Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Some recent remarks made by contributors to the Uncommon Descent blog seriously misrepresent my criticisms of “Intelligent Design” theory. One of them insinuates that I deny “that it is possible for a living thing to be the product of design”; another claims that I “attack [the] evidence for design in nature”; most bizarrely, a third alleges that I put Thomism “in bondage to atheism.” In fact I have, of course, never denied that the natural world is designed by God, much less that we can reason from the existence of the world to the existence of God. (These would be rather strange views to take for someone who has vigorously defended each of Aquinas’s Five Ways.) As I emphasized in a recent post:
The dispute between Thomism on the one hand and Paley (and ID theory) on the other is not over whether God is in some sense the “designer” of the universe and of living things – both sides agree that He is – but rather over what exactly it means to say that He is, and in particular over the metaphysics of life and of creation.
There have been other serious misrepresentations from the Uncommon Descent camp as well, which I have addressed here and here. Irritation at this pattern of misrepresentations led me yesterday to post a fairly harsh response. Vincent Torley, one of the writers to whom I was responding, assures me that he did not intend to misrepresent my views. I will take him at his word, and I have removed my response of yesterday. But it does seem to me that Torley and other Uncommon Descent contributors are sometimes culpably negligent in their mischaracterizations of their opponents’ views, even if no malice is intended. And I think that this should be clear to anyone who has actually carefully read what I’ve written. I will leave it at that.