What’s the connection between Nigel Farage and the the Intelligent Design Movement?
Well none, directly, or else it would certainly have appeared in his Coutts Bank Dossier and been used as further evidence of his unsuitability to be their customer. But conceptually there is a connection, in that what first made me aware of the prevalence of propaganda, disinformation and cancellation in our society was the way that ID was treated by mainstream scientists, their progressive Evangelical acolytes in the form of BioLogos, and broader societal organs like the press and judiciary.
It was the treatment of ID that first made me notice, a decade ago, how we were all being gaslit and manipulated over the LGBTQ+ issue, leading to my writing Seeing through Smoke.
It’s not that I’m suggesting that the long campaign to discredit ID comes from the same team that has brought us COVID, Climate Alarmism, the Ukraine War and other such issues on which I’ve spent so much time and ink these last three years. There is some temptation, probably misleading, to see it as a dry run for the broader campaigns. But although it’s possible to see the vested interests of government, academia, media, and individual scientists in the Neodarwinian paradigm, the more plausible parallel is simply with the techniques of control shared between all these issues.
So it was certainly never thought enough, by the “mainstream” movers and shakers, to debate evolutionary science against the upstart ID camp, and win on points. Rather, just as in COVID or climate change, it was said that debating them would only encourage the Creationists/Antivaxxers/Denialists, who are self-evidently wrong because… consensus. Anyone familiar with Intelligent Design will remember employment cancellations like those of William Dembski or Doug Axe, on the instigation of powerful people behind the scenes. Perhaps the apex of this vilification was the suggestion that ID was part of a right-wing attempt to create a Fundamentalist Theocracy – a bizarre conspiracy theory later encapsulated in the dreadful The Handmaid’s Tale. Even some of my own friends fell for that fearmongering – perhaps that should have warned me how many would also conclude legitimate scientific doubts about mRNA vaccines and lockdowns to be a Far-right plot.
In retrospect, that “theocracy” libel is the closest “smoking gun” linking the anti-ID campaign to the now manifest progressive-globalist deep state. But on balance I think any similarities simply reflect the normal mindset of educated conformists now, rather than conspiracy. A Masters degree seems to make you susceptible to every scam going.
The net result is the same though, as I was reminded by a conversation yesterday with an Intelligent Design proponent who had to go abroad to gain academic qualifications, knowing that no university in the US would admit him even for work unconnected with ID. That this was not simply paranoia was confirmed by the opprobium he received from American academics in his chosen country, contrasting dramatically with the friendly dealings with local academics.
Does it not strike you as sociologically weird that you would literally have to flee abroad from the Land of the Free to study, simply because you hold it as a possibility that God might intervene in nature sometimes? That leads me to the real point of this column (one is allowed to be discursive on a blog, you see!).
For in our conversation, this is how my friend encapsulated his personal convictions leading to his embracing Intelligent Design: “Why do even Evangelical Christians find it hard to consider that God might intervene in nature occasionally?” He’s right at one level – it is actually the very essence of Theism, and therefore Christianity, as opposed to Enlightenment Deism, that God is free to act in his creation. I found over at BioLogos, though, that self-identifying Evangelicals would invoke all kinds of quasi-scientific and pseudo-philosophical reasons why it would not just be impossible, but immoral, for God to interfere with “the immutable laws he himself set up.”
My friend was expressing his beliefs in the way that most theistic ID people do, though one must recall that the project itself is seeking scientific evidence for design in nature, recognising that this challenges naturalistic materialism without endorsing revealed religion. That is nothing to do with secret theocratic agendas – or at least no more than those who advocate methodological naturalism should necessarily be considered closet apologists for atheism. In fact, my friend prefaced his remark by recognising the benefits of methodological naturalism.
But my reply to him challenged (amicably, I must add) his unconscious adoption of the secular metaphysics that speaks of any of God’s actions in nature as “interventions,” with the implication that the rest of creation operates by “natural laws” apart from God. That, however, is not the biblical view of our God. When Hebrews 1:3 says that God – or actually, the Son – “sustains all things by his powerful word,” the Spirit does not mean that Jesus wrote some laws of nature, and by his powerful word keeps the ink from running. No, the whole of Scripture clearly describes how what we call “nature” is what God does. What happens regularly and predictably demonstrates God’s faithfulness, and what happens contingently represents his personal concern, that is his divine choice. The unacknowledged metaphysical assumptions of current science interpret these patterns in nature as “necessity” and “chance,” but neither of those entities can even exist as causes, let alone as absolutes, in a universe created by an omnipotent and entirely free Father God.
This is not to deny that God works regularly through series of secondary causes, whose relationships may be understood and labelled “science.” But the derivative nature of these is shown by many biblical instances of even free human actions forming downstream parts of God’s own activity. And so God’s judgement against an evil king is exercised through an archer who draws his bow “at a venture.” The rebellion of Jeroboam that permanently divided Solomon’s kingdom, whose human motives are fully explored in the biblical text, was more fundamentally “a turn of events from the Lord” to fulfill his prophecy of judgement against David.
How much more, then, does God direct the actions of inanimate nature, whether regular: “For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust,” or extraordinary: “While they were fleeing in front of Israel and descending the slope of Beth-horon, the LORD rained down huge hailstones on them as far as Azekah, and they died.”
This view of the world was formalised philosophically by Thomas Aquinas, who described God as the “First Cause,” not simply meaning he is the trigger that set off a deistic clockwork universe of fixed laws, but rather he is the moving cause of every causal chain whatsoever. Indeed, since it is his “powerful word” that sustains “all things” in existence, we must see his involvement as the First Cause of every single part of the chain of efficient causes.
To give some kind of analogy, there is a logical structure and development in a good piece of music, such as a Chopin waltz. But the pianist (originally Chopin himself, of course) must still play the whole thing, every single note, voluntarily. It is simply absurd to speak of his “intervening” in the performance, still less “interfering.” That would be no less true if the logical form of the piece included an improvised cadenza.
Well, as far as I can see, such a metaphysics is not only what biblical Christian faith teaches, but it’s perfectly compatible with doing science. The common complaint from secular scientists is that nothing is predictable if a capricious God once gets a look in. But I reply that the true God is a faithful God, and that even his contingent choices against that background of fidelity are no more capricious than the “ontological chance” that Monod so eloquently advocated. In fact, the manifest success of science is nothing to do with excluding God from consideration, but is the direct result of the reality that God is faithful to his Creation.
So now you can see that my views are far more radical than the average Intelligent Design proponent, cautiously allowing for divine “interventions” to disrupt the smooth course of methodological naturalism. The Hump of the Camel, then, is the place to come to see the theocracy unfold, women subjugated as birthing-vessels, science subjugated to bigoted dogma and so on. You are treading on dangerous ground, reading here.
No doubt, you can expect the blog to disappear suddenly one day, as the elites of Intersectionality, sure than men must be free to give birth, and that science will never be subjugated because it is fully settled, act to silence Humpism before it makes the sky fall in on our poor bald pates.