Archive for March 28th, 2011

March 28, 2011

On materialism and meaninglessness

by Neil Rickert

Over at the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views” blog, David Klinghoffer has a post titled “What Intelligent Design Offers to Agnostics.”  He is, of course, referring to the tribune post with a similar title.  He spends some time talking about materialism.  For example, he says:

Materialism corrodes the confidence we might otherwise have that any search for meaning that we undertake is not necessarily in vain. Intelligent design offers the hope, by the refutation of materialist science, that “something is out there,” whatever it might be, capable of granting genuine purpose to our existence.

We often hear this kind of criticism coming from ID proponents and from creationists.  Yet I cannot find any basis for it.  Many of the people whom Klinghoffer would consider to be materialists, self included, live very meaningful lives and are not at all filled with the kind of despair that Klinghoffer describes.

Where do Klinghoffer and other ID proponents and creationists get these ideas?  Perhaps they have no good arguments, and they are trying this for want of a better argument.  Then funny thing is that our experience of designed things, whether they be puppets, mechanical toys or robots, is an experience of things that are mindless and have no meaning.  Based on the evidence, it ought to be ID that leads to meaninglessness and nihilism.

March 28, 2011

Is ID agnostic?

by Neil Rickert

There’s a recent column at the Chicago Tribune site, with the title “Creationism is biblical, Intelligent Design is agnostic.”  I find the claim puzzling.  And the argument (if it can even be called an argument) is even more puzzling.

As part of his column, James Kirk Wall writes:

If there is supernatural intelligence, then natural science is simply a study of what was already intelligently designed, and what was intelligently designed is what we now call “natural.”

Perhaps I am misunderstanding him.  But it sure seems that he is saying that an agnostic can believe in a supernatural designer, as long as he refers to that supernatural entity as “the intelligent designer” instead of using the name “god.”  That is surely a very unusual version of agnosticism.

In his column, Wall asks “Is all of life due to random and blind natural means, or is there something supernatural involved?”  Where does Wall get his ideas?  I don’t know of any evolutionary biologist who says that all of life is due to random and blind natural means.  Creationists allege that, but why would somebody claiming to be an agnostic listen to theists and ignore what evolutionists have to say?