There are many other attacks on ID in the media, and they are all useful in that they demonstrate the true intellectual force behind Darwinism: a commitment to materialism. The most common argument against ID, that it invokes God and so cannot be a part of science, is a crystal-clear expression of that commitment. Instead of asking, “What if there really were an intelligent designer active in the origin of life?” the Darwinists take it for granted that such a designer doesn’t exist and limit the definition of science according to that unproven premise. Similarly, the evidence for the existence of a pre-Sumerian civilization would not be “a part of history” if you define history as “the discipline that examines the past of human societies starting from the Sumerians and never, ever, accepting the possibility of something else before.” A saner approach would be to question the definition of the discipline that is challenged by evidence — not to ignore the evidence in order to save the definition of the discipline. The reason this saner approach is not the mainstream view in biology is the same old dogmatic belief: materialism.
Of course, Darwinians have the right to believe in whatever they wish, but it is crucial to unveil that theirs is a subjective faith, not an objective truth, as they have been claiming for more than a century. This unveiling would mark a turning point in the history of Western civilization, by reconciling science and religion and letting people become intellectually fulfilled theists. Moreover, it would mark a turning point in the history of the world, by changing the meaning of “the West” and “Westernization” in the eyes of Muslims. They have been resisting the influx of godlessness from the West for a long time; they would be much less alarmed in the face of a redeemed West.
Phillip E. Johnson once said that the ID debate is about the question whether the U.S. is a nation under God or a nation under Darwin. We Muslims see the latter as a plague; we have no problem with the former. We might have disagreements, but we agree on the most fundamental truth of all — that there really is a God out there, and He is the One to Whom we owe our very life and existence. ~Mustafa Akyol, National Review
Hat tip to View from the Right.
A couple points are in order. Unless Thomas Fleming and I have somehow been magically transformed into philosophical materialists, Mr. Akyol’s charge against critics of ID-as-science is misleading and certainly too simplistic. Any religious “common ground” between Christian and Muslim is a will o’ the wisp put forward by Muslims, Western renegades and soft-headed theologians–on this point I agree with Mr. Auster of VFR that Akyol’s article is an (implausible and silly) attempt to sucker the West into accommodation with the Islamic world. The Islamic world has been, generally speaking, persistently hostile and at odds with the West, long before our civilisation slid into its morass of secularism and modernity. Akyol’s article does make one thing clear about what ID theorists are really doing–they are making a religious argument in scientific guise to combat the genuine cultural damage philosophical materialism has done to Western societies. They are right to oppose that materialism and its consequences, but they are doing it in such a cackhanded way that I’ll wager they will do more damage to their cause than to anything else. As for those who are supporting ID because they think it is better science, I have nothing to say to them.
I didn’t notice John Derbyshire making any comments at The Corner about this particularly silly article, but it has something everyone can ridicule. Then again, maybe having a Muslim make a forthrightly foolish argument like this will so completely undermine ID in the eyes of NR readers that Derbyshire would welcome the easy target it provides.
Correction: Derbyshire did comment here on why he wasn’t commenting on this article and others like it. Here are a few good remarks from that post:
I will just offer this, though, as a parting shot. Malraux (I think it was) said that there are two reasons to be a socialist: You may love the poor, or you may hate the rich. There are similarly two reasons to get worked up about I.D.: You may love science, or you may hate religion.
My entire and sole motivation in writing against I.D. has been love of, and reverence for, science, and indignation that people should claim a place for their theory at science’s table when they have done no science whatsoever to back it up, and plainly have no intention of doing any, and when their fundamental premises are not merely unscientific, but willfully anti-scientific.
For what it’s worth, I find ID-as-science obnoxious both because it is a travesty of science and an insult to theology and philosophy. ID theorists could make their claims about a designed cosmos all they like if they were willing to advance them seriously as what they are, theological and philosophical claims. It is the conscious disparaging of theology and philosophy implicit in trying to make ID a scientific claim that truly agitates me. In a strange way, ID supporters are as trapped in a materialist worldview as the practitioners of the “scientistic” abuses they decry: they remain beholden to some extent to a view that only what is empirically proveable is true, and so they dutifully set about trying to prove revealed claims to be true by turning to empirical evidence for confirmation. But when they actually turn to this evidence, they do not handle it scientifically, as the evidence requires, but impose causal explanations pulled, as it were, from the sky.
Imagine someone attempting to do history in this way in the conviction that God rules over all of history in His Providence (as indeed He does): instead of doing the real work of source criticism, translation, verifying source claims (to the extent this is possible), testing one source against all other available evidence to determine how and why something happened and then making a plausible argument from all of this, the ID historian would simply say, “Deus vult!” That is, God willed it. In a very real sense, that is true (provided it comes with a number of qualifications), but it is not an historical argument and someone who makes that claim is not much of an historian. How much more the case when it comes to the physical sciences!