A Centuries-Old QuandaryDivine Action Project as so much of the work relates to the question of how God interacts with the world. And while the various participants hold to different nuanced views of divine action, they all generally agree that special divine action—the idea of God acting in miraculous or non law-like ways—is a problem. As Wildman explains:
There was wide agreement among DAP participants that any postulate of SDA [special divine action] exacerbates the theodicy problem, so a lot of energy was expended in trying to deal with this.
In other words, divine action that is intentional and particular exacerbates the thorny problem of evil. If God is all-good, all-powerful and all-knowing, then there would be no evil in the world. Since there is evil, then God must not be all-good, or all-powerful or all-knowing.
Better to restrict the divine action to law-like, uniform actions so our good God is not responsible for this bad world.
This idea that God would not have intended for this world goes back to antiquity and forms the basis of the powerful metaphysics that underwrites evolution. As the Epicureans explained, the world must have arisen on its own. It must have evolved.
This idea is so intuitive and so compelling that evolutionists do not even think of it as metaphysical or religious. It drives them to the conclusion that the world must have arisen spontaneously but the absurdity is lost on them, so powerful is the religion.
And while the DAP participants were all theists, this powerful metaphysic is by no means limited to them. Atheists believe just as ardently as any theist that no creator would ever have designed or created such a world. As PZ Myers wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
We go right to the central issue of whether there is a god or not. We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does.
In other words, special divine action is a problem. This time, however, this truth comes from an atheist, illustrating once again that the key distinction is not between theist versus atheist or between religion versus science. This is the myth of the Warfare Thesis.
But the key distinction is at a deeper level of raw religious beliefs and the Divine Action Project is yet another example of this.
Religion drives science, and it matters.