Loren Haarsma (HVANTILL@legacy.calvin.edu)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 11:26:34 EST5EDT

Christopher Morbey notes:

>Howard comes up with this term, RFEP, which he has defined well enough
>but does it
>really say all that much? Does he hide in the word "economy" its
>meaning? What about "robust" and "formational" and "principle"? Sounds
>like some
>intelligence and design has been at work here. Also, how is RFEP any
>different from
>the generic Anthropic Principle?

I introduced the term 'Robust Formational Economy Principle' not for the
trivial purpose of adding one more element of "woolly jargon" into the
discussion, but because I think it identifies the fundamental issue at
stake here. It is not some quibble over the character of scientific
methodology (MN, say), but a basic disagreement over the character of
the universe that the narural sciences investigate. I intended no hidden
theological agenda in the words that comprise the term.

The comment re "intelligence and design" is appropriate. Christopher
also asked:

>But why say "intelligent"? Can any design NOT not be intelligent?

Your question cannot be answered, of course, until the term.
"Intelligent Design" has been candidly defined by its proponents. The
term is often employed, but seldom, if ever, defined.

So, what does it mean to be "intelligently designed"?

Does it mean, for instance, "thoughtfully conceived for the
accomplishment of some comprehensive purpose, the action of a mind or
Mind"? If so, then all Christians believe the universe to be
'intelligently designed.'

Or does it mean, "not only 1) thoughtfully conceived for the
accomplishment of some comprehensive purpose, the action of a mind or
Mind, but also 2) assembled by the action of an external and non-natural
agent, the action of a hand, or its divine equivalent"? If so, then it
is a form of special creationism, on which Christians are NOT all

To put it another way, Is the proposition of the ID Theorists really
about _design_ or is it about the manner of _assembly_? Would it be more
accurate and less confusing not to to call it a theory about Intelligent
Design, but rather a theory of Extra-natural Assembly?

Comments from proponents of ID are welcome.

Howard Van Till