Intelligent Design and Life
From Dr. John Mark Reynolds
Speaking of Dr. Reynolds (as I did in the post I wrote immediately prior to this one), here is a portion of a short article he wrote entitled "Afraid of Reason: Has Scientism Become Obscurantism?":
However successful science has been in providing explanations in some areas--physics and chemistry, for example--it has been, over the same period, much less successful in the reduction of other fields to natural causes. Christian theism traditionally saw most non-living events or things as being caused by natural means. Many theists did not hesitate to give natural accounts for the actions in those very areas where naturalistic science has been most successful. However, in fields like psychology, where traditional theism saw the most important supernatural action, naturalistic science has had the least success. No theist is very shocked by the power of naturalistic chemistry, but neither is he shocked by relative lack of power in naturalistic psychology. Physics has had revolution after revolution in its understanding of the world. Biology has not. Where is the biological Einstein? The creaking old paradigm of Darwin is good for explaining many things, but it has not been very good at explaining the crucial things.
On the other hand, theists have made some predictions that have held up well over the course of time in biology. For example, theists traditionally have held that life cannot come from non-life. There is no real evidence or mechanism on the horizon that seems likely to show that assertion ill-founded.
Some theists predicted that all life, at its most basic levels, would prove to be complex and give the appearance of design. They believed basic types were created, even if they were not always clear on what constituted such a type. No modern discovery has thrown that hypothesis in peril and new support for it comes every day. The simplest living things shows complexity and design in its basic body plan far beyond what any nineteenth-century scientist could have predicted. In short, wile perhaps mistaken in some auxiliary theories, theists have been quite successful in their core predictions.
Secular scientists, or Christian theists hoping to win the favor of such folk, like to talk about the Flood and the age of the Earth to discourage people from examining the claims of scientists who see intelligent design. Of course, since many Christian theists did not believe in a global, geologically important Flood, and disagreed about the age of the Earth, these issues were sidelights to the basic questions. Darwin was not deemed important because he showed there was no flood in the days of Noah, but because he was alleged to have shown (by the end of his life) a means whereby life could come into existence with the appearance of design, and yet have no designer.
If Darwinism has failed to demonstrate the means for producing basic body plans or life itself, then naturalistic science has failed to disprove theism's central scientific predictions. Darwinists are rightly critical of certain young Earth creationists who think every fraud or wrong prediction made in the name of Darwinism should be taken as a blow to the general edifice. So too Darwinists and naturalists should refrain from triumphing over theism if they have cast the idea of a global flood into peril. Theism's basic predictions about the origin of life remain quite viable. (Emphasis added.)