Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why I'm not annoyed with ID

Dave Heddle expresses his frustration with the ID movement here. He says:
The only thing, in my opinion, that can save ID is to acknowledge that it is not science but a science-based apologetic.
From an apologetic point of view, I think that ID can remove what people want to hang their hats on - I know of people who have become open to Christianity through creationist presentations.

However, there's more to it than that. There is an issue of science - ID in my opinion embodies a metaphysical alternative to philosophical naturalism. The scientific consensus at the moment is that there is uniformity of natural causes within a closed system - which means that there is no external agency, and we are part of the system. ID means that science can be carried out in an open system - human intelligence needn't be just the product of the system (which has a major epistemological impact - how can we know anything if we are part of the system?), and the origin of things can lie outside the system, rather than through some internal bootstrapping process.

Creationism has an open system. But whereas creationism starts with a prior commitment to a text (the Bible, or other) - which means that it has an empirical predisposition to squeeze results to fit a particular interpretation - ID starts with no such prior commitment. It simply accepts the possibility that the system may be open. Naturalism has to exclude that possibility - it is as committed to a particular interpretation of results as creationism.

Since, IMO, we have no a priori way of knowing whether we are part of the system, or whether there is a God, and ID is as far as I know the only game in town which works on this basis, that's where I am at the moment. If I could find other science being carried out that wasn't philosophically naturalistic and didn't have a prior commitment to a text, I would take it seriously.