Stephen King, Advocate of Intelligent Design
It's funny. I was just about to post the fantastic comments that bestselling author Dean Koontz has contributed for the dust jacket of Stephen Meyer's forthcoming book, Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, when a colleague pointed out that Stephen King, who also works in the supernatural genre, has voiced his own support for the idea of intelligent design. It was in an interview yesterday on NPR (h/t First Things).
Asked about his belief in God, King said:
"I choose to believe it. ... I mean, there's no downside to that. If you say, 'Well, OK, I don't believe in God. There's no evidence of God,' then you're missing the stars in the sky and you're missing the sunrises and sunsets and you're missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there's a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, 'Well, if this is God's plan, it's very peculiar,' and you have to wonder about that guy's personality -- the big guy's personality. And the thing is -- I may have told you last time that I believe in God -- what I'm saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I'm totally inconsistent."
That makes a lot of sense. Nature is indeed built in a way strongly suggestive of design. But yes, that fact still leaves plenty of grounds for questioning. ID isn't creationism -- a belief that, by contrast, sets out to prove the literal truth of a particular holy book. ID begins and ends with the scientific evidence. Of course, please note that Stephen King's remarks do not suggest he is advocating the scientific theory of intelligent design as we conceive it here. His use of the phrase may be entirely generic. Still, for his candor, you've got to hand it to him.
What is it about bestselling novelists of the supernatural school that seems to incline them to sympathy for ID, however defined? As we've often said in the past, intelligent design does not assume, affirm, or infer anything about the "supernatural." But surely ID is suggestive, for those inclined that way, of an unseen reality that could be described by such a term. See my review of William Dembski and Bruce Gordon's edited volume The Nature of Nature, "The Universe Is Haunted," and an op-ed I wrote a few years ago in the L.A. Times.
It's interesting that this observation would not hold true of H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), who inspired King but was a fierce atheist. While there may be hints of a kind of theism in King's books, and I've read many of them, Lovecraft's stories -- which I find very entertaining -- are really about the horror that's possible in his own strictly materialist view of the world. There's no redemption in Lovecraft, while there is, for sure, in King. (See my earlier article, "H.P. Lovecraft, Darwinism's Visionary Storyteller.")
While we're on the subject of Darwin's Doubt, by the way, don't forget tomorrow is the last day for a pre-publication discount and free shipping. Go to DarwinsDoubt.com now.
Image credit: Wikipedia.