Intelligent Design in Theological Perspective

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While "scientism" is typically regarded as a position about the exclusive epistemic authority of science held by a certain class of "cultured despisers" of "religion", we show that only on the assumption of this sort of view do purportedly "scientific" claims made by proponents of "intelligent design" appear to lend epistemic or apologetic support to claims affirmed about God and God's action in "creation" by Christians in confessing their "faith". On the other hand, the hermeneutical strategy that better describes the practice and method of Christian theologians, from the inception of theological reflection in the Christian tradition, acknowledges the epistemic authority of the best available tests for truth in areas of human inquiry such as science and history. But this strategy does not assume that such tests, whose authority must be regarded as provisional, provides authority for the warrant of affirming claims constituting the confessed "faith". By attributing theological import to claims advanced by appeal to the best available tests for truth in the practice of science, supporters of ID not only confuse the epistemic authority of these tests with the normative authority of a faith community's confessional identity, but impute to scientific tests for truth a sort of authority that even goes beyond the "methodological naturalism" against which they counterpose their claims.