Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Neo-Gnostics and ID - So What?

In the current edition of Skeptic magazine Tom McIver has a confused piece called 'Who Designed That? Creationisms Doubts about Intelligent Design' in which he notes that it is not just some Christians who embrace Intelligent Design Theory:

'Neo-Gnostics today specifically praise Intelligent Design theory for supporting Gnosticism. The "Gnostic friends Network"... in articles such as "Intelligent Design: Proof of the Demiurge?" refer to the creator god Yaldabaoth as a Demiurge, a fallen angel or evil space alien:

"The Gnostics taught that God was a mad scientist names 'Yaldabaoth' who had been created by accident and built the earth as a prison for pre-existent human souls. He cloned Adam, raped Eve, and kicked them both out of Paradise when Christ came in the form of a serpent to liberate them."

Would IDers really accept this?'

- Tom McIver, 'Who Designed That? Creationisms Doubts about Intelligent Design', Skeptic, Vol. 13, No. 2 2007, p. 60.

McIver obviously means his question to be a rhetorical question that puts the cat among the Christian ID pigeons. It is no such thing, for, of course, since an ID theorist just is simply anyone who embraces Intelligent Design Theory, and since Neo-Gnostics clearly embrace Intelligent Design Theory, then Neo-Gnostics just are 'IDers'! Would I, a Christian ID Theorist, 'accept this'? Well, it depends upon what 'this' refers to doesn't it! If 'this' refers to ID Theory then yes, as an 'IDer' I do indeed accept 'this'. But then 'this' doesn't contradict my Christian beliefs. On the other hand, if 'this' instead means the Neo-Gnostic hypothesis as to the name and nature of the intelligent designer, then no, I do not accept 'this'. Hence the answer to McIver's question is a clear 'yes and no' - Christian IDers accept ID theory but not Gnosticism. Gnostic IDers accept ID theory but not Christianity. Both Christians and Gnostics can accept ID theory, whilst disagreeing about the nature of the designer, because the specific metaphysical nature of the designer is not a part of ID theory, since this question cannot be settled on scientific grounds. ID has always been a 'big tent' welcoming people of various different and mutually contradictory worldviews. Just as an atheist and a Christian can both accept the theory of evolution, so a Christian and a Gnostic can both accept ID theory. So what?

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