Over at Uncommon Descent, Thomas Cudworth responds to my latest post on the A-T versus ID controversy. Like VJ Torley, Cudworth insists that I have misunderstood the ID position. But, also like Torley, he never explains how exactly I have misinterpreted the passages from Dembski I quoted. And like Torley, he then goes on to defend the ID characterization of living things as artifacts! So which is it?
Unlike Torley or Cudworth, prominent ID defender Steve Fuller gets it, and in Cudworth’s combox Fuller acknowledges that ID and A-T really are at odds:
At the risk of opening up this theological rift even more, I must say that I actually hold the view of ID that these Thomists are attacking – and I don’t think I’m alone either, though perhaps I’m more explicit than most. Thus, I can see exactly where Feser and Beckwith are coming from, though calling the ID position ‘bad theology’ is just self-serving rhetoric on their part. But certainly there is a real theological disagreement here.
What Fuller sees and Cudworth does not is that if ID theorists are serious when they describe biological phenomena as “machines,” “artifacts,” and the like, then they are committed, whether they realize it or not, to a metaphysics of life that is incompatible with A-T. Cudworth says that I am wrong because ID isn’t committed to any particular view about how God creates. But Fuller understands that if you say that a living thing is a kind of “machine” or “artifact” (in the sense that A-T finds objectionable) then you are committed to a view about how God creates, because you are committed thereby to a certain metaphysical view about what it is that He creates.
Fuller says “frankly, I think ID should simply openly embrace the position that the Thomists are trying to stigmatise as ‘bad theology.’” We disagree about that – and I certainly do not endorse everthing Fuller says about Thomism – but at least he understands that there is a real difference here.