Letter to the Editor: Yeates Ignores Logic of Belief

By By Rob Sivulka and By Rob Sivulka

By Rob Sivulka


In response to Chris Yeates’ Sept. 20 column, “Get Out of the Religious Womb,” I would like to say that just because Yeates cannot see how a certain design argument goes through, why therefore would it be best to follow Kierkegaard and become fideists? Further, even if we did follow Kierkegaard, wouldn’t we still be in the religious womb which Yeats wants us to get out of?

Yeates’ column never demonstrated why most of the world should put its belief of a Creator on par with the Easter Bunny. Of course, many in this majority who really believe this being exists will also think there must be some evidence for its existence, even if they aren’t articulate at satisfying Yeates with what that would entail.

There are plenty of articulate scientists and philosophers that hold to some form of the design argument (e.g. William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, Hugh Ross and William Lane Craig), so I find Yeates’ caricature of intelligent design as “anything but” quite myopic.

Not all theists deny macro-evolution (a change from one species into another species vis–vis micro-evolution?a change within a species which all theists needn’t have a problem with).

Those who accept it often find its complexity and orderliness to argue for intelligent design. On the other hand, there are many theists (e.g. Berkeley’s Philip Johnson) and agnostics (e.g. the scientist Michael Denton) who don’t buy macro-evolution, not because the Bible seems to count against it, but because of the lack of empirical evidence for it.

Yeates’ initial argument against some modern version of the design argument seems to rest on a straw man. The proponent of the design argument doesn’t set the argument up to where Jupiter appears to us as a chaotic mess vis–vis the computer. The proponent need not form any judgment as to the nature of Jupiter if she’s not sure. But if she’s sure about the complexity and orderliness of some object like a computer (even a defective one), then she’s well within her rights to believe it has intelligent design behind it.

Finally, admittedly the design argument only goes so far. It at best gives you some sort of Intelligent Designer. This is where other arguments (ontological, cosmological, moral, etc.) are utilized to fill out the picture of a Being upon which all other existence hinges.

Rob Sivulka

Graduate student, Philosophy