Intelligent-Design Addressed at Southern Baptist Seminary

A controversial Intelligent-Design advocate William A. Dembski addressed a forum on ID theory on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), on March 23.

The forum, entitled "Darwinism and the Church: a Conversation on Intelligent Design and Cultural Engagement," taught that some features of the natural world are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause rather than naturalistic evolution.

"These issues of Intelligent Design and creation really cut to the heart of worldviews, what we are about, how we're putting life together and what's ultimately meaningful, what morality is based on," Dembski said, according to Towers Online.

Dembski, who currently serves as associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University, is expected to take a new post at the new Center of Science and Theology at SBTS this coming June as Carl F.H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology.

Dembski said he looks forward to serving at Southern because of the seminary's willingness to sponsor Intelligent Design research as a legitimate scientific enterprise—an attitude that some Christian colleges and universities do not share because they believe embracing intelligent design will compromise their status in the academic world, according to Towers.

Dembski has formerly served as the director of the Michael Polanyi Center for Complexity, Information, and Design at Baylor until October 2000, shortly after a controversy reportedly caused by his promotion of intelligent-design.

"Even many Christians who have been raised and indoctrinated in a secular mindset … will say, 'Look, we're just going to have to accept the science of the day and try to make our peace with it theologically,'" he said. "And there is no peace theologically … ultimately with this view (Darwinian evolution). But they accept it, and so this idea of Intelligent Design becomes very threatening."

Dembski contends that the first goal of ID is to "demonstrate the inadequacy of Darwinian evolution as an explanation of the origin of the universe."

He sugested that one of the chief methods disproving darwinism is to demonstrate the weakness of the scientific evidence that is presented in support of Darwinian evolution in many school classrooms.

"Evolutionary theory is in such a weak position that it shouldn't be taught at all … in this grand global sense," Dembski said. "If you want to say natural selection operates in accounting for antibiotic resistance in bacteria you can make a case there. But if you are going to try to say that's how you get bacteria, insects, all this in the first place, that's a huge extrapolation. The theory doesn't support that."

In addition to offering a critique of Darwinian evolution, Intelligent Design proposes alternative theories about the origin of the universe, according to Dembski. These alternative theories argue that a designer must have fashioned the complex biological and physical mechanisms humans observe in the world, he said.

Although much of the scientific community views Intelligent Design with disdain, according to Dembski, as many as 90 percent of Americans "are favorably disposed" to the idea.

He continued saying that because naturalism has influenced a variety of fields such as science, philosophy, business, and economics, Christians must be prepared to combat the naturalistic worldview in every arena of life.

One of the most effective ways to battle naturalism is to use Intelligent Design to challenge the basic assumptions of Darwinian evolution, he said.

"Intelligent Design is pressing that you can't get [the design of the universe] without intelligence."