Here’s another frustrating aspect of Ken Miller’s book (see the previous post for my first post on this topic). Miller says that intelligent design

would reduce science to just another relativistic discipline. It would tell us that thinking the right spiritual thoughts is essential to the scientific process, and that there are no absolutes in nature. (p. 217)

Miller has a long argument for this, which I won’t try to do justice to here. I just want to register my opinion that I tentatively agree with the “right spiritual thoughts part”, but I disagree with the “relativistic/no absolutes” part.

If science is ultimately a quest for truths about the world, and if God exists, and sometimes intervenes in the world, then to have a completely accurate scientific account of the world, that account would have to include the fact that God sometimes intervenes in the world. If science tells us that God doesn’t intervene, but God does, then science is getting some things wrong. Science would have the wrong spiritual thoughts, and as a result the scientific theories developed wouldn’t be as good as they could be. One could still potentially do a lot of good science, even without including God hypotheses, so in that sense I wouldn’t say that having the right spiritual thoughts is _essential_ to the scientific process. Moreover, if God never intervenes in the world, then it probably wouldn’t matter whether one is an atheist or a theist, as long as one doesn’t (falsely) believe that God intervenes in the world. But if God does intervene, a full scientific theory would have to include that in its account of what goes on in the world.

As for the part about intelligent design leading to no absolutes in nature, I just don’t get it. One set of religious beliefs would be right, and all the competing sets would be wrong. That sounds to me like the opposite of relativism.

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