Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Letter to "The New York Times" Concering Intelligent Design

Veryln Klinkenborg’s editorial about Intelligent Design (ID) (8-23) caricatured the movement and begged important questions. He accuses “faith-based rejections of evolution” as “ultimately requiring a foreshortening of cosmological, geological, and biological time.” That is true for six-day creationists, but not for the ID perspective, which acceptes an ancient cosmos. ID theorists argue that even given vast stretches of time, the probabilistic resources available to a mindless and undesigned universe could not have brought about our information-rich Biosphere. For the philosophical and scientific arguments for this (with no appeal to the Bible), see William Dembski, No Free Lunch. Ironically, Klinkenborg’s own view is “faith-based”—given enough time mindless matter can account for everything. He asserts that life evolved from non-life when, in fact, there is no plausible materialistic explanation for this, as many modern scientists, such as Francis Crick, have admitted.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.,
Professor of Philosophy
Denver Seminary


Jeffrey J. Stables said...

Excellent letter! We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be caricatured, as you said, as non-scientific, dumb fundamentalists.

Matthew said...

Although most in the ID movement believe in an old earth, it is inaccurate to say that the movement qua ID does. Paul Nelson, for example, does not. In fact, Johnson and Dembski have both stated that ID takes NO position on the age of the earth. ID is only about detecting intelligent design and theorizing about it. (Although it is correct to say that ID makes no arguments from religious texts.)

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Good point you made. Let me expound a bit:

Most ID people believe in an old earth, and they never challenge it in their literature. So, it is technically correct to say they take "no position," but they are generally very friendly toward a 14-15 billion year old universe. The biggest names--Dembski, Behe, Meyer--are not young earthers. P. Johnson may be completely agnostic on it. What the NY Times screed said was false: that all those who challenge Darwinism deny an ancient universe.