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?

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4 Responses to “Is ID agnostic?”

  1. Hello Neil, thanks for reviewing and commenting on my article.
    An agnostic believes in the possibility of intelligent design. I believe this was reflected in the article with questions and “if” statements.
    “I don’t know of any evolutionary biologist who says that all of life is due to random and blind natural means.” Isn’t that what Richard Dawkins is arguing? Please elaborate on what you believe evolutionary biologists are arguing.
    Cheers!

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    • Being uncommitted on the question of ID, allowing that it is a possibility, that I see as agnostic. But your post said that ID itself is agnostic. And that is what you failed to explain adequately.

      As for “random and blind natural means”, I’m pretty sure that Dawkins, and most evolutionary biologists would say that mutation is random and blind, but that natural selection is directed toward adaptation. You wouldn’t tell an expert poker player that his play was random and blind, on the basis that the cards are shuffled giving a random distribution. Rather, you would allow that the poker player might have some considerable skills that he can put into his play, even though he received a random hand.

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      • ID is “religiously” agnostic, as in not tied to any specific religion.
        The poker player analogy sounds theistic. Different traits in offspring causing a greater attraction to the opposite sex, or an advantage in survival is random and blind. Adaptation is what promotes some traits over others, but fitting random variances into the adaptation criterion at the time is not what I would call skilled direction, but random chance.

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