Design All The Way Down?

Design All The Way Down? September 3, 2013

I have sometime found myself in a debate with someone whose views I do not actually find objectionable, because they used the term “Intelligent Design” but meant something very different by it.

The view that the cosmos is “intelligently designed,” that the universe is “fine tuned” for the sort of life that we are to come into existence and thrive within it, is very different (in my opinion) from the view that posits Intelligent Design specifically in the realm of biology.

What makes the difference, for me, is that ID in biology is about denying the scientific evidence regarding the natural processes involved in the history and development of life on this planet; positing a fine-tuned universe and a deity responsible for the fine-tuning is, on the other hand, saying something that is not incompatible with the scientific evidence. It is not at all the only possible viewpoint, but it is not excluded by the scientific evidence.

The irony is that the proponents of ID in biology are doing something that is not merely anti-scientific, but something that is unnecessary, and more than that, objectionable from the perspective of most theistic thinking. Positing a Designer who makes a universe that then produces life is more impressive than a designer who makes a universe which then requires further intervention in order to get living things to exist. And the fact that (whether honestly or not) ID proponents often say that the Designer could be aliens shows why ID should be viewed as objectionable from the perspective of Christian theology. If the hand of God is indistinguishable from the work of aliens, isn’t something wrong with your theology and not just your science?

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