Science: Intelligent Design: Isaac Constantine puts Darwin under his lens, and finds neo-Darwinists like Dawkins wanting
In his article in The Daily Standard online, a reading of Charles Darwin is proferred by Isaac Constantine that puts the spin by neo-Darwinists of their captive master whose spawn they claim to be, into a something of a tailspin. Mercifully, Constantine spares us the malarkey of self-styled "creationists," but he doesn't spare either The New York Times editorialists who deem the aforesaid to be "dangerous" (not true!) and to be the true authors of Intelligent Design theorizing (not true!); nor does Constantine spare alleged biologist H. Allen Orr who writes grandiose evolutionistic fiction these days in The New Yorker magazine.
Constantine makes it clear that his purpose is not to defend the science of Intelligent Design theorizing, but he makes his case by arguing in regard to the limits of science as such, as an infallible and only source of knowledge that needs no interdisciplinary connection with the humanities. In doing so, Constantine not only gives Orr a good conceptual cudgeling, he also takes on Richard Dawkins who is cited by this Orr as the "great populizer" of Darwin - that is, the Darwin according to Dawkins - whereas the Dawkins according to Darwin is quite identifiable as a know-it-all atheist and not the intellectually self-disciplined agnostic that Darwin would feel his latter-day would be disciple Dawkins awt to be.
What I missed in Constantine is any acquaintance with the life-work of Dr Uko Zylstra, biologist and biology philosophher at Calvin College, who has made a very integral critique of Intelligent Design as to its lack of attention to the chief philosophical problem of biology in regard to fundamental biotic law (Zylstra's most recent research article on this failure to date of ID was published in Zygon; his more systematic work has been on record for decades). Zylstra is an exponent of the multi-modal creation law-idea advanced by Christian philosophers of the previous generation, Dr juris Herman Dooyeweerd, and Dr philosophae D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, both of VU University, Amsterdam, where Zylstra took his doctorate in biology under Dr biologicae Jan Lever.
It was Vollenhoven who produced the Consequent Problem-Historical Method for the history of philosophy, the chief work of whom has regrettably not yet been translated. Were American journalism better educated, it would never have fallen for absurd assignment of Intelligent Design theorizing to what is called "creationism," the latter being a creation of Protestant Fundamentalism without any philosophical orientation, only a skein of poorly-exegeted Bible verses. Rather, using Vollenhoven's Method cited, American journalism could have found for itself an option other than the fictional history it has generated for the ID theme in American philosophical history. A Liberal and opponent of anything connected to philosopher James McCosh, has inscribed this chapter on McCosh's priority to Darwin on the key issue. McCosh's book became a best-sellingin often-reprinted work studied on both sides of the Atlantic. McCosh himself was imported to Princeton when it was still a Christian university, right after the Civil War.
Even without Vollenhoven's Method, journalists should know that ID was debated by McCosh in American philosophical journals, that McCosh authored years before Darwin published the Origins of Species, the book from which Darwin cribbed certain ideas, entitled by McCosh The Method of Divine Government, that McCosh himself (an intellectual descendent and reviser of Thomas Reid's Phliosophy of Common-Sense Realism) reached much further back back in Christian Western intellectual history of thawt, to revitalize some fragments in Saint Augustine's writings regarding the difference between Creation as such and the release in time, at different times and in stages, of the various outcomes of that original Creation. Now, neither McCosh nor I simply re-state Augustine, but McCosh did meditate on these stages and the Saint's sense of timing in his theorizing (that's why I use the staggereed time-release mechanism of some cold pills as a metaphor to open a horizon on this idea of Augustine's).
McCosh deserves credit for his pre-Darwin reflection on evolution conceived in a distinctly Christian and creationary manner. It's older name is "theistic evolution," and it was and remains quite different from what Darwin's theory became. Many of the faculty of Princeton College, then University, and of the Presbyterian Church's Princeton Theological Seminary subscribed to this idea of the origin of life-forms in an evolutionary process guided and partially controlled by God. Intelligent Design can stand on its own or can be referenced as an auxiliary theory for theistic evolution that simply susses out the phenomena of apparent design in nature at hand, and now in the universe at large. This is no fundamentalist creationism, and never was. The link concocted between the two is a creation of journalism's ignorance and its disrespect for the history of American philosophy. - Owlb