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ID and Spiritualism

I should have pointed out that I have an article in the latest Touchstone. I will do so to give space to my favorite critic. Of this article, Bill Dembski says:Uncommon Descent: The Intelligent Design Weblog of William A. Dembski: “My friend and colleague John Mark Reynolds at Biola University has just published a piece in Touchstone titled “Séances & Science: The Lessons of the Spiritualist Challenge to Darwinism” (go here). The piece is meant as a warning to the ID movement not to repeat mistakes of the past. (more…)”Go read the rest of it.I respond as follows (Comment number 2):Bill,I am sorry you feel this way. I don’t agree (obviously).I don’t understand how I could become “an outsider” to the ID movement since I have read the works you cite (the published ones), read ID discusson groups where new ideas are mentioned, read ID web sites, go to ID events (speak at some), read ID critical works and web sites, and teach hundreds of students sympathetic to ID every year.Maybe it is because I teach those students, and hear their reactions over time, that I wrote the piece. Much of what I have to say comes from friendly students every year. These are students who are “up” on the latest stuff so far as it goes.I stand by my desire to see you publish, not on a web site but publish, advances in your ideas. This is important, not just to our critics, but to the movement as a whole. While (as I state in my article) your public work must continue, it seems to me to be vital that this get done. Will it?I am sure it will which is why I am (on the whole) optimistic and not disheartened. I fail to see how a warning of how things COULD go wrong equals a claim that they have gone wrong. Nothing you argue refutes the (obvious) fact that you have not yet published a work with the scope or on the level of the “Design Inference.” I am sure you will, look forward to it, and view it as vital.The two books you mention are edited collections. I do not see how the articles in them (many of which are written at a level appropriate to a college course)advance the arguments in the way I was suggesting needed to done.Your web articles are fine, do begin to advance the argument and address some critics, but mentioning them in this context is unusual. Is this publication? Maybe I am old fashioned, but it does not seem to be the kind of publication I meant.As for internal critique, there is some. However, I was looking for alternative notions to design more than just negative attacks on your own work. Too often these alternatives are not well enough explored because (as in any small counter-cultural) movement there is a great temptation to rally around one idea. In fact, I personally find your own ideas the most compelling yet offered, but wanted to warn against stagnation that can take place in alternative intellectual programs.I stand by those worries and a general call for more (and more robust) thought on the relationship between religion and science.Comment by JMNR — August 30, 2005 @ 2:28 pmBill Dembski is a great guy, is doing wonderful work, and should receive more funding to do even more work. I just don’t think my article was wrong or critical of him in any harmful way.

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