Atheist Bradley Monton Defends Intelligent Design

Though philosopher Bradley Monton does not believe God exists, in a book titled Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, he opens with this:

This book is not providing a full-fledged endorsement of intelligent design. But intelligent design needs to be taken more seriously than a lot of its opponents are willing to.

In an interview in Salvo magazine, Monton explains why he takes Intelligent Design seriously, even as an atheist:

ID investigations are part of a long tradition in philosophy called Natural Theology—of looking for evidence in the natural world for the existence of God. Intelligent design has prima facie merit in being part of this long philosophical and scientific tradition. That's one reason why I think it should be taken seriously. The other is that I find the arguments of the opponents of ID too emotionally driven and not as intellectually robust as one would hope. I get upset with my fellow atheists who present bad arguments against intelligent design and then expect everyone to believe that they have somehow resolved the debate with these bad arguments.

When asked about the weaknesses of ID, Monton corrects the commonly-believed idea that ID can’t lead to testable predictions:

At one time, I would have said that the greatest weakness [of ID] was the failure of ID proponents to put a theory on the table that makes testable predictions, but that all changed with Jonathan Wells's book The Myth of Junk DNA. In it, Wells predicted that this purported junk DNA—these stretches of DNA in our genome that many scientists had claimed were useless—would be purposeful for the structure of human biology. Well, within the past year or so, empirical investigation has confirmed that there is in fact much less junk DNA than scientists had previously thought. It's just a great example of a testable prediction that was made by a proponent of intelligent design that turned out to be successful.

You can read the full interview in Salvo, and see more about “How to Test for Intelligent Design.”

(HT: @jwarnerwallace)


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Amy K. Hall