For weeks, I have been intending to pull together a good meaty post on Intelligent Design, especially given the Dover trial, the Kansas vote and the various statements and writings of the Pope and Cardinal Schonborn and others. But hasn't happened. I think, in the end, I have two questions, one of which I have posed here before and not, to my knowledge received a satisfactory answer to - at least satisfactory to my simple mind. I'll ask that one second.
1)I am far less interested in Intelligent Design than I am in simply asking questions about evolutionary theory. It seems to me one could be done with out the other, and, in fact, need to be. There is not one aspect of science which should go unquestioned, even by members of the unwashed such as me, and I am a little wear of questions about evolution - about evidence, in particular - being brushed off as the wishful thinking of creationists. They're not. It would be quite interesting for cultural permission to be given, as it were, for this particular dogma to be held up to scrutiny and for an honest discussion to be had about the explanatory power of evolutionary theory as well as its weaknesses, flaws and gaps - without anyone getting defensive. Impossible, but it's sort of what I'm looking for.
2)On the other hand, self-professed theists who are dismissive of Intelligent Design - are you saying that the traditional Argument from Design is baseless? That the hand of God is not evident in creation? That creation tells us nothing about God other than...God started it, I guess? These words from Benedict inspired much conversation on this point in various blogs:
One must have clear eyes to contemplate this divine revelation, recalling the warning of the Book of Wisdom, which invites us to know the Creator by analogy "from the greatness and beauty of created things" (Wisdom 13:5; cf. Romans 1:20). Prayerful praise then flows from contemplation of the "wonders" of God (cf. Psalm 135:4), displayed in creation and is transformed in a joyful hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
3. From created works one ascends, therefore, to the greatness of God, to his loving mercy. It is this that the Fathers of the Church teach us, in whose voice resounds the constant Christian Tradition.
Thus, St. Basil the Great in one of the initial pages of his first homily on the Hexameron, in which he comments on the story of creation according to the first chapter of Genesis, pauses to consider God's wise action, which leads him to recognize in divine goodness the propelling center of creation. Here are some of the expressions taken from the long reflection of the holy bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia:
It would seem to be one thing to say that such care and even design could be discerned through
God's use of an evolutionary process to create, even through such oft-discussed and easily misunderstood concepts such as "randomness" - (yes, we've discussed that before, and I get that part of it). But I suppose my question is this: How do Christian and Jewish proponents of evolutionary theory propose that we talk (even when we are just talking theology, not science) of God's traditionally conceived role as, not just the engine who got things started, but as the One whose creation speaks of Him, in whose (yes) design and process and beauty God is involved and cares for? This, I still am not grasping.