ORIGINALLY POSTED IN JANUARY OF 2014
Jump to Bradley Monton’s Isaac Newton and the methodological method.
In the most recent issue of FIRST THINGS (February 2014), Stephen Meredith attempted to critique Intelligent Design theory, by, essentially creating straw-men arguments or by debating issues others have dealt with well.
Later in this “short” review of topics that caught my critical eye, we will see the similar vein John Derbyshire takes in the January/February (2014) issue of The American Spectator in comparing ID to Islam.
AT LEAST American Spectator had the foresight to have an alternative view side-by-side, so you get to see what an erudite, idea filled presentation looks like (Stephen Meyer’s)…
— a portion of which I will publish at the bottom from a magazine I recommend highly —
…alongside another filled with fallacious arguments, non-sequiturs, and a lack of intelligence in laying out a positive case (John Derbyshire).This straw-man built up by Mr. Derbyshire seems likewise heavily influenced by Hume, who said in his well known essay entitled, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, the following:JOHN LENNOX breaks down Hume’s argument thus:
1. Miracles are violations of the laws of nature
2. These laws have been established by ‘firm and unalterable’ experience
3. Therefore, the argument against miracle is as good as any argument from experience can be
B. Argument from the uniformity of experience:
1. Unusual, yet frequently observed, events are not miracles – like a healthy person suddenly dropping dead
2. A resurrection would be a miracle because it has never been observed anywhere at any time
3. There is uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise it would not be called miraculous
Dr. Lennox continues:
Argument 1. Hume says that accounts of miracles ‘are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations’ (op.cit. p.79).
Fallacy. In order to recognize some event as a miracle, there must be some perceived regularity to which that event is an apparent exception! You cannot recognize something which is abnormal, if you do not know what is normal. Example: 1) virgin conception of Jesus; 2) conception of John the Baptist.
Argument 2. Now that we know the laws of nature, belief in miracles is impossible.
Fallacy. The danger of confusion between legal and scientific use of word law. Why it is inaccurate and misleading to say that miracles ‘violate’ the laws of nature. It is rather, that God feeds new events into the system from time to time. There is no alteration to or suspension of the laws themselves.
‘If God annihilates or creates or deflects a unit of matter, He has created a new situation at that point. Immediately all nature domiciles this new situation, makes it at home in her realm, adapts all other events to it. It finds itself conforming to all the laws. If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all the normal laws, and nine months later a child is born’ (C.S Lewis, Miracles. p.63).
This is mainly the point Michael Flannery makes near the end of this portion of his critique of the First Things article, entitled: “Writing in First Things, Stephen Meredith Offers Confusion in the Guise of Critique“:
How one can go from the above rational positions by a Christian (CS Lewis), and an atheist (Bradley Monton), to comparing floating ice as an unnatural event held in situ by God’s continuous miraculous intervention. And then compare this straw-man to the Islamic understanding of extreme fideistic occasionalism?Nor do Christians suspend belief or do not question their own understanding or nature’s causes for events, like Islam has, historically: And when something “unnatural” is introduced into nature, this does not interfere one iota with science or the natural order of events, causality, or the like. As CS Lewis said many years ago, this is a Red Herring. Not to mention, that in reality, neo-Darwinian thinking IS A METAPHYSICAL PREMISE at its core. So often times it is the kettle calling the pot… well, you know.
Likewise one of the most celebrated pediatric surgeons in the world, whom a movie was made after, “Gifted Hands,” is a young earth creationist. And the inventor of the MRI, a machine that diagnosed my M.S., is also a young earth creationist.
Evolutionary Darwinism is first and foremost an “historical science” that has many presuppositions that precede it, making it a metaphysical belief, a philosophy, as virulent anti-creationist philosopher of science, Michael Ruse explains:
Can you believe in God and science at the same time? Many claim that belief in religion is at odds with “the science” of today. But is that really true? In this five-part series, Stephen Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, attempts to answer this existential question.
Series “Broken Out”
- Are Religion and Science in Conflict? — Science and God | Does belief in God get in the way of science? The idea that science and religion are inevitably in conflict is a popular way of thinking today. But the history of science tells a different story.
- How Did the Universe Begin? — Science and God | Was the universe always here, or did it have a beginning? If so, how did it start? Mankind has debated these questions for centuries and has only recently begun to find some answers. And those answers may point to some even more intriguing conclusions.
- Aliens, the Multiverse, or God? — Science and God | Even staunch Darwinists have acknowledged that life in the universe displays an appearance of design, rather than being created out of random chance. If that’s true, where did that design come from? In other words, does a design require a designer?
- What Is Intelligent Design? — Science and God | Chances are if you’ve heard anything about intelligent design, you’ve heard that it’s faith-based, not science-based. Is that true? Or does modern science, in fact, point us in the direction of a designing intelligence?
- What’s Wrong with Atheism? — Science and God | Is there any meaning to life? Or is life nothing more than a cosmic accident? Scientific atheists claim the latter, but ironically, it’s science itself that suggests the former.