Two items appear below:

1 Why Intelligent Design Leads to Theism #124   Jerry Bergman
2 Bergman's ID God #127                                       John Williams




Why Intelligent Design Leads to Theism

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

(Investigator 124, 2009 January)


Introduction

Few controversies have created the level of uproar in recent years as Intelligent Design (ID). One result of the ID movement was the court ruling against teaching ID in public schools in the recent Dover, PA, Intelligent Design court case (Kitzmiller v. Dover (400 F. Supp. 2d 707 [M.D. Pa. 2005]).

The reason for Judge Jones's ruling can be summed up as follows: Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to intelligent design, which leads to the intelligent Creator requirement. The Creator requirement leads to theism, and the courts have consistently ruled that the state cannot hinder or aid religion – and that since teaching ID aids religion, it cannot be taught in state supported schools. Of the many examples I know of people who rejected atheism and became theists because of ID, I will cite two recent examples.


Professor Antony Flew

Antony Flew, Professor Emeritus at Reading University, was a leading 20th-century intellectual and author of many books including the highly respected academic texts The Case for God Challenged (1993) and Atheistic Humanism (1993). He also has published many major philosophy texts, such as Western Philosophy; Ideas and Argument from Plato to Sartre

Although Flew was reared a Christian, due to his study of evolution during his teens he rejected theism. Flew concluded that evolution could fully account for the creation of all life and that there was no need for a Creator who had been displaced from his creator role by science. Flew eventually became a leading defender of atheism, a role he held for over half a century. His paper "Theology and Falsification," first presented at Oxford University, became the most widely reprinted academic philosophical paper in the last five decades.

Dr. Flew kept reading and thinking about this topic, though, and eventually returned to the theism of his youth. He relates that his conversion was primarily due to his study of ID, especially books by writers such as Michael Behe and William Dembski (Veith, 2004, p. 22). His views are now similar to those of the American Intelligent Design theorists who have concluded that scientific evidence exists for a guiding force in the Universe's construction. Flew adds that DNA and cell biology research has provided us with an enormously powerful argument for design and arguments from design convincingly argue that there is an intelligent Creator (Flew, and Varghese, 2007, p. 95).

Flew stresses that the main reason for "believing in a First Cause God is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic explanation of the origin of the first living reproducing organisms." (Wikipedia, 2008) He adds that his whole life has been guided by the Socratic principle "follow the argument wherever it leads" and, in this case, it led him to theism (Flew, and Varghese, 2007, p. 22).

He concludes that the most popular and intuitively plausible argument for God's existence is the argument from design, which teaches that the (Flew, and Varghese, 2007, p. 95)
(Flew, 1971).
…design that is apparent in nature suggests the existence of a cosmic Designer. I have often stressed that this is actually an argument to design from order, as such arguments proceed from the perceived order in nature to show evidence of design and, thus, a Designer. Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God. Developments in two areas in particular have led me to this conclusion. The first is the question of the origin of the laws of nature and the related insights of eminent modern scientists. The second is the question of the origin of life and reproduction.
This argument not only convinced the lifelong atheist Antony Flew to become a theist, but many other persons as well, including Dr. Timothy Johnson.


Dr. Timothy Johnson

The second example is Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Timothy Johnson. Dr. Johnson is most well known both as an ABC news-medical correspondent and for his many excellent science documentaries. His new book on ID titled Finding God in the Questions was a New York Times best seller. It was endorsed by several of his Harvard colleagues, including the dean of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Joseph Martin. Johnson's book both defends ID and reviews his own spiritual journey beginning from his childhood religious beliefs to his acceptance of skepticism and then back to belief. He discusses in detail why, as a scientist, ID was critical in his journey from agnosticism to theism.

Johnson graduated as his high school valedictorian and, after two years of college, decided to become a minister. His theology studies at the University of Chicago, instead of deepening his faith, caused him to lose it. In his words, "under the challenge of some very bright and skeptical teachers at the University of Chicago," he began to "doubt most everything" he had learned as a child about God (2004, p. 18). This included the belief that the Bible was God's Word, that Jesus was God's son, and that God rules the universe. He graduated and was ordained, but felt his doubts about the existence of God precluded his entering the ministry. Rather, he elected to study medicine, partly due to his seminary field placements in hospitals.

He came to believe in God only after many years of examining in detail the major questions that trouble many persons today. He began by questioning the evolutionary belief that the universe is a product of only time, natural law, and chance. After extensively studying the scientific research, especially that done by ID scientists, Johnson concluded that our inner and outer universes are not only far too vast and complex to be the result of mutations and natural forces, but are constructed so as to force the conclusion that they were created by an intelligent designer (2004, pp. 46–53). Johnson concluded that the footprints of this creator exist everywhere in the universe, from the human conscience to our basic need to form the complex social relationships that shape our lives.

Johnson cites the major ID literature, which he highly recommends, as important in his conversion from atheism to theism (2004, pp. 45, 214). His journey parallels that of many persons today, and it illustrates an important reason why ID has been a major means for many people to make the transition from atheism to theism, and why courts have ruled its teaching is religious advocacy.

The above stories are only two of hundreds of case histories involving conversion from atheism to theism due to ID. Some of these are discussed in a book titled Persuaded by the Evidence, published by Master Books (Sharp and Bergman, 2008).

ID is not biblical creationism, but for many it is an important step in that direction. Once one accepts a creator, the door to accepting Christianity, Judism, and Islam has been opened, as both Antony Flew and Timothy Johnson have acknowledged in their writings. Flew even stated that he now believes that, although he is not a Christian, the "Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honored," and he is open to exploring it (2007, p. 185).



References

Anonymous. 2008. Anthony Flew. Wikipedia (25 May).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew

Flew, Anthony 1971. Western Philosophy; Ideas and Argument from Plato to Sartre. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

Flew, Anthony. 1993.The Case for God Challenged. Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books

Flew, Anthony. 1993. Atheistic Humanism. Buffalo, N.Y. Prometheus Books

Flew, Anthony and Roy Abraham Varghese. 2007. There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. San Francisco, CA: Harper One.

Johnson, Timothy 2004. Finding God in the Questions: A Personal Journey. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Sharp, Doug and Jerry Bergman. 2008. Persuaded by the Evidence. Green Forrest, AZ: Master Books. 

Veith, Gene Edward. 2004. "Flew the Coop." World December, 25, p. 22.






BERGMAN'S ID 'GOD'

ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents: it's a religious alternative masquerading as scientific theory. (Judge John Jones III, January, 2006)

John H Williams

(Investigator 127, 2009 July)


Dr Jerry Bergman is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC), an Answers in Genesis ideologue, and a proponent of Intelligent Design (ID).

Bergman has given us examples of believers in creation such as Wernher Von Braun (#96) without telling us in any depth what he (Bergman), as a YEC, believes. In #124 he's done it again, advising us that "ID Leads To Theism", using the 'conversions' to ID of Timothy Johnson and Antony Flew. What's needed is a rationale, not names of converts!

Investigator articles critical of ID by Bob Potter, Anonymous and me over the last nine years have not been debunked. Bergman has been silent on Johnson and his Wedge Strategy, and on Michael Behe and the "unnamed designer" now revealed as the god espoused by creationists of various denominations. (Behe is Catholic, and Johnson a born-again Presbyterians and YEC.) I challenge Dr Bergman to respond. In #124 he also glossed over the heavy defeat suffered by ID in the 2005 Dover trial.

What is objectionable about ID, as exemplified by the Dover case, is the Big Lie that it's secular and scientific. My impression is Bergman doesn't enjoy scholarly challenge and when it comes (as in #66, #82, #93 and #97) he ignores it, using the excuse of "more pressing research commitments" or the insufficiency of space in the Investigator.

ID was exposed by the 1999 leaking of the Wedge Document (championed by Johnson) as creationism disguised as science. Its agenda is pro-the-Christian-god, pro-religion in schools, anti-evolution, and anti-atheism which Johnson characterized as synonymous with materialism. (See: 'Religious Alternative Masquerading As Scientific Theory' in #115)
 
Judge Jones wrote that ID "may be true, but it was not science". It used "flawed and illogical arguments" such as "living things are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of higher force", and "attacks on evolution which have been refuted by the scientific community." He was shocked that Christians (including Dover Board members) lied under oath about their true purpose which was to promote religion in public schools.
 
One might respect ID advocates if they'd been honest and stated the Designer was God. It took the Dover disaster to substantiate what's been known since 1999. For example:
Dr Michael Behe: "The plausibility of the argument for ID depends on the extent one believes in the existence of God."
(Behe, ID's ranking scientist, Senior Fellow of the CSC of the Discovery Institute, their champion of 'irreducible complexity', chosen to argue ID's case, said this?!).

Professor Steven Fuller: "ID's project is to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural."

Dr William Dembski: "ID is a ground-clearing operation to allow Christianity. Christ is never an addendum to a science theory but always a completion."
Antony Flew brilliantly expressed a rationale for atheism for decades. I'm disappointed he was one of 15 academics who in 2006 lobbied the Blair government to have ID taught in schools. However, should it be available as an optional 'extension' topic, as proposed by the 2006 Dover School Board, that's educationally acceptable, provided it remains:
(a) Non-compulsory and,
(b) Not in a science curriculum.
If that approach had been taken at Dover in 2004 it would have saved a lot of controversy and a costly six week trial.

I dislike one-sided contests and almost felt sorry for the humiliation heaped on Behe and others. I refer readers to the trial's transcript, and Mike Argento's coverage in the York Daily Record.

Bergman's first sentence on his summation of the judge's ruling is: "Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to ID, which leads to an intelligent Creator requirement".

ID and its earlier form of Creation Science have been critical of evolutionary ideas, using the discredited god of the gaps, and 'evolution is not a fact, and is only a theory'. "Critical analysis" of "evolutionism" may lead to ID, or it may not.

There's no problem having critical analysis, as there's robust debate on how evolution occurred, the same kind of debate as a complex murder case, because:
(a) the evidence is incomplete
(b) the key witness is dead, and
(c) the perpetrator is in dispute.
Not infrequently, as with the OJ Simpson case, the verdict is contested. While acts of god are useful for businesses running insurance, no murder trial has found for a supernatural agent. This, in my opinion, applies to every happening in our planet's 4.5 billion year history. The court of reason has found for naturalistic causation, due to the lack of substantiated evidence for that ancient, warlike Hebrew god.

Flew appears to have taken a default position regarding ID – since it's not known how the first replicating organisms occurred, therefore a god did it. This issue deserves a separate article, as does Flew's "the question of the origin of the laws of nature and the related insights of eminent modern scientists". There will always be unknowns in science, which is a more desirable state than "God did it, so don't bother". Eventually science will know more about those earliest replicating creatures.

Flew, as a man of integrity, would be dismayed by Christians telling lies, distorting the evidence, and misrepresenting evolution and science. From my perusal of web sites I believe that Flew doesn't know what ID's critics know, and has been 'prodded' towards deism and quasi-ID ideas by evangelical 'connections'. (Note: Flew lives in Reading, England, and corresponds by post. A central nervous system problem affects his ability to speak and he doesn't keep up with science or theology. Sometimes he doesn't remember key names and books and is not, at nearly 86, the dominant intellect he once was.)

I've yet to fully unravel how Flew let go his atheism. I suspect the influence of Roy Varghese who is into 'transcendental wonder' and pities real scientists unable to experience it! Varghese co-authored There is a God (2007) with Flew and organised a conference in 1985 through which Flew met Dr Gary Habermas of Liberty University, with whom Flew had some splendid public debates on the Resurrection. Habermas appears impressed with Near Death Experiences (NDEs) as a useful entrée to the idea of the afterlife. A physicist, Gerald Schroeder, was influential in showing that Genesis might be scientifically accurate, but it appears Flew has had second thoughts on Schroeder's ideas. Maybe Flew has viewed Unlocking The Mysteries of Life, and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and they impressed him? It's difficult to know.

Flew has accepted Biola University's Phillip E. Johnson Award. Has Flew read Johnson's book Darwin On Trial, described by Biology Professor Brian Spitzer (a Christian, and now an adjunct Fellow of the Discovery Institute!) as "the ugliest most deceptive book he'd ever seen"? Is Flew aware of the tactics employed to hide the identity of those who made the UML DVD, or the fact that those who appeared in the film (Johnson, Behe, Dean Kenyon, Jonathan Wells, Scott Minnich et al), named as scientists of respected universities, did not disclose in the credits or elsewhere that they were creationists, and that many of them were Fellows of the Center For Science and Culture, an arm of the Discovery Institute? The film's maker is given as Illustra Media to conceal the real makers, Discovery Media Productions, whose previous productions were on evangelical topics, such as Heaven and Hell and End Times.

I ask Bergman: Why would a documentary which has no mention of God or religion be distributed free to 3000 Australian secondary schools in 2005/6 by an American-based evangelical organization called Campus Crusade for Christ? (My copy was received from the Biology coordinator at the Adelaide high school at which I've worked).

The god that Flew has opted for is different to Bergman's "all-loving and wise Creator (which) deliberately fashioned the universe for rational purposes and part of this universe is human beings which also have a purpose in God's scheme of things" (p47, #67). Flew's "Jeffersonian god" has "no room for supernatural revelation…or for any transaction between that god and individual humans." He's "quite happy to believe in an inoffensive inactive god" apparently supported by "recent scientific discoveries" (but which?).

Bergman has inflated the importance of the 'conversion' of Flew and Dr Timothy Johnson. His article's title ought to have read 'One Agnostic and One Atheist who Adopted Aspects of ID'. Examples do not constitute an argument, and it isn't uncommon for people to change their beliefs. Bergman himself was raised as an atheist, became a Jehovah Witness for 20 years, then an atheist before becoming a YEC, believing, presumably, in what's on view at Ken Ham's Creation Museum, and also in ID.

ID may or may not lead to theism: its wonky ethics could well lead some to non-theism. The majority of those who become IDists are Christians of various denominations, and many of those are YECs. It's a 'smart' (lacking risible biblical baggage) add-on, and the designer-god might be a "space alien", a "time-traveling cell biologist", or perhaps The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I end with some questions for Dr Bergman:
1 As a YEC, do you accept as accurate history that which is presented by the Kentucky Creation Museum?
2 Could you explain the discrepancy between the authenticated age of Australian Aborigines (at least 50,000 years) and your 6,000 years?
3 Why have key Ideologues been so coy about what constitutes the Intelligent Designer? Is it, for you, the god Christians call God?
4 Why don't you present a comprehensive rationale for your belief system instead of converts as 'evidence' of its 'success'?
5 What is your take on the dishonesty exemplified by the Wedge Document strategy of Christian IDeologues?  
6 Why have you not attempted to debunk Investigator critiques of ID?
7 How and when did the ID God create and what brought this God into being?


REFERENCES

Anonymous. Creationism, ID and Science, Investigator #108, May 2006.
Allen, Wayne and Eaton, Tim. Unlocking the Mystery of Life, Illustra Media (Actually Discovery Media Productions), 2003.
Bottaro Andrea. Letter on Unlocking the Mystery of Life, www.talkdesign.org/faqs/bottaroslettertoWNYE.html
Dawkins, Richard. Why There Almost Certainly Is No God, Ch 4 in The God Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006.
Oppenheimer, Mark. The Turning of an Atheist, NY Times, Nov, 2007.
Jones III Judge J. Kitzmiller v Dover ASB summation, January, 2006.
Perakh, Mark. Flew, Schroeder, Varghese: What a Company! Talk Reason, http://www.talkreason.org/articles/flew.cfm November 2007).
Potter, Bob. British Universities Facing Viral Infection, Investigator #109, July, 2006.
Potter, Bob. Waiting For Godot/Bergman, Investigator #66, May 1999.
Potter, Bob. A Cursory exploration of Darwin's Black Box & Further Explorations, Investigators #95 and #98, March and September, 2004.
Spitzer, Brian. The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth? www.talkdesign.org/faqs/johnson.html, (2002)
The York Daily Record on Kitzmiller v Dover ASD Oct/Nov, 2005
www.ydr.com/story/dover biology/90504
Williams, John H. Of Pandas And People: Contrived Not To Teach, But To Mislead, Investigator #106, January, 2006.
Williams, John H. More Corny Kansas Claptrap, Investigator #108, May, 2006
Williams, John H. ID: "A Religious Alternative Masquerading As Scientific Theory",  Investigator #115, July, 2007.
Varghese Roy A. The Wonder of the World: A Journey From Modern Science to the Mind of God, December, 2003


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