Pharyngula

Nick Matzke has unearthed a treasure: an article from the Interdisciplinary Bible Research Institute that uses “Intelligent Design theory” to explain such phenomena as parasitic ichneumonid wasps and the panda’s thumb. You’ll be able to get an idea of the nature of the explanation from the title alone:

Rumors of Angels: Using ID to Detect Malevolent Spiritual Agents.”

It’s serious, not a joke.

The point to be made here is this: organisms which possess incredible complexity beyond what natural selection could “design” from the available offerings of chance, and which also seem to be clearly malevolent, might well be the work of malevolent spirit beings. There are, of course, other possibilities. They may be the direct or indirect work of God and we are mistaken in viewing them as malevolent. They might be the work of non-spiritual intelligences (extra-terrestrials). I cannot see any other alternatives that are consistent with a biblical theism.

I guess he’s assuming that theistic evolution is inconsistent with his bible.

The fellows has a proposal for a “research program”, too, something beyond what the run-of-the-mill IDists have accomplished.

Could predation be malevolent design? That was certainly the way Darwin viewed the matter. As I read the geologic record, predation goes all the way back to the Cambrian period. If it is malevolent, then the fall of Satan is much earlier than that of Adam, and creation is already not so good by the time Adam comes along. These are things that theologians, scientists and philosophers need to think about.

I’m picturing a bunch of guys in clerical collars sitting around, arguing about the geological era in which the fall of Satan occurred…it’s funny, but it’s no real research program.

So, we end this paper with a call to some dedicated Christian historians and biologists to take some time (and risk some ridicule) to see whether there is anything to be said for taking the biblical pictures of angels, demons and Satan seriously as a picture of the real world, rather than an ancient mythological worldview.

The real way to test this would be to have a collection of evidence that persuaded atheists, muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. that biblical angels and demons existed. That he has to assume only Christians who share his preconceptions will be able to accomplish this is telling.