Now let’s assume that there is a supernatural explanation for the universe and that it is the traditional Western God. Here are some implications of using natural holes in our knowledge to prove this:
God has obviously created a universe of causal relationships. Natural laws could be described as “God’s language.” It’s ironic to look for proof of Him in spots where this language does not work - where causal relationships allegedly break down. ID seems to suggest that the natural, “created” order did not work well enough to create first life, so supernatural interventions were necessarily inserted into the universe. In this case I see at least three options for interpretation:
1. God made mistakes in His initial creation.
2. God created the world with no thoughts of life and later changed His mind.
3. God intentionally left humans hard-to-find clues billions of years ago to induce His existence. However God seems to have failed since many, many scientists, philosophers and others who study these things do not view these alleged breakdowns as evidence of His existence. Plus why would God choose this route instead of direct, unmistakable revelation to each individual person? A non-believer might ask, “Where is my road to Damascus?”
A proponent of ID might say in response, “I don’t know think it is our place to draw conclusions about God’s plan. We cannot know His mind. This is human hubris.”
I agree. This is the exact reason why we cannot logically establish that intelligent design has occurred. To do so is to claim to know the mind of God. It is seeing a gap and plugging in God’s intentions and actions from our own limited knowledge. Once again, to claim that a supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite source left behind finite, temporal evidence for us is to claim to know and understand God’s intentions and actions. I believe that this is the true human hubris. What I am trying to do here is use the same thinking that a believer in ID uses to view God’s “footprints” to view the implications of these footprints.
Another proponent of ID might say, “But God’s direct creation of first life explains the evidence in an easier way than chance.”
1. “God did it” will always seem more parsimonious than any natural explanation. Just like Harry Potter waving his wand to pack his trunk is easier than actually packing it by hand - except of course, that there is no explanation for magic - like God. To quote a friend, “It’s explaining the unexplainable without explanation.”
2. It seems difficult to claim parsimony when proposing a being who is more powerful and complex than the entire universe to “explain” one, tiny event inside the universe (or even the universe itself).
These are just some of the philosophical problems I see with attempting to make reason-based arguments for ID. I do not consider these posts as arguments against God at all. They are arguments against using natural, logical processes to argue for a supernatural cause for first life or for the universe as a whole. As Robert T. Pennock wrote recently, “One may, of course, retain religious faith in a designer who transcends natural processes, but there is no way to dust for his fingerprints.”
If there is an infinite God, we finite creatures of limited ability are completely at His mercy. Perhaps an attitude of openness and trust towards the unknown is more useful than intellectual submission to a dogma whose justification is problematic. Isn’t this respecting the gap in our knowledge, being open to possibilities and acknowledging human limitations, rather than using the gap as an opportunity to plug in our pre-existing dogma, hence attempting to close the gap?
I say the gap itself is a beautiful thing. And the more we refine it through our growing knowledge, the more beautiful it becomes.