Joined: Sep. 2004
Thanks for clarifying about the quote.
Also, I see that you did address the question in which I am interested, so let me respond:
You write that the universe might be the result of a
|form of pantheist view which lends to the notion that we can never know or understand the eternal “forces” that may have, in some unknowable sense, lent aid or direction in what is perceived as design in the world around us.|
Now I not sure that pantheism lends itself to what you say it does.
|Pantheism is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. More detailed definitions tend to emphasize the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe (the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be) is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than a personal, creative deity or deities of any kind.|
It seems to me that pantheism would support the idea that studying science was in fact a way to know God (given that he is embodied in natural law), and that the design we see in the world around us is therefore a product of natural forces as opposed to the actions of any personal creative deity. In this sense, pantheists would say that we can know the forces responsible for the order and design of the universe.
Now of course pantheism, no more than theism, materialism, or any other -ism, can tell us why the world, or the force behind the world, is the particular way it is (an immanent God embedded in nature, an external personal God, no God whatsoever, etc.) - all such -isms are speculative metaphysics that, in order to avoid an infinite regress of explanation, have to start with saying "this just is."
Which brings me to the second part of what you wrote:
| This last view in which we are left to ignore the question just because it is mysterious is a cop-out, and spells death to logic. We have to deal with the question by either explaining how intelligence arose spontaneously without an intelligent cause, or consider the alternatives honestly, without arrogance.|
This is no more of a cop-out than any other -ism. : do you consider it a cop-out that you can't explain how God came to be?
Pantheism would hold that through reason and logic we can understand how the world works. It makes our approach to God more accessible to reason, not less so, than, for instance, theism, which in many circles holds that indeed the nature of God and the nature of his interaction with the universe is in fact mysterious, incomprehensible, and outside the scope of human logic.
P.S., added in edit. I want to make it clear that in my earlier posts on this subject I wasn't discussing pantheism. However, since ftk has brought it up it adds another possibility besides "design or accident."