If Mohrhoff knows the Indian tradition as well as Capra does, then I would listen to his suggestions with respect. T.
I might have done a better job defending my claim that “it is preposterous to assert that ID is the alternative to materialism” if I had simply quoted the following passage from Steve Talbott’s article “Ghosts in the Evolutionary Machinery: The Strange, Disembodied Life of Digital Organisms.” (AntiMatters, vol 3 no 4). It expresses my misgivings about ID very well.
Here, incidentally, we can recognize the common ground shared by intelligent design advocates and their conventional opponents. Both view the universe as a grand machine. This groundless assumption is the explicit foundation equally of the case for intelligent design (”the machine requires a Designer”) and the case for a materialistic, mindless universe (”a machine is merely a machine – and we learned long ago simply to ignore the question of a Designer or First Cause, or to conceal it behind the obscurity of the Big Bang”). The theists correctly understand that a machine requires an intelligent designer, whether we acknowledge this fact as such or attempt to smuggle the designer into our thinking by obscure bits and pieces. The materialists, in turn, see well enough that a machine-world is no suitable habitation for a human soul and spirit.
The only way out of the ill-tempered and lightless debate between the two sides is to recognize that the intelligence we see in the world is not imposed from the outside upon pre-existing material, in the way we impose our design upon a machine. The intelligence in nature works always from within. In the world’s phenomena we see intelligence embodying itself in that visible, significant, aesthetically compelling speech we can’t help recognizing everywhere around us (Talbott 2007). The one thing we can be certain of is that whatever – or whoever – speaks through these phenomena is not doing so in the way we speak through the design of our machines. It is the height of hubris to think that we have become creators in that fundamental sense. Our design of machines does not bring material reality itself into existence as the embodiment of our own expressive powers. It is not both the lawfulness and the substance of things.
Having quoted this, I read the following in William Dembski’s UD post “Does ID presuppose a mechanistic view of nature?":
ID’s critique of naturalism and Darwinism should not be viewed as offering a metaphysics of nature but rather as a subversive strategy for unseating naturalism/Darwinism on their own terms. The Darwinian naturalists have misunderstood nature, along mechanistic lines, but then use this misunderstanding to push for an atheistic worldview.
ID is willing, arguendo, to consider nature as mechanical and then show that the mechanical principles by which nature is said to operate are incomplete and point to external sources of information…. This is not to presuppose mechanism in the strong sense of regarding it as true. It is simply to grant it for the sake of argument — an argument that is culturally significant and that needs to be prosecuted.
If this where really all, I would be happy to endorse ID. The trouble is that for most people ID comes associated with notions I repudiate, as pointed out in the original post above. In non-Christian circles where there is no danger of these notions creeping in, I have even defended ID.
zephyr and mentok: Thank you for your helpful clarifications.