Re: History and Goals (for TE)

David Campbell (
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 16:10:52 -0400

>*22. DAVID CAMPBELL: (on April 29, in a "Randomness and Evolution" post
>that belongs in this thread, despite its modified title that more accurately
>describes the focus for most of the thread)
>> Several aspects of evolution are suggestive of chaos (in the
>>mathematical sense) rather than randomness (self-similarity at various
>>scales, relatively simple rules giving complex results, and sensitivity to
>>initial conditions). The limit on predicting a chaotic system is the
>>precision to which the initial conditions are known, which should not be a
>>problem for an omniscient God.
> [ CR: But if quantum processes are truly random (even from God's point
>of view), then chaotic divergence would begin immediately after the
>"carefully defined and known" (by God) initial conditions. ]

And if they are not unpredictable to God, then they would not. However,
some specifics about quantum processes may be meaningless, akin to creating
four-sided trianges and rocks too heavy for God to lift. Does anyone have
an estimate of how much specification of quantum processes is necessary to
determine larger-scale outcomes?

> [ CR: I'm sufficiently non-Calvinistic to think that "theistic action"
>makes more sense (to most people?) in our time-frame when we're thinking
>about either formative history or human history, whether the event is
>casting lots or controlling mutations. ]

Practically, how much difference is there between theistic action being
merely present and being predetermined? I should make it clear that I am
not endorsing a deistic "God wound it up precisely and let it go" but that
He is actively involved and that if He were not, nothing would exist or
happen. What I am asserting is that He was not surprised by or reacting to
anything but rather had it already in His purpose. Obviously, Armenians
will take some exception with respect to human choice, if not elsewhere in

David C.