The Discovery Institute Media Complaints Department issues a missive about a University of Arizona panel on creationism. Amidst the usual whinging about the failure to include the mainstream scientists and historians who totally support ID, we get Disco. hanger-on David Klinghoffer’s insistence that:
whatever else may be said for or against ID, it’s clearly at odds with a literal reading of the Bible.
This is interesting. Bill Dembski has insisted that ID is simply “the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated,” after all, and Dembski is purported to know something about ID.
I’ll also note that there were audible gasps at a symposium I attended last fall along with NCSE’s Faith Project Director Peter Hess, when Hess stated that ID was “blasphemous.” The Disco. ‘Tute’s Casey Luskin, also present at the symposium, did not approve of that sentiment.
You can now review Hess’s full paper “Creation, Design and Evolution: Can Science Discover or Eliminate God?” at the website of the University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy. I think that Peter makes a strong case for ID being blasphemous. I especially enjoy this passage:
If intelligent design theory is correct, it is understandable why Richard Dawkins should describe God as being (among other things) a “sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully). To a theist, of course, such a description of God constitute’s blasphemy, but this is the logical descriptor of the God of “intelligent design,” who ultimately is directly responsible for all the suffering built into a universe with which God interminably tinkers.
I’d quibble with the claim that all theists regard Dawkins’ description as blasphemous, though. I think a fair reading of Job (the earliest of the Biblical books to be written), suggests that this is exactly how the ancient Hebrews saw their deity. It opens, after all, with God capriciously and malevolently allowing intense sufferings to be heaped on Job, as nothing more than a small bet to while away the hours. In a college essay I wrote on Job, I recall trying what I thought was a very sharp maneuver by setting up a dichotomy in the Job could either be explained by an omnibenevolent God or by a capricious and occasionally cruel God. Since, I argued at the time, the ancient Hebrews must have believed the former, I never considered the meaning of Job if God were not omnibenevolent. The class’s professor gently chided me for this oversight, and I think rightly so. Certainly the contemporary theologies of ancient Greece and the rest of the Middle East are populated by capricious gods with all the foibles we see in humans. Why not the monotheistic God, too?
In any event, Peter’s essay is a thoughtful and accessible survey of the theological objections to ID creationism, and the ways that at least some religious groups integrate science and religion. Interested parties take note.