Tom Gilson
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5 thoughts on “Intelligent Design: Good Theology or Bad?

  1. Thanks for doing this; it’s useful to have an index to it all.

    It’s worth noting, though, that it isn’t all just about whether ID is good theology, although that comes up. The primary foci of the debate were:

    (1) Whether ID is consistent with Thomism (and, later, Scotism) in the structure and grounds of its argument.
    — This isn’t primarily a matter of theology; the major issue is with how ID theorists argue and whether and to what degree someone with at least a broadly Thomistic approach can regard its argument as a legitimate kind of argument.

    (2) Whether ID in fact concedes the primary point by assuming a mechanistic view of the universe.
    — Closely related to the previous

    (3) Whether ID, even setting aside (1) and (2), can be rendered compatible with Thomism (or Scotism) while also remaining a purely scientific approach.

    (4) Whether ID is compatible with Thomism (and, later, Scotism) when interpreted theologically.

    It should be noted with each of Feser’s posts there was further discussion at the blog, “What’s Wrong with the World”.

  2. For those who aren’t motivated or able to read through this all, are there any summaries and/or recaps of the conversation posted anywhere?

    I’m particularly interested in learning about the “Is ID good theology” question.

  3. Steve Fuller weighed in on this question in the Guardian: The question: Is intelligent design bad theology?

    Intelligent design theory (ID), the latest version of scientific creationism to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy in biology, is in the unenviable position of being damned as both bad science and bad theology. However, if those charges are true, then the basis of our belief in both science and God may be irrational. At the very least, ID suggests that belief in the two may be interdependent. I agree with ID on this point, which provides the main thesis of my latest book, a defence of science as an “art of living”.

  4. Tom,

    Thanks for posting these. I found both approaches to the issue quite interesting.

    As I was reading these threads, I noticed how the discussion represented, in part, the impact of a scientific explanation for biological complexity on natural theism.

    One specific example of this is the formation of the Biologos Foundation, which seems to be one of the many controversial conclusions held by natural theists.

    This is despite the fact that evolution, like all scientific explanations, is subject to limitations on certainty. In addition, the exact mechanism of evolution is not universally accepted and the entire theory could be rejected on philosophical grounds since we can’t really prove that external reality exists at all.

    How is that a scientific explanation of biological complexity could have a significant impact on natural theism?

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