The Discovery Institute, like all mystics with intellectual pretentions, trace their ideas back to Plato — see Discoveroids: The Universe is Platonic.
Today they’re at it again with this new post: Platonic Forms and Aristotelian Teleology: Let’s Explore the Philosophical Roots of Intelligent Design. It was written by Walter Myers III, whom they introduce with this:
We are delighted to welcome Walter Myers III as a new contributor. He has had a long career as an architect and project lead for one of the world’s largest software companies, located in Redmond, WA. He studied philosophy at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology under J.P. Moreland, Gary DeWeese, as well as John Bloom, Paul Nelson, and Cornelius Hunter. After receiving an MA in philosophy, he joined the program as an adjunct.
Walter is a bible college philosopher. We’re impressed. He’s also an example of the Salem hypothesis, that engineering types — which often includes computer scientists — have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint. Here are some excerpts from Walter’s essay, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
I would like to think that my background in mathematics and computer science, along with the study of history, philosophy of science and religion, origins of life, human origins, Darwinism, and intelligent design, have prepared me to look at evolution deeply, critically, and thoughtfully. [Hee hee!] In the course of this work and study, I came to the conclusion that a design theoretic best describes the origins and diversity we see in the natural world.
In other words, Walter is a creationist. We’re not surprised. Then he says:
As to my philosophical approach to ID, I take an Aristotelian-Thomist approach, also incorporating elements of Platonism. In making a case for ID, I do not necessarily include Thomistic arguments, since that would place us firmly in theistic territory.
We can’t have that! Nevertheless, he says:
[W]e have to ask why the natural world is so orderly, and what precisely are those final causes that drive nature towards order. That is precisely what the Thomistic view attempts to reconcile: how we came to “ends” or “purposes” in the natural world that argue for design rather than being the result simply of fortuitous and undirected events, as the Darwinian paradigm contends.
Cutting through the blather, Walter is like the puddle in the Douglas Adams story that wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, [it] may have been made to have me in it!” The Discoveroids think it’s a good argument for intelligent design, and they’ve used it before — see Discovery Institute: What Are They Thinking? After that, Walter tells us:
The Platonic element in my thinking focuses on non-physical forms (or ideas). For Plato, intelligible forms constituted ultimate reality, with the physical world being but a dim reflection. He saw the world as the work of a craftsman. That craftsman (the Demiurge) could only work within the order of nature using pre-existing materials, thus accounting for the world’s imperfections. In this view we see the roots of intelligent design.
[*Groan*] The notion that everything is based on Platonic forms is the bedrock of all mystical thought. If you’re not familiar with the idea, take a look at the Wikipedia article on the Theory of Forms. Also, check out Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which is pure, raw Oogity Boogity! It’s the first thing mystics point to when they want to explain that you — you blind, materialist Darwinist — are misled by the mere appearances of this world, while your philosophical betters know the hidden reality that lies beyond. But the Discoveroids are all about science, right? Walter continues:
Similarly, I think of biological organisms as having non-material structural configurations that are translated into a physical substrate through coded information. Thus, we have a non-physical structural “form” that represents a particular biological organism. This structure is then coded in physical DNA.
Thrilling, huh? Let’s read on:
Both Platonic forms and Aristotelian teleological concepts lay a firm groundwork for intelligent design, even though in their pure forms, both are based on immanent constructs as opposed to a transcendent designer outside of space and time. That distinction is immaterial from an ID perspective since ID makes no claims about the designer, but simply seeks the hallmarks of design.
Yes, intelligent design “theory” has no theological agenda — unless you read the Discoveroids’ Wedge Document. And now we come to the end:
I look forward to exploring these and other issues in future posts.
We’re not looking forward to it, because we have a limited tolerance for nonsense, but it’s good to see that the Discoveroids aren’t even trying to hide their reliance on mysticism.
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