Two items appear
1 Why Intelligent Design Leads to Theism #124 Jerry Bergman
2 Bergman's ID God #127
Why Intelligent Design
Leads to Theism
Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
(Investigator 124, 2009
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
texts, such as Western Philosophy; Ideas and Argument from Plato to
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)
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
argument not only convinced the lifelong atheist Antony Flew to
become a theist, but many other persons as well, including Dr. Timothy
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
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
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).
Anonymous. 2008. Anthony Flew. Wikipedia (25 May).
Flew, Anthony 1971. Western Philosophy; Ideas and Argument from
to Sartre. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
Flew, Anthony. 1993.The Case for God Challenged. Buffalo, N.Y. :
Flew, Anthony. 1993. Atheistic Humanism. Buffalo, N.Y.
Flew, Anthony and Roy Abraham Varghese. 2007. There Is a God: How
World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. San Francisco, CA:
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.
Forrest, AZ: Master Books.
Veith, Gene Edward. 2004. "Flew the Coop." World December, 25,
BERGMAN'S ID 'GOD'
John H Williams
(Investigator 127, 2009
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)
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
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
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
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:
Behe: "The plausibility of the argument for ID depends on
the extent one believes in the existence of God."
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
scientist, Senior Fellow of the CSC of the
Discovery Institute, their champion of 'irreducible complexity', chosen
to argue ID's case, said this?!).
"ID's project is to change the ground rules of
science to include the supernatural."
William Dembski: "ID
is a ground-clearing operation to allow
Christianity. Christ is never an addendum to a science theory but
always a completion."
If that approach
taken at Dover in 2004 it would have saved a
lot of controversy and a costly six week trial.
Not in a science
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
(a) the evidence is incomplete
(b) the key witness is
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
a YEC, do
you accept as accurate history that which is presented
by the Kentucky Creation Museum?
Could you explain the
discrepancy between the authenticated age of
Australian Aborigines (at least 50,000 years) and your 6,000 years?
have key Ideologues
been so coy about what constitutes the
Intelligent Designer? Is it, for you, the god Christians call God?
don't you present a
comprehensive rationale for your belief
system instead of converts as 'evidence' of its 'success'?
is your take on
the dishonesty exemplified by the Wedge Document
strategy of Christian IDeologues?
have you not
attempted to debunk Investigator critiques of ID?
and when did the ID
God create and what brought this God into
Anonymous. Creationism, ID and Science, Investigator #108, May
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,
Dawkins, Richard. Why There Almost Certainly Is No God, Ch 4 in The
Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006.
Oppenheimer, Mark. The Turning of an Atheist, NY Times, Nov,
Jones III Judge J. Kitzmiller v Dover ASB summation, January,
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
Potter, Bob. A Cursory exploration of Darwin's Black Box & Further
Explorations, Investigators #95 and #98, March and September,
Spitzer, Brian. The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth?
The York Daily Record on Kitzmiller v Dover ASD Oct/Nov, 2005
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
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
to the Mind of God, December, 2003