I've been skimming through a pamphlet written by the process theologian David Ray Griffin, called, Evolution without Tears: A Third Way beyond Neo-Darwinism and Intelligent Design. I confess that I know very little about process theology, though I'm gathering that according to this view God is not transcendent to the Universe, but is somehow part of it, yet conscious of it and able to influence events in it. I think process theology is supposed to be equivalent to something called Panentheism.
Prof. Griffin agrees with many leaders of the ID movement (e.g., Dembski and Phillip Johnson) regarding "Neo-Darwinism's Religious-Moral Destructiveness" (p.20), and seems to agree that there are scientific inadequacies with Neo-Darwinism (p.19), but thinks science needs a naturalistic framework that a supernatural form of ID can't provide. But Griffin summarizes William Dembski's thoughts in Dembski's book, Design Revolution,
He [Dembski] even concludes by taking back his acknowledgment that process theology is compatible with ID, suggesting that only a God who creates ex nihilo can be a designer in the true sense of the term. (p.24)
From this Griffin concludes that process theology could never be included as a form of Intelligent Design theory, and classifies his explanation, which he calls "Whiteheadian evolution," as a third alternative to ID or Neo-Darwinism. According to such a view,
…there is divine influence in every event and the content of this influence can vary enormously….Given the idea that every event is subject to divine influence — an influence that Whitehead calls an "initial aim" — the Neo-Darwinian doctrine that evolution is entirely undirected is rejected, along with the claim that macroevolution is fully understandable in terms of random variations and natural selection. (p.27)
I think the problem here is that Prof. Griffin thinks that Prof. Dembski is the one and only gatekeeper of Intelligent Design theory. Should he ever visit our blog, he would soon realize that this isn't the case, and that Whiteheadian evolution would actually be one of the alternative special hypotheses within the broader general hypothesis we know as Intelligent Design. Let me quickly head off the usual attack of ID critics, who would say that I am only demonstrating that ID is just a big tent for all sorts of contradictory views. There is one common denominator to all of these views: All agree that teleology has played some sort of causal role in the history of biotic reality. As such, Prof. Griffin's Whiteheadian evolution would be included in this big tent, and opposed to that other big tent that I call "Non-Teleological explanations of biotic reality."
Let me head off another objection — that Neo-Darwinism leads to Moral-Religious Destructiveness. It's not clear to me that it does, or at least that it needs to. I think Ken Miller has argued rather persuasively that one can be a Theist and believe that God has used a Neo-Darwinian process to bring about all the different forms of life. So here I must part company with Prof. Griffin and some other leaders in the ID movement. I think the important question we should focus on is whether ID provides some sort of scientific explanation that is more complete than non-teleological explanations.
Nevertheless, it's clear that Whiteheadian evolution should be included in our big tent of ID. And so I say to Prof. Griffin, welcome to ID.