"Throughout this essay I have sought to make a clear distinction between creation and change: to argue, that is, that creation is a concept in metaphysics and theology, not in the natural sciences."
Evolution _is_ a theory of creation. There are aspects of it which are not, and those are agreed upon by creationists, evolutionists, and ID'ers.
In addition, all metaphysics and theology, if they are true, should have an impact on the material world. Only if they are false should their effects be undetectable.
"At the very least, we should recognize, as Richard Lewontin did in the passage quoted above, that to claim that only materialist explanations of reality are acceptable is a philosophical assumption not required by the "methods and institutions of science.""
So why, then, is he rejecting Intelligent Design? Intelligent Design is no more than the study of intelligent causation.
"Whatever exists is caused to be by God; this is a conclusion in metaphysics; whether human souls are among the things that exist is a question to be answered in natural philosophy; whether living things have evolved by natural selection is the subject of evolutionary biology."
The idea that these arguments are wholly separable is foolishness. It depends very highly on how and what and when creation occurred to be able to interpret history. Evolutionary biology is simply an extension of Lyellian assumptions -- that processes today are essentially the same as processes in the past. Only by this _assumption_ (which says something specifically about theology) does evolution have any traction at all. Likewise, the existence or non-existence of the human soul affects greatly whether or not materialist/reductionist science can fully describe the operation of the human mind. If the soul exists, then reductionism is only part of the picture, and we need to be examining intelligent causes as well, not just physical causes.
"We should remember, however, that evolutionary biology's commitment to common descent by natural selection is essentially an explanation of origin and development; it is a historical account."
Likewise, the Bible is a historic account. The difference being that the Bible was written by eyewitnesses, while evolutionary biologists are restricted to circumstantial evidence interpretted in a manner directly contradictory of reality (materialism). Only by assuming a non-theistic history does evolutionary biology provide a creation account. Without this assumption that materialism is a complete description of reality, evolutionary biology (as a historical endeavor, not in the experimental sense) does not make sense.
"However necessary evolutionary biology is for understanding nature, it is not a substitute for the complete study of what things are and how they behave."
Yes, exactly! Doesn't this undermine the entire rest of the author's thesis? If someone is doing a reconstruction based on circumstantial evidence, doesn't the a priori exclusion of causes known to be in effect preclude someone from getting the right answer? This author apparently doesn't think so.
Ultimately, it seems the author does not understand the controversy itself.
(1) ID'ers are pretty much simply studying intelligent causation. If intelligent causation is true, then why can't it be studied? If it is true, why should it be ruled out a priori when examining biology? Should not our knowledge of how intelligent causes operate help us understand biology if it has markings of intelligent causation?
(2) Creationists do not look to the Bible as science, but as history. Several things:
(a) There is no reason why God would repeat over and over that he created the world in six days when in fact he took long ages. The vocabulary at the time of writing (post-Egypt) had sufficient terminology for long ages, should that be what God had intended. Likewise, contrary to the claims of some, the language in Genesis 1-11 is not poetic. It does not employ any of the common Hebrew poetry devices.
(b) The Bible records a worldwide flood. There are several indications it was worldwide besides the specific languages saying it was so, including (1) the length of time the ark was on the water without finding land (1 year), (2) the size of the ark and the number of animals on board, and (3) the global fear of a worldwide flood since that point.
(c) The Bible records a change in lifespan. This indicates a dramatic difference in either the biology or the environment pre-flood and post-flood. This can account for many of the differences between, for example, Neanderthal, Erectus, and Sapien.
(d) If there was a flood and an environmental change of this magnitude, it must have been geologically recorded. Consistent with this is fact that the Paleozoic and Mesozoic have the markings of having been laid down quickly and catastrophically. If this was the case, then the entire basis of fossil succession has been replaced by a physical cause (the flood) rather than long spans of time.
The fact is that creation and evolution -- neither one of them can be separated from metaphysics. As Hawking said, "However we are not able to make cosmological models without some admixture of ideology." In fact, few people realize that, at least according to Hawking in The Large-Scale Structure of Space-Time, the big bang model is in fact a metaphysical/philosophical choice, and was not the only one mandated by the evidence.
No, it really isn't. It's a theory of change of what exists: specifically, speciation of living forms.
The evolutionary theory really does explain speciation , but it does not mean that God doesn't exist, or that Man doesn't have free will. Properly understood the Evolutionary theory doesn't impact on these at all. Ignorant faux-scientists in Darwin's time DID however insist that Evolution meant this. They insisted that Science had disproved God.
The other half of the quarrel came from biblical literalists insisting that literal interpretations of Genesis were, in fact, God's Revelation.
So two sets of people found themselves grouping behind banners marked "Science" and "Religion" - when in fact the banners should have been labelled "Unscientific Dogmatic Atheists" and "Biblical Literalists". And we today find ourselves inheriting their same dull quarrel.
There is no doubt that evolution occurs, and there is also no doubt that there is something innately different about man: he is not a mere naked ape. DNA explains genetic inheritance but does not explain free will or the immortal soul. The two things are both true and there is no actual contradiction between them.
Are you saying that Moses was an eyewitness to the events in Genesis?