Science, Assumptions and Intelligent Design – Part 1: Towards understanding the question.

Yesterday was interesting, two incidents brought to mind some things about Creationism and Intelligent design. I’m a young earth Creationist, (though perhaps some will doubt that, since according to many people, reading and writing should be beyond the abilities of any young earth creationist – it is so sad that in America the primary retorts one hears on such a serious debate are ad hominem attacks rather than thoughtful replies – ad hominem discourse being the last resort of the uncritical).

First, the last question of my interview at Southern Seminary was on my thoughts about ID, I’m not wholly satisfied with the answer I gave, largely because I was not completely sure about the question’s ultimate point. I addressed honestly, however, that the real challenge isn’t the meaning of Genesis, it’s are we willing to concede important assumptions to those outside of the faith. Ultimately I noted that ID only took us so far in this discussion, though it has provided valuable insights.

The second was the first comment on the Truth in the Trenches facebook page in a significant period of time of time, complimenting one of my kindle publications – The Tragedy of Compromise, which is an argument that the need for Christian thought to be consistent with our core principles is a moral necessity, not merely an epistemological question to be examined.

This raises the questions of how Christians should view science at all in this controversy. The problem as I’ve noted elsewhere is that naturalists have confused the metaphysical elements of their philosophy with the proper assumptions that science makes, or perhaps more precisely with the limits of scientific inquiry. Some, for example, now discuss natural selections in terms of an axiom rather than in terms of an observable, testable phenomenon because past attempts to defend the concept have proven to be tautological. Yet, axioms are elements of deductive reasoning, science as I understand it, is primarily inductive – making observations, forming conclusions and rigorously testing those conclusions, and even then, it must hold them not as proven facts but as theories that have not been disproven (otherwise science would be an exercise in affirming the consequent).

As Christians, we respect science in its strictest sense, but we don’t accept materialistic philosophy – if Christ rose from the grave, then naturalism is false, why then would we concede ground to naturalism in regards origins?

I approach my discussions on evolution therefore as a theologian. Thus, I may refer to Behe or to the cosmic fine tuning of the universe, but that does not mean I assume that ID is the full answer to the question (though I consider them an important and providentially provided evidence to demonstrate the universe is consistent with Christian assumptions). One of the key elements in the discussion is not the science, but the materialistic assumptions underlying evolutionary theory. So if I question the assumptions of Evolutionists, where does that leave room for ID? To address that question first, I believe we should start by mapping the battlefield, which will be our topic next time.

One thought on “Science, Assumptions and Intelligent Design – Part 1: Towards understanding the question.

  1. Pingback: The Coda of Science, Assumptions and Intelligent Design: Theistic Evolution, Bad Philosophers and The Problem of Evil | Truth in the Trenches

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