Today we’ll examine another post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog written by their new contributor, Walter Myers III, who teaches philosophy at Biola University, a bible college. This one is titled In Refusing to Identify a “Designer,” ID Proponents Aren’t Being Coy. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Alongside my work as a software architect in Redmond, WA, I have the privilege of serving on the faculty of Biola University, near Los Angeles. My focus there includes preparing students to rebut the falsehoods propagated by academia and the scientific community about the historical relationship between science and religion, to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution, and to defend the careful reasoning underlying a theistic worldview.
Dedicated, committed, hard core. Very hard core. He says:
One of our yearly courses is an advanced seminar on intelligent design. Its purpose is to enable students to appraise the current debate between Darwinian evolution and ID. We have lively discussions based on class texts, and invariably the nagging question comes up from several students every year: “Why don’t ID advocates quit being coy and just come out and say who they think the designer is? We already know most of them think it is the God of the Bible.”
Biola students, like everyone else, instinctively understand what the Discoveroids’ “theory” really is. But as we have always known, the Discoveroids’ purpose is to conceal that understanding. They hope to confuse and mislead everyone — especially the judiciary — thereby slipping through the legal barrier that prevents creationism from being taught in government schools. Walter is at the cutting edge of that effort. He tells us:
I never back down from this question, as it is wholly legitimate. However, as I explain in response, it does not fully factor in the actual project of intelligent design.
Unfortunately for Walter and all of the Discoveroids, we’re well aware of their project. It’s clearly spelled out in their founding manifesto — see What is the “Wedge Document”? So how does Walter handle his students’ question? He explains:
My reply starts by reviewing the notion of metaphysical naturalism (also called ontological naturalism, or philosophical naturalism). Metaphysical naturalism is the view that only physical laws and forces exist, and thus any discussion of supernatural concepts has no place in modern science. Generally, academia and the scientific community doggedly defend this view.
There is another philosophical view, methodological naturalism, that doesn’t specifically commit itself to proscribing supernatural explanations. Methodological naturalism asserts that in doing science, we take no particular attitude toward the supernatural. Rather, this approach is a method of doing science that only considers natural causes. Under methodological naturalism, it doesn’t matter whether a person has religious attitudes or not. Scientists, whether religious, agnostic, or atheist, can work together to solve scientific problems on a day-to-day basis, regardless of their personal views.
We discussed all that in Bring Me An Angel Detector! Walter continues:
While ID proponents would likely not be adherents of metaphysical naturalism [because they strongly believe in supernatural entities and causes], most have little argument with methodological naturalism.
Actually, Discoveroids don’t like methodological naturalism either, because their blog articles always insist that scientists are idiots for not considering supernatural causes, such as the work of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — in their research. Let’s read on:
ID readily concedes that physical laws and forces can, alone, produce natural phenomena including snowflakes, clouds, lightning, and whirlpools. But no evidence demonstrates that natural laws can produce even single-cell organisms, which require a high degree of specified information [whatever that is], let alone butterflies, hummingbirds, or human beings.
So if something is not yet known, the Discoveroids’ insist that the only answer is the God of the gaps. Oh, wait — Walter isn’t stupid. He’s aware of that response and he’s ready for it. He says:
Metaphysical naturalists accuse ID of offering a “God of the gaps” argument, inserting “God” into the gaps of our knowledge, purely from ignorance. This criticism, however, is false. ID’s argument is hardly one from ignorance, but from the knowledge we have that things requiring high degrees of specified information [Hee hee!] can, as far as we practically know, only be produced by intelligent agents. Human experience, what we know of our own creative endeavors, itself demonstrates this.
Sorry, Walter, but that’s still a “God of the gaps” argument. Nice try, however. Another excerpt:
Returning to the question my students often ask, if ID advocates believe there is a designer, why don’t they specify who the designer is, particularly since many, but not all, are theists themselves? The answer is because 1) ID proponents don’t arrogantly purport to have exhaustive knowledge of who the designer might be, and admit that their particular notion of the designer may be wrong. 2) Harkening back to our discussion about methodological naturalism, ID seeks an approach where scientists and philosophers, regardless of personal views, may pursue the truth wherever the evidence leads. Finally, 3) ID fully allows those who wish to sincerely join the debate to argue for other mechanisms.
That’s cleverly said, but when one thinks about it, it’s solid baloney. Here’s more:
In not specifying a designer, ID leaves science open to pursue plausible explanations of biological complexity without getting tangled up in extraneous theological or philosophical discussions. The everyday practice of the current scientific establishment already curtails and constrains what science is able to discover. ID resists this trend, and instead seeks to democratize scientific investigation.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, why should only scientists do science? Let the people decide! And now we come to the end:
We invite a maximum diversity of researchers [only bigots opposes diversity] to join the hunt for the truth. Discussions of who or what the designer might be would only work against that.
So there you are. Our Curmudgeonly opinion is that Walter is a clever fellow. Very slick. At times, quite subtle. Nevertheless, we understand what exactly what he’s doing. He may persuade his students that there’s meaningful substance to what he’s saying, but to us it’s pure Oogity Boogity!
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