Is ID blasphemous?

April 9, 2010 • 2:10 pm

by Matthew Cobb

This link was sent in by Jerry – even on his Paris jaunt, he’s keeping a close eye on debates over evolution and religion.

Over at Evolutionblog, Jason Rosenhouse reports that Peter Hess, Faith Project Director for the National Center for Science Education, has decided that ID is blasphemous. Jason’s thought-provoking piece provides a nice parallel with the Grayling review we posted here earlier today, and with Greg’s previous post on the National Science Board.

[Edit: unclear antecedent altered, just like Jerry would have wanted.]

27 thoughts on “Is ID blasphemous?

  1. I hate the concept of blasphemy and its bookend heresy. They are spawned from an incredible arrogance & lack of humor.

    It would merely be annoying except that throughout history it has been the justification for torture, murder & all manner of evil.

  2. ID was designed by a group of ex-lawyers who are only blasphemous towards jurisprudence. Their deity doesn’t get a percentage of the settlement because he doesn’t exist. It’s political legerdemain and nothing more.

  3. Personally, I think the argument for Evolution and the argument for Atheism are different arguments. To combine them is damaging, (politically), to the case for science.

    If the goal is to assert the truth of evolution & to defend the scientific method, the discussion should affirm the power of science to explain the natural world. Apart from refuting specific claims of Creationists/ID advocates, I think it is more powerful to leave metaphysics out of it.

    The question of whether or not there is a God, is entirely distinct in my view, although it is true the two are incompatible under some theological systems.

    For the record, I am an atheist, but I do not find the theory of evolution incompatible with the idea of a creator in the deist tradition.

    To combine the two arguments weakens them both in my view.

    1. leave metaphysics out

      The problem with that is identified by Rosenhouse (and ID), these are testable claims, not metaphysics. So is the theory that everything existing is natural process.

      To combine the two arguments weakens them both

      See, that is another turn from science. In science you may have to combine two mechanisms to explain a process, say magnetism and hydrodynamics to explain MHD. That doesn’t weaken the mechanisms but the fact that such interconnection exists strengthens both theories considerably.

      Naturally the same goes here. One natural process that specifically rejects a creator for organisms strengthens the idea that natural processes suffices. That natural processes testably suffices strengthen such theories.

      If you want to claim that it is provocative to combine theories, I have no argument there. (And again, that isn’t unheard of outside the general societal arena either. The attempts to reconcile quantum theory with gravitational theory have certainly been provocative. :-o)

      1. “say magnetism and hydrodynamics”. Sorry, that should have been _EM_ and HD. [I started out with another combination, and apparently forgot to change this.]

        1. I agree that some schools of theism specifically contradict the theory of evolution and they should be confronted directly and evolution should be defended.

          However the creationist/ID argument, along with its many adherents, is still a minority position among Christians

          I’m just saying that there is a political struggle, to teach science, not religion in the public schools.

          To make the challenge to theism in any form, an integral part of that argument, is counterproductive in this important fight

          1. Are you aware of any numbers to claim that some “positions”-regarding evolution-are more or less common among “christians”? It is reported that the majority of Christians dont even think about conflicts between their religion and evolution. Many Christians I know dont have a problem accepting evolution after X created life….

            1. Google yielded a wealth of sources. I found several with polls of the American people going back to about 1990 & glanced at a few, enough to see that the numbers are pretty consistent.

              Roughly 50% believe that God created man in his current form

              Around 40% believe that man evolved, but that evolution was guided by God

              & about 10% believe that evolution is a naturalistic process that proceeds without the intervention of God

  4. Why does the NCSE have a “Faith Project Director” in the first place?

    Yes, that’s probably best treated as a rhetorical question.

    1. I don’t know, but I think I will apply for the Astrology Project Directorship. It probably pays better and I can just make stuff up to get the job done.

    2. Rhetorical or not; I don’t know why! But I can safely state that I now have lost any remaining faith in NCSE. (o.O)

  5. Might be an argument against IDiots and ID, but the concept of ‘blasphemy’ itself is pure nonsense, a construct of no no real value, and in particular not to an atheist and/or a scientist.

    Just let’s hope that all religions go the way the RCC should go now, – down the gurgler!

  6. This is a very clear reason why NCSE should get rid of anything at all to do with religion. It was only a matter of time before one of their official faithheads started telling others that they’re blasphemous/heretic/whatever – and the NCSE starting religious wars cannot be good for its stated purpose of promoting science. They’re up past their eyeballs in the woo-woo now, believing they are combating ridiculous claims by throwing out even more ridiculous indefensible claims. Imagine alternative actions in the Dover trials: “Your honor, ID should not be taught in schools because it is blasphemous.”

  7. Not the first time I hear this. Keneth Miller is of opinion that fitting god into the “bacterial flagella” thing is sacrilege.
    Such claims from theistic scientists will never win them any favors with creationists, though, any more than Galileo’s quoting of St Augustine, that the bible need not be taken literally true as science, helped him with the Holy Inquisition.

  8. Looks like the Lenny Flank rule still holds. Creationists just can’t shut the hell up. Even if they work for the NCSE!! Now all of a sudden everybody who doesn’t toe the NCSE line are apostates and blasphemers. Lol. This is your brain on religion, folks.

  9. ID is certainly blasphemous – there will be/are groups of believers who are out there who would be/are offended by the notion. Therefore, it is blasphemous.

    It is a stupid concept (blasphemy, I mean) (I also mean ID)

  10. Nonsense like this could be a major distraction from the NCSE’s mission.

    Of course ID is a religious idea, and most religious ideas are “blasphemous” to some religious believers. It’s stupid for a representative of science or science education to bother with such things.

  11. I’m not sure that passing a Fatwa against the Discovery Institute is the ideal way forward for the NCSE.
    The more they mix religion (and in particular trying to define the “correct” form of religion) with science the more unclear their role is becoming.
    They are in danger of becoming a double act with the IDiots, with as much relevance to actual science as the World Wrestling Entertainment corporation has to sport.

  12. Who cares? This is a religious question comparable with the decision regarding the number of angels which could dance on the head of a pin, and about as useful. Let the believers in spooks worry about it. I certainly shan’t.

  13. Oh well it wasn’t established to adjudicate on theological issues but its doing so is perfectly compatible with promoting science education because faith and science are different ways of knowing so it all comes out all right once you turn it over and cut off the ends.

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