The Discovery Institute has a strange new post at their creationist blog today. It’s about theology — an unexpected topic for a group that promotes itself as a science outfit. Their post, which has no author’s by-line, is titled Is ID Bad Theology? No, but the Objection Is. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
On a new ID the Future episode [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], philosopher Jay Richards responds to Mark Vernon’s charge that intelligent design is bad theology.
Who are those people? We know nothing about Richards, other than the fact that he often hosts Discoveroid podcasts. As for Mark Vernon, the guy who said intelligent design is bad theology, Wikipedia says he’s a writer, broadcaster and journalist with a degree in theology from Oxford. He also has a physics degree and a PhD in philosophy from other schools. Let’s see how the issue plays out. The Discoveroids tell us:
No, Richards says, the charge itself is based on bad theology, bad reasoning, and a faulty understanding of both intelligent design theory and theism.
Harsh criticism, but why would a science outfit — which is what the Discoveroids claim to be — worry about theology? Maybe we’ll find out. The Discoveroids say:
First, in the context of biology, the theory of intelligent design doesn’t specify the identify of a designer or the specific means of causation. It merely makes an argument to intelligent design as the best explanation for certain features of the natural world.
Right. It’s like William Paley’s Watchmaker analogy. You know how it goes — if something looks designed, then by golly it is designed! The Discoveroids rely heavily on the watchmaker analogy, and claim that they have an amazing ability to detect design. Their post continues:
Second, even if it did involve arguing that the designer was God and that God had intervened at particular points in the history of the cosmos, such as in the origin of life or the emergence of human beings, it would hardly be blasphemy. Far from it.
Blasphemy? Why would a science outfit be concerned about such a thing? Astronomers never give it a thought. Neither do physicists, or any other scientists — including biologists. But the Discoveroids are concerned, and they respond to the charge.
It would be orthodox theism [Oh, then it’s okay!], an outlook shared by theists as diverse as Christians, Jews, and Muslims, just to name a few. Under theism, God is understood as free and able to create both ex nihilo (out of nothing) at the beginning of creation, and within the created order.
Is this making any sense to you, dear reader? Same here, but let’s read on:
God, Richards says, “is under no obligation to conform to Mark Vernon’s rules of tidiness and propriety.” Vernon has mistaken a narrow deism for theism and then charged theists with blasphemy [Gasp!] for considering God free to act within the created order.
That’s the Discoveroids’ defense of the charge that their “theory” of intelligent design is bad theology. They insist that it’s good theology. We’ll take their word for it.
Hey — right at the end of the post we’re told who Richards is — and it’s something we knew and should have remembered:
Richards is a senior fellow of Discovery Institute and co-author, with Guillermo Gonzalez, of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery.
So there you are, dear reader. In case you were having doubts, the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design is theology. And not just any theology, it’s good theology. Don’t ever doubt it!
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