Here E. Sober argues that intelligent design has religious implications. A brief reply is given below.
1. Sober argument from ID to supernatural designer relies on all of its premises, of course. Therefore, if one premise, namely ID, has religious implications, all other premises in the argument have religious implications. Sober’s argument relies e.g. on the finite age of the universe, coming from the Big Bang theory. Therefore, if ID has religious implications, so has BB. Actually, the main reason BB was/is rejected by atheists was/is its religious implications.
2. Probabilistically, if evolution is flawed or cannot explain observed biological structures, the probability of intelligent design increases, and to some extent vice versa. Therefore, by Sober’s argument, also evolution has a probabilistic effect on the existence of a supernatural designer. Therefore the theory of evolution also has probabilistic religious implications.
3. It would be nice to hear what Sober thinks his argument amounts to. If theory A has implications in some other field B, does it mean that A ceases to be a theory in its original field of knowledge? Is quantum mechanics only chemistry now since it has strong impact on the present-day chemistry? Should physicist abandon QM since it is chemistry now? My guess is that the agument is meant to play in the hands of ’ID is religious’ folks. And superficially it probably will, for people who already want to say ’ID is religious’ will just embrace it without intellectual hesitation and claim that ID is therefore religious. However, honest thinkers and scientists will see that we cannot select theories based on their implications. Science is to boldly go where the facts lead. And neither should we use false rhetoric and label theories based on their implications as ’religious’ since people will understand it to mean that the theory is constructed from religious premises, which is clearly not the case with ID. Materialistic understanding of science and theory of evolution however denies design based on materialistic philosiphical bias and it may be argues that it is religious, since the (anti)religious assumption is in the premises.
4. Sober’s argument is a good example of the fact that the Goulds Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) principle for science and religion just does not work. To be able to claim NOMA one would have to give rigorous agreed-upon definitions fo both religion and science, which nobody has been able to do. Religion is not fideism but is often based on sound reasons. Science is not free of philosophical biases (beliefs) and we actually do not properly know what science is (the problem of demarcation).