Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Doug Groothuis on Intelligent Design at the State University

My article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, "Intelligent Design and the State University: Accepting the Challenge (December, 2008), is now on line. I think this serves as a good introduction to ID and its pertinence to the state university.


Dave said...

You state in your article, "Unlike the older and less intellectually sophisticated creationism, ID does not argue for a young earth, young universe, or a global flood."

Last semester I read "Thousands Not Billions" by Donald DeYoung. If anyone has not read this work I strongly encourage you to read it. I did not find it to be "intellectually unsophisticated" in the least but actually quite rigorous.

Yes, we want our Christian voice to be heard in the larger academic world but at what price? Should we sacrifice truth for academic respectability? As the apostle Paul stated, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

By the way, believing in a literal physical resurrection of Jesus is just as absurd to secular academia as is taking Genesis 1-11 at face value.

On a different note, one problem that I have with the ID movement is that it attempts to operate apart from "religious assumptions". Unfortunately, such an attitude may inadvertently reinforce naturalistic and scientistic epistemologies by operating from the perspective that divine revelation cannot be an item of knowledge. How do we know that the book of Genesis does not possess genuine knowledge concerning the origin of the universe and life? I don't think we should or need to surrender this piece of ground in our battle with naturalism and Darwinism.

Paul said...

Thanks, Doug. Good read!
Not sure if you know, but Francis Collins has now entered the blogosphere. First entry: How is BioLogos different from Theistic Evolution, Intelligent Design and Creationism?

Doug Groothuis said...

I obviously don't think that not arguing for a young earth or a global flood is compromising biblical truth, since I don't think the Bible teaches this.

ID thinkers are far more sophisticated that creationists, who as saddled with opposing the entirely of contemporary science with respect to the age of the earth and universe. That is a battle we don't have to fight.

ID, as I say in the article, does not appeal to uniquely religious assumptions. That is its strength, not its weakness. You move from good philosophy and practice of science to the inference to a Designer. Nothing wrong with that!

Dave said...

One of the deficiencies of ID is explaining the sub-optimal functionality of certain organs/organisms. Also, proponents of ID must give an account of the vast amount of suffering and death that has afflicted living things over the past millions of years.

It is difficult to deal with these two issues without the Biblical doctrine of the Fall.

I agree that in certain evangelistic situations we should be "as wise as serpents and as peaceful as doves". Of course we need to be strategic in defending the Christian faith. So sometimes an appeal to the Bible may not always be necessary or even productive. However, I would argue that such an appeal is not an unfounded "religious assumption". There are good historical, philosophical, scientific, and experiential reasons for affirming the Bible as the inspired Word of God. It is a trustworthy body of knowledge.

On a different note, it is commendable that Christians want to reclaim America's universities for our Lord and Savior. Debunking Darwinism is a crucial factor in this. However, as J.P. Moreland once pointed out, the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, not the university (1 Timothy 3:15).