Intellectuals Against Divine Intellect

No group is more opposed to the idea of intellect behind nature than "intellectuals." The absence of intelligence in the universe —— save the intelligence they find abundantly in themselves and search for eagerly in space —— is a Darwinian fable that brings powerful comfort to intellectuals. When this fable of chance is challenged, the great minds of our time insist that the universe is mindless, though CBS's Bob Schieffer did suspend his impatience with the idea of intelligent design momentarily during an attempted witticism on Larry King Live after Peter Jennings' death ——

"If there is anything to this whole intelligent design business — and I don't think there is — but if there were, I mean, Peter would be an example of it, because he was designed to be a foreign correspondent."

Why does the idea of an intelligent cause behind nature trigger apoplexy amongst intellectuals, still on display in their disgust at President Bush for suggesting that intelligent design be presented alongside the unintelligent design of random mutation and natural selection? Why is the idea of a mindless material process a more appealing explanation of nature to intellectuals than intelligence?

Intellectual history since the Enlightenment suggests the reason: intellectuals do not want God to displace man as the measure of all things.

If a divine intelligence organizes nature and designs the fixed structures of things, man loses his dominion over "truth" and culture. God's intentions, not man's, become paramount, and this intellectuals cannot abide. Collectively, they have spent over two centuries thinking and acting as if God does not exist and they are not about to let him return to the center of life now.
 
The implications of intelligent design, they correctly sense, are devastating to the man—centered relativism and skepticism their intellectual culture treats as the only acceptable grounds on which to build culture. They are averse to intelligent design for the same reason they shudder at the mention of a natural moral law: it is an intolerable constraint upon self—sufficient man. 

Aldous Huxley once let the cat out of the bag when he said, in response to a question about the origins of modernism, that it began not in the minds of intellectuals but in their wills: they needed to come up with an intellectual system that would give them permission to behave licentiously. Darwinism serves a similar function: it gives intellectuals permission to think atheistically, as Richard Dawkins noted in his much—cited comment that evolution "made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist."

For PR reasons, some intellectuals deny that Darwinism is atheistic. But even their contrived attempts to speak of "theistic evolution" reveal the theory as atheistic, as it reduces God to a very vague and marginal force outside the unguided material processes of the universe. The God of "theistic evolution" is not all—powerful but powerless, just the way modern intellectual culture likes him. The omnipotent God who is the ground of all created things and gives them fixed natures from which binding conclusions must be drawn —— in other words, the God of Judeo—Christian civilization — is still dead, a description Nietzche wouldn't change were he alive to hear the "theistic evolution" babblings of opportunistic Darwinists.

A stunning example, by the way, of this attempt to square a circle — to hold, on the one hand, that the functioning of the universe doesn't rely on God but on material processes, and on the other, to say that God exists — comes from the Jesuit George Coyne, Director of the Vatican Observatory. Writing in The Tablet, Coyne speaks of God as if he is a passive parent on the sidelines of a soccer match:

"If they respect the results of modern science and, indeed, the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly. Perhaps God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words."

A God who isn't needed to create nature and sustain nature isn't needed at all. And he can be denied quite easily, as the Enlightenment's quick step from deism to atheism revealed. Richard Dawkins, who grasps evolutionary theory at its roots, understands this; theistic evolutionists like Coyne don't.
 
What's clear as the debate heats up is that intellectuals will not entertain the omnipotent God implicit in intelligent design lest their own designs on culture be thwarted —— and materialist philosophy masquerading as "modern science" is the most effective tool of propaganda with which to convince the public not to let that binding God back.
 
George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.

No group is more opposed to the idea of intellect behind nature than "intellectuals." The absence of intelligence in the universe —— save the intelligence they find abundantly in themselves and search for eagerly in space —— is a Darwinian fable that brings powerful comfort to intellectuals. When this fable of chance is challenged, the great minds of our time insist that the universe is mindless, though CBS's Bob Schieffer did suspend his impatience with the idea of intelligent design momentarily during an attempted witticism on Larry King Live after Peter Jennings' death ——

"If there is anything to this whole intelligent design business — and I don't think there is — but if there were, I mean, Peter would be an example of it, because he was designed to be a foreign correspondent."

Why does the idea of an intelligent cause behind nature trigger apoplexy amongst intellectuals, still on display in their disgust at President Bush for suggesting that intelligent design be presented alongside the unintelligent design of random mutation and natural selection? Why is the idea of a mindless material process a more appealing explanation of nature to intellectuals than intelligence?

Intellectual history since the Enlightenment suggests the reason: intellectuals do not want God to displace man as the measure of all things.

If a divine intelligence organizes nature and designs the fixed structures of things, man loses his dominion over "truth" and culture. God's intentions, not man's, become paramount, and this intellectuals cannot abide. Collectively, they have spent over two centuries thinking and acting as if God does not exist and they are not about to let him return to the center of life now.
 
The implications of intelligent design, they correctly sense, are devastating to the man—centered relativism and skepticism their intellectual culture treats as the only acceptable grounds on which to build culture. They are averse to intelligent design for the same reason they shudder at the mention of a natural moral law: it is an intolerable constraint upon self—sufficient man. 

Aldous Huxley once let the cat out of the bag when he said, in response to a question about the origins of modernism, that it began not in the minds of intellectuals but in their wills: they needed to come up with an intellectual system that would give them permission to behave licentiously. Darwinism serves a similar function: it gives intellectuals permission to think atheistically, as Richard Dawkins noted in his much—cited comment that evolution "made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist."

For PR reasons, some intellectuals deny that Darwinism is atheistic. But even their contrived attempts to speak of "theistic evolution" reveal the theory as atheistic, as it reduces God to a very vague and marginal force outside the unguided material processes of the universe. The God of "theistic evolution" is not all—powerful but powerless, just the way modern intellectual culture likes him. The omnipotent God who is the ground of all created things and gives them fixed natures from which binding conclusions must be drawn —— in other words, the God of Judeo—Christian civilization — is still dead, a description Nietzche wouldn't change were he alive to hear the "theistic evolution" babblings of opportunistic Darwinists.

A stunning example, by the way, of this attempt to square a circle — to hold, on the one hand, that the functioning of the universe doesn't rely on God but on material processes, and on the other, to say that God exists — comes from the Jesuit George Coyne, Director of the Vatican Observatory. Writing in The Tablet, Coyne speaks of God as if he is a passive parent on the sidelines of a soccer match:

"If they respect the results of modern science and, indeed, the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly. Perhaps God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words."

A God who isn't needed to create nature and sustain nature isn't needed at all. And he can be denied quite easily, as the Enlightenment's quick step from deism to atheism revealed. Richard Dawkins, who grasps evolutionary theory at its roots, understands this; theistic evolutionists like Coyne don't.
 
What's clear as the debate heats up is that intellectuals will not entertain the omnipotent God implicit in intelligent design lest their own designs on culture be thwarted —— and materialist philosophy masquerading as "modern science" is the most effective tool of propaganda with which to convince the public not to let that binding God back.
 
George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.