ID Proponent Schools Theistic Evolutionist Theologians on Intelligent Design

Casey Luskin, a proponent of Intelligence Design, says that most theistic evolutionists appear to be unfamiliar with what ID theorists say, and they wrongly maintain that it's a "God of the gaps" argument.

Luskin, an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law who is on staff at Discovery Institute, identifies theologians Peter Enns and Neil Ormerod as examples, as he writes for Evolution News and Views.

Last December, Enns critiqued Intelligent Design in a blog post on Patheos. "ID research is dedicated to finding and exploiting alleged 'gaps' where a naturalistic evolutionary processes would collapse in on itself were it not for God's direct intervention," Luskin quotes him as saying. "A classic example of defending this 'God of the gaps' approach is the allegedly 'irreducibly complex' motor of the bacterial flagellum."

Similarly, Ormerod recently claimed in a post on BioLogos that ID says "chance is incompatible with divine design."

Luskin, co-founder of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center, argues that ID is not about finding "gaps."

"We don't infer design based upon what we don't know, but rather upon what we do know about the cause of information-rich systems, such as irreducibly complex machines. Irreducibly complex features contain high levels of complex and specified information (CSI), and we know from experience that high-CSI systems arise from the action of an intelligent agent," Luskin, who has an M.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, explains.

Enns and Ormerod appear to presuppose that all "gaps" will be filled by evolutionary mechanisms, Luskin says. So by making the "God of the gaps" charge, they are essentially committing a "Darwin of the gaps" fallacy, he adds.

Luskin also points out that ID isn't an argument for "God," but simply for an intelligent cause.

He admits that many ID proponents believe the designer is God, "but we don't claim this as a scientific matter." Religious believers among us have other reasons, he adds. "As a science, ID doesn't claim to identify the intelligence responsible for life."

It's a matter of principle, and not just rhetoric, Luskin goes on to say. After all, there is no known scientific method for identifying the intelligent source responsible for design in nature. "While the information in DNA points to an intelligent cause, that information by itself cannot scientifically tell you whether the intelligence is Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Yoda, or some other intelligent source."

ID begins with observations about how intelligent agents work, Luskin explains. "We observe that such intelligence is the sole known cause of high-CSI systems. This uniform sensory experience of the world makes intelligence an appropriate explanatory cause within historical scientific fields. Using the principle of uniformitarianism, this allows us to detect the activity of intelligence in the natural world."

Another mistake common among theistic evolutionists is the claim that ID says God cannot be involved in overseeing natural processes that involve chance and/or law.

ID advocates do not deny that God is the author of all nature, as God uses "secondary" or "natural" causes, Luskin writes. "As a science, ID never claims that if we observe the ongoing, regular and repeatable activity of 'naturalistic' processes, then somehow God is, theologically speaking, absent from the process. ID theorists properly leave such questions to theologians."

ID therefore does not "eliminate the possibility of divine action" when "we use science to understand natural cause and effect," he adds.

"Theistic evolutionists would do well to familiarize themselves with ID arguments before they critique ID as a 'gaps'-based argument which claims that if we don't detect design, then God is absent," Luskin concludes.