Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thomism vs. ID

Michael Tacz discusses the distaste Thomists tend to have for 'intelligent design theory' (ht):

One day I received a phone call from a professor of philosophy at a nearby private, religiously affiliated college. He had just returned from an international conference devoted to challenges to evolutionary biology from intelligent design (ID) theory. There was a bit of urgency in the professor’s tone, so I agreed to meet him. As it turned out, he had something of a complaint to make, for he opened our meeting by showering me with a series of questions: Where are the Thomists? Where are the Catholics? How come you are not out there defending us ID advocates? After all, we are on the same side, are we not? He explained that the conference organizers had invited several Thomists to participate, and he was dismayed that, far from expressing sympathy with the ID movement and its challenge to Darwinism, they were quite critical of it. Perhaps feeling a bit betrayed, he wanted to ask me, a Thomist, just what was going on.

The article actually only touches the surface, I think; the reasons a Thomist might give for not liking ID would make up a very long list: Tkacz mentions confusion between efficient causes in the proper sense and moving causes, the inability of ID to capture the notion of creation, confusion between epistemology and metaphysics, and misunderstanding of chance and contingency, but more could be added (confusion of primary causes and secondary causes, inadequate causal theory, etc.). There's very little they're actually capable of sharing.

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