best model, the Law of Entropy, makes the odds against this ever happening or ever having happened astronomical. History tells us that several people have in fact come back to life - even after 3 or 4 days of decay at middle eastern temperatures.

Science tells us that dead matter does not spontaneously spring to life, and the Law of Entropy makes the odds against this ever happening or ever having happened astronomical. History, to my knowlege, makes no mention of this ever happening either.