I Walk the Line: Comment on Mikael Leidenhag on Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design

Zygon 55 (3):685-695 (2020)
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Is theistic evolution (TE) a philosophically tenable position? Leidenhag argues in his article “The Blurred Line between Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design” that it is not, since it, Leidenhag claims, espouses a view of divine action that he labels “natural divine causation” (NDC), which makes God explanatory redundant. That is, in so far as TE does not invoke God as an additional cause alongside natural causes, it is untenable. Theistic evolutionists should therefore “reject NDC and affirm a more robust notion of divine agency.” However, this will, Leidenhag claims, have the effect that theistic evolutionists “will move their position significantly closer to Intelligent Design,” and so the line between TE and intelligent design is (or ought to be?) blurred. If successful, the criticism by Leidenhag would be bad news for theists who want to take science seriously and good news for those scientistic atheists according to whom there simply is no scientifically respectable way of combining theism and modern natural science in an overarching worldview. So, is TE stuck between a rock (of redundancy) and a hard place (of pseudo‐science)? No, at least not due to the criticism offered by Leidenhag—but maybe religious naturalism is?



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