Heddle on ID
Here's something I never thought I'd write: I agree completely with David Heddle's latest post. Well, almost completely. But the few nit picks I have pale in comparison to the points where I agree with hin. He is expressing his disagreement with various strategies used by ID proponents in promoting his views. He writes:
The first strategy I disagree with is proclaiming ID as science. Philosophical discussions aside, I will accept ID as science when I read something like this:
A scientist at (some respected research university) has been awarded a grant to do experiment X. ID predicts the result of the experiment will be Y. Non-ID predicts the result will be Z.
And don't tell me this cannot happen because the secular scientific community would never allow it. I was a practicing scientist before I was a believer, and we never had any secret meetings where we discussed our true agenda of destroying Christianity in the guise of science.
The second strategy I disagree with is attempting to get ID placed in the science curriculum.
And later still:
The third strategy I disagree with, and this is the most germane to this post, is to deny that ID is religiously motivated. I don't personally know any ID advocate who is not religiously motivated—and I don't know one (personally) who is a strong ID proponent based solely on the physical evidence, although I am told such people exist.
Couldn't have said it any better myself. Expect the ID folks to whip out David Berlinski or Antony Flew in response to that last statement, but Heddle's point remains valid.
Heddle goes on to discuss what he thinks ID is, since he evidently does not consider it to be science:
[ID] is a scientifically-based apologetic. It is part of God’s general revelation. That’s what I think ID is, and that is where I think it is most effective: bringing glory to God, and showing men how they are without excuse. It can be an effective form of witnessing—it worked for me, and I have seen it work for others. Not because it proves God, but because it suggests God.
This is admirably forthright, but it also contradicts the the following statement, from elsewhere in the same post:
Also, anecdotally, when I look at fine tuning I see design because I believe God designed the universe, while someone else sees multiverses because they don't share that belief. (Emphasis in religion).
As far as I know, the fine-tuning argument is the only ID argument Heddle endorses. He describes this as an effective apologetic, one that leaves people without excuse for atheism. But he also asserts that fine-tuning suggests design to him only because he already accepts God's existence. If that is the case, then fine-tuning is not a reason for an atheist to change his views. Moreover, it makes it hard to understand the sense in which fine-tuning was an apologetic that “worked for him.”
I would also reject the idea that an atheist “sees multiverses”. Speaking personally, what I see is an interesting question about why the fundamental constants of the universe have just the properties they ought to have to make life possible. I note that one possible explanation is based on the idea that we are just one small part of a larger multiverse, in which case the apparent fine-tuning is explained via simple principles of probability. I note that physicists have been talking seriously about multiverses for decades, and that such ideas have a pedigree going back well beyond anyone's use of fine-tuning as a religious argument. Finally, I observe that multiverses can claim some support from currently popular theories in physics. That is evidentially slim, but it is an improvement over the nothing at all that God belief can claim. For these reasons, I believe that multiverses are a better explanation than God belief for fine-tuning.
As far as I can tell, Heddle has no reason beyond his prior faith commitments for finding the God hypothesis more reasonable than the multiverse hypothesis for explaining fine-tuning.
In the past, Heddle has been linked to favorably by other ID bloggers. I predict that this post will not be treated so kindly.