It’s lazy, I know, but this is a cut-and-paste of a post I wrote to Ted Davis on BioLogos. The Sober article makes points relevant to previous blogs here, so it seems relevant to record them and my comments on the Hump rather than to lose them in the Biologos archives.
Have you seen this recent article by Elliott Sober? In an earlier thread you pointed us to an older Sober article, in Debating Design, in which he proposed that the scientific detection of design in evolution is impossible without knowing about the designer himself.
I only had access at the time to an enthusiastic review of his article, and devoted three posts to it on my blog, concluding that design could nevertheless be deduced on other grounds of human intuition, which are actually grounds assumed elsewhere in science – in other words, that design detection might still be possible, if not strictly in scientific terms.
The new article, on the general question of Gods intervention in evolution, seems to take a similar line by saying that belief or non-belief in, or even agnosticism about, such intervention cannot be deduced from evolutionary theory, but only from philosophical additions to it – which many have been arguing all along. That seems to me to be a pretty sound argument – how say you?
Two additional things strike me, wrt R J Russells work in Cosmology – Alpha to Omega (which he actually cites in the references).
(a) I note that, despite Russells care to contruct a theory of divine control that is not intervention (because of quantum indeterminacy) Sober consciously sticks to the word intervention. That confirms my suspicion that scientists are not impressed by such a fine distinction.
(b) If his article is correct, then the whole requirement to remove intervention in Russells sense from the picture is unnecessary anyway. Science, qua science, is not legitimately qualified to exclude even law-breaking intervention. So Russell is not making an accommodation to science at all, but to a philosophical addition to science – which is self-defeating, as his very proposal is a denial of the truth of that particular philosophy.
I hope thats not off-topic. It seems a relevant new bit of data.