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Ideological design

One might have thought that the argument by design would have ceased to
be a topic of serious religious debate and reflection after its limits
were conclusively demonstrated by Hume’s devastating critique in the
18th Century. But you would have been wrong. In a recent editorial
appearing in the New York Times, Michael J. Behe defends the concept of
“Intelligent Design,” the 21st Century incarnation of this tired
staple of 17th century natural theology. It would be pointless to
rehearse the arguments Hume uses to demonstrate the inconclusiveness of
Design as an argument for the existence of God. I would refer the
reader to his *Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion*. Behe, in fact,
claims that intelligent design “says nothing about the religious idea of
a creator,” a caveat that, in spite of its disingenuousness (can anyone
seriously doubt that what is at stake here is theistic belief?), we can
perhaps take as a tacit acknowledgment of Hume’s conclusions. Rather,
Behe presents Intelligent Design as a credible scientific explanation
for the complexity of biological systems. This claim is dubious from
two perspectives.

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