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Thursday, January 07, 2010



He only addresses one type of ID theory and such as it is I'm inclined to think he is right.

But the answer to his objection is quite simple. Just as the acorn contains all the genetic instruction it needs to be the complex mature tree it might become, the intelligent programming of all that is, including the biological life of earth, can well be explained within the ID world-view as being present at the instant of the big bang perhaps and need not necessitate small interventions along the way.

Needless to say, that answers the preposterous premise of the strict Darwinists who can conceive of the higher coming from the lower in terms of complexity simply by accidental mutation of the lesser form, without the pre-programming that an ID answer would call for.

But I don't see, even so, how an ID theory that calls for God's intervention along the way, in some way lessens God. I don't follow Fr. Barron on that point.

Perhaps he was anxious, in the course of making his point, to include the two extremes in a symmetry of error, and stretched the point too far.


Hmmm, possible proof for God's intervention? You decide:


I think Fr. Barron is saying that both extremes are stuck on the wrong question, which is "Where is God in the process?" ID is vulnerable if they rely on finding God in the Big Bang when the Big Bang loses its status as accepted theory. Begin with belief in God and then stand in awe of God's creation. Speculate to your heart's content but don't pin the "proof" of God on physical matter and processes, our understanding of which constantly changes. If you don't like Darwin's answers, find the holes in the theory by sticking with data and concepts (like levels of complexity), not the requirements of theology, which change as well. Some atheists get excited at the multiple universe theories because in their theology, this would mean there is no God. The Christian responds, "Who says the Creator is limited to one universe?" Where science and theology disagree, either one or both are wrong but that doesn't mean God is absent, it's just our understanding that is lacking. Chaos is just order that is not yet perceived. (Help - who said that?)


I agree Jean, that scientific theories change, and indeed the Big Bang may be passe at some point. But as some have said in the past, ID is not science per se but philosophy and it in essence is re-stating, based on up-to-date scientific observations and well established scientific principles, the prime mover argument, but now in terms of complexification.

Science itself tells us that no where in the universe does something come from nothing and ID is saying that without either regular interference from the creator or a master program, so to speak, from the beginning, the idea that complexity could accidentally come from simplicity is to in fact say that something can indeed come from nothing.

Thus, whatever the mechanism, or combination thereof that God set in motion or steered from the beginning, is not really the issue when it comes to the supposed opposition between science and religion.

The problem has always been that Darwinism overstepped the boundaries of science and wandered into metaphysics, so that those who cringe at the ID proponents and suggest they have nothing to do with science and should not be allowed into the party are trying to have it both ways.

To some extent, Fr. Barron has identified the problem but like so many others, puts it onto the ID'rs without the recognition that their case is legitimate as long as the atheist proponents of the circumstantial case of the evolutionary process claim that "proves" that God does not exist or at least did not create the universe and all that it contains, from simple to complex.

That has nothing to do with the actual science. That is a metaphysical theory drawn from scientific observations just like ID.

Steve J

Father Barron is right on, and this seeming inability of many Christians to distinguish between science and philosophy hampers their ability to influence the science/religion debate. ID and creationism both insert the philosophical question "Why?" into the quest for understanding, which is an important question, but one that belongs to philosophy and theology, not the physical sciences. It's almost as though these Christians are afraid that science without continual reference to God will end up shaking their faith. But understanding that God is the transcendent cause of all things should free us up to let scientific observations take us wherever they will, because science is not about proving or disproving His existence.

Barbara has a 27 August 2006 post, "The Vatican and the Astronomer: Why George had to go." hint: he mixed it up with Cardinal Schonbron. There's also a definition of ID that seems consistent with Church teaching.
Fr. Coyne's portrayal of ID to Fr. Barron is as inaccurate as Fr. Reese's description of the Pope's motivation for the Anglican Ordinary to George Will.

Michael Bangert

To the extent that one can provide a fair and accurate description of intelligent design, I think that Fr. Barron does a good job. It does seem superfluous and unnecessary for God to just pop into the world to create some irreducibly complex structure and then let things go until the next time He has to intervene. Evolutionary processes seem a much more satisfactory answer and as Fr. Barron mentions, as we deepen our understanding of them we gain a greater appreciation of God.

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