Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Geologists

Granville Sewell at Evolution News and Views places his tongue in his cheek and explains for us by means of a parable the difference between naturalism, intelligent design, and theistic evolution. His parable goes something like this:

Three geologists are standing at the base of Mt. Rushmore admiring the spectacle. One of them says, "This mountain depicts perfectly the faces of four presidents. It must have been created by a brilliant sculptor." The second geologist objects: "You're a geologist," he admonishes, "you should know that mountains are formed by natural forces and processes like vulcanism and plate tectonics. The rocks are then carved by other forces like wind and erosion. There's no need to posit an intelligent sculptor to explain those faces in the rock."

The third chimes in by telling the second that, "I agree with you. The natural forces of nature are perfectly adequate to explain these faces on the mountain. Only someone ignorant of science would think that they were intentionally designed." But then he turns to the first geologist and exclaims, "But what a magnificent result! There must have been a Master Sculptor standing by watching nature create this marvelous mountain."

The first geologist in Sewell's parable represents intelligent design theorists who believe that nature shows evidence of having been designed by an intelligent agent. The second geologist represents naturalism, the view that natural processes and forces are adequate to account for the apparent design we see in nature. The third geologist represents theistic evolutionists who believe that God exists but played no role in the evolution of life other than perhaps creating the laws that run the cosmos.

Sewell evidently thinks theistic evolution is a bit strange.