tents without poles

In this article, Bill Saleton argues that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement is cutting its own feet out from under itself, even as it is winning over school boards in consistently conservative states like Kansas. How? Here's his interpretation:
Essentially, ID proponents are gambling that they can concede evolutionist earth science without conceding evolutionist life science. But they can't. They already acknowledge microevolution--mutation and natural selection within a species. Once you accept conventional fossil dating and four billion years of life, the sequential kinship of species loses its implausibility. You can't fall back on the Bible; you've already admitted it can't always be taken literally. All you're left with is an assortment of gaps in evolutionary theory--how did DNA emerge, what happened between this and that fossil--and the vague default assumption that an "intelligence" might fill in those gaps. [ID proponents] Calvert and Harris call this assumption a big tent. But guess what happens to a tent without poles.
So, what are we left with to explain life on Earth? (1) 6-day, 24 hour Young Earth creationism (aka, Creation Science) by fiat; (2) theistic evolution (God used the process of evolution); (3) Intelligent Design (God used the process of evolution but had to insert some things by fiat--new species, etc.); (4) naturalistic evolution. Arguably, only #1 fits a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, though it has problems with the other creation accounts in scripture. Again, arguably, 2 and 3 can be made to fit the Biblical account, but not with a strictly literal interpretation (in English; I have been told that there's a lot more wiggle room in Hebrew). But if we interpret the creation story allegorically, what are we giving up...? The Resurrection? Miracles? Reasons for being unselfish? Conversely, if we insist that the findings of science are wholly wrong and that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, what other assertions of science are we willing to chuck...? Medicine? Astronomy? Solid-state physics?


Blogger John McCollum said...

I can't imagine discussing this via blog, but I'd love to sit down with you again and kick this around.

Very interesting.

7/19/2005 9:12 AM  
Blogger e said...

sure, that would be excellent over pint(s).
yet you have long and relatively nuanced discussions with people via comments on your blog.... you underestimate your ability to express yourself electronically if you think you couldn't do the same here....

7/20/2005 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i will join you with this thread. unfortunately, i cant watch the blog-sphere at work anymore. the domains are off-limits.

the tent without poles analogy is unintentional comedy in my opinion. the science of the gaps idea is just as comedic as god of the gaps. since science answers the how questions, why cant they come up with the best explanations outside of technology or information is not available yet?

i kind of liek the idea that scientists and theologians are required to dialog. this ensures that the best and the brightest of both fields stay on their toes.

as an aside, marshill in their latest issue interviewed an agnostic mathematician from columbia (david green) on his approach to einsteins unified field thoeries. it was a good interview because it shows how one can ask religious questions in the context of science and math. did nto shed any new insight other than dialog is happening.

i get the feeling that anti-theists, atheists and agnostics enjoy the dialog as much as we do. myself, i dont know where the comments wil go next, but that is my tangent.


7/20/2005 10:09 AM  

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