I ran across this podcast today and thought it was extremely interesting. With the militancy atheists have against intelligent design, I never thought I would hear of one that supports it. He is Bradley Monton, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
I just finished a great book called God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? by John Lennox. One thing this book does well (and it does many things well) is to make a clear distinction between science and naturalistic philosophy. It seems Monton is able to do this as well. He is able to think critically about the evidence for intelligent design and follow where the evidence leads, no matter his philosophy on God. It was really very refreshing to listen to this interview (~16 min) by Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute. Monton says:
I actually find some of the intelligent design arguments somewhat plausible and worth taking seriously within academia, and I’m unhappy with the sort of unfair and false criticisms that a lot of my fellow philosophers and academics have given of intelligent design. I’m also, for the record, unhappy with some of the intelligent design arguments. I think that, even though some of them are wrong, they could actually be given better than current intelligent design proponents are giving them. So I’m trying, really, to elevate the debate on both sides.
While listening to their discussion, Monton struck me as someone who is extremely intellectually honest. He admires those Christians who take their faith seriously and defend their worldview versus the C-E (Christmas-Easter) Christians who go to church twice a year and that is it. He is very interested in the science-based arguments for the existence of God, finds some arguments very convincing, and yet remains an atheist. I find that very interesting.
Luskin: What do you think happens when a person tries to pretend that there is no reason or room for any doubt or self-introspection in their worldview?
Monton: Yeah…I think that leads to dogmatism, in part, and this sort of emotional reaction to the people who are on the other side. Because, if you think the other side is just completely, you know, has nothing going for it, then you’re going to dismiss them and react badly to them. It’s unfortunate and I appreciate the people who aren’t that way. And unfortunately, what I’ve been encountering lately are more atheists who seem to be completely and incredibly dogmatic about their view, and then…encountering Christians who are more sympathetic.
Luskin: …when it turns to dogmatism and name-calling, it just saddens me. The debate could be so much more interesting and so much more life-giving than that.
I don’t know the reasons for Monton’s atheist worldview, but there is something that could bring him to Christ. It is love in the style of 1 Cor 13: patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs. “Love never fails.” The dogmatic and hateful atheists subvert themselves and their humanity, and people seeking truth know there is something woefully wrong with their character. The same can, of course, be said of the religious who are just as hateful.
Monton finishes the interview quoting an email from a prominent ID opponent, whose attitude is that this debate was a cultural war and one must take a side and defend it vigorously. He was disappointed that one had to be on one side or the other, rather than searching for truth.
Give this podcast a listen and let me know what you think.