Is ‘Intelligent Design’ productive as a Paradigm of Orthodox Apologetics?

  1. Lemma
  2. Продуктивен ли «разумный дизайн» как парадигма православной апологетики?
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology - Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning
  6. 22-05-2018
  7. Мумриков, Олег A. [Author]. Продуктивен ли «разумный дизайн» как парадигма православной апологетики?
  8. Научный Богословский Портал
  9. Apologetics - Intelligent Design - Biology - Orthodox Christianity - Orthodox apologetics
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Мумриков, Олег (2015). Продуктивен ли “разумный дизайн” как парадигма православной апологетики. <em>Научный Богословский</em> <em>Портал</em>. Retrieved from:</p>
    1. According to the author, the so-called “theory of Intelligent Design” developed in the end of the 20th century by American biochemist Michael J. Behe and mathematician William Dembski is currently particularly popular among Christian apologetics. These scholars focus on the evidence of "Intelligent Divine Design" in complex inanimate and living systems. At the molecular level they point out the existence of huge biological molecules (DNA, RNA, proteins); at the subcellular level - of extremely complex organelles, for example, the ribosome and mobile bacterial flagella; at the organism level - the eye, the system of acquired immunity; at the species’ level - the communications system instincts of animals, such as bees or ants. Behe and Dembski argue that the natural selection could not create such "irreducible complexity" of systems; they can function only as a whole, and the random improvement of only one "detail" will lead to a general loss of harmony. This proves, according to these scholars, the fact of the existence of the Creator.

      The author, who is a priest, argues that the theory of Intelligent Design only appears to be logical and valuable to Christian apologetics, while in fact it has several weak points and can be used to undermine Christian paradigms. The first weak point of the Intelligent Design theory is the fact that in the surrounding world one can find a number of examples of "design" associated with sophisticated parasitism, suffering and death (for example a wasp that bites a caterpillar and makes it suffer as long as possible; different types of parasites; or viruses and bacteria). If one looks at all the suffering and cruelty that takes place in the natural world, one comes to a completely anti-Christian conclusion: the Creator is omnipotent and super-intelligent, but has no love and compassion.

      The second significant drawback of the Intelligent Design concept is that it actively uses the model of the “God of the gaps”: the presence of the Creator is required or allowed in those areas where it is not possible at present to scientifically explain the observed phenomena. Yet the history of the 18th-21st centuries has shown the theological defect and even danger of this concept, connected with the desire to prove the existence of the Creator by the presence of unresolved problems in science, which were to be later resolved. In addition, the examples of Intelligent Design often turn out to be not so “intelligent”, for example the presence of a blind spot on the retina of the eye, or the irrational placement of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in mammals (giraffes in particular).

      The author concludes by stating that the Intelligent Design theory, although highly debatable, is useful as it opens new discussions on the relationship between the Revelation and the modern scientific picture of the world. As an Orthodox priest, he believes that the Creator is constantly and actively present in the world: that which is described by science as an unceasing chain of accidents or causality is, on a subtle level, the incessant influence of the Creator on matter.