At the end of a debate between Michael Behe and Michael Reiss on the subject of Intelligent Design, this challenge was raised by an audience member:
ID is a counterproductive apologetic device for this reason: If you introduce the idea of specified complexity, or irreducible complexity, the argument is that there are certain things that are so complex that you can’t give a natural explanation to them, but they have to invoke the idea of a designer. That entails that there are some things that are not sufficiently complex, so you don’t have to introduce the idea of a designer.
Now that seems to be contrary to Christian theology because God is the maker and upholder of everything there is–the things we do understand and the things we don’t. And to substitute God in the places that we can’t understand is that traditional philosophical error…of the “God of the gaps,” where you substitute God in where you can’t do the science. Now, C. A. Coulson was our first professor of theoretical physics, a Christian man, and he said, when that happens, the challenge is to become a better scientist, not to try and say, “Ah, here we’ve found a bit you can’t explain in science. That’s God.” And I think that’s inescapable as a problem in the Intelligent Design movement.
Now put yourself in Behe’s position. You’ve finished your presentation on ID, and you get this challenge. How do you respond? In a situation like this one, you want to zero in as closely as possible on whatever you think is most important. Though there are a few things to address in this question, if your answer wanders on too long, you’ll lose the audience. So pick out the main thing you need to clarify, and state your answer as clearly as possible. Let’s see what you’ve got! We’ll hear from Alan on this one on Thursday.