Nancy Pearcey - Intelligent Design and the Defense of Reason

Jonathan Wells

Nancy Pearcey - Intelligent Design and the Defense of Reason
No major civilization at any other period of history has ever held such a divided conception of truth. Until the rise of late-modern Western culture, virtually every culture has assumed that the universe is possessed of both a physical order and a moral/spiritual order. Individuals were thought to have an obligation to bring their lives into harmony with that objective order. (Darwin’s Nemesis p. 231)

Steven Pinker is a leader in the field of cognitive science and author of the bestselling book How The Mind Works. Pinker's worldview could be called evolutionary naturalism-nature is all there is. Pinker argues that our brains are nothing but computers, complex data-processing machines.

At the same time, he acknowledges that morality depends on the idea that humans are more than machines-that we are capable of making undetermined, free choices. Here is his dilemma, then: When working in the lab, Pinker adopts what he calls "the mechanistic stance", treating humans as complex mechanisms. But, "when those discussions wind down for the day," he writes, "we go back to talking about each other as free and dignified human beings."

In other words, when he goes home to his family and friends, his scientific naturalism does not work as a viable philosophy. You can't treat your wife like a complex data-processing machine or program your kids like little computers. Pinker has to switch to a completely contradictory paradigm. (Darwin’s Nemesis p. 236-37)

Christianity offers a rationally coherent logically consistent worldview that is comprehensive enough to explain the full range of human experience without a crippling leap of faith. Christianity does not offer merely religious truth-truth about an isolated part of life. It lays claim to be truth about every aspect of reality, thus offering the basis for a consistent and unified truth that applies to all aspects of our experience of the world. In that sense it is total Truth. (Darwin’s Nemesis p. 242-43)

(Excerpted from Darwin’s Nemesis, William Dembski, editor.)

Nancy Pearcey has a master's degree from Covenant Theological Seminary, followed by graduate work in history of philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

William A. Dembski has a Ph.D. in philosophy, a Ph.D. in mathematics and a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Chicago. He also has a M. Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.