>From Paul Nelson:
Van Till wrote:
>> "Extra-natural Assembly" is no more cumbersome
>> than "Intelligent Design." (However, as you said
>> the last time I asked you this question, "'Intelligent
>> Design' just sounds better.")
>It does sound better. But here's a deal.
>You find me an example of intelligent design that does
>*not* involve the action of an agent, and I'll happily
>use your preferred label. Until then: give it a rest.
Proximate or distal causation? It seems to me that ID, as it
is used by the DI, leans toward identifying examples of
proximate causation. Depending on the individual, these
examples of proximate, extra-natural assembly may include:
the human species (pace Paul Nelson), individual phyla or
other higher-than-species-level (pace Spetner), clotting
cascades (pace Behe), or the first cell (pace anyone at the DI).
Perhaps the more meaningful distinction is "proximate ID" vs.
"distal ID", where distal ID may primarily limit its scope to
things like the original conditions of the Big Bang. Hence, Van Till
would be a distal ID'er whereas Paul would be a proximate ID'er.
However, Van Till's distal perspective might not be properly
classified as "extra-natural" assembly, in the sense that he
proposes that an agent did not have to intrude into the
"natural", regular operations of the universe during the evolution
of life once the universe was created.
So Van Till's version is more like a pool player sinking all the
balls with a single shot, and Nelson's is that of a player
having to line up a shot on each ball. The difference is that
the cue ball in Van Till's version doesn't suddenly change
direction without interacting "predictably" and in a causal fashion
with the other components of the table. So the distinguishing factor
is that with Nelson's version of the world, we should expect far more
examples of breaks with "causality."
Now a word on "strategy". Given that the passage of time increases
the difficulty of untangling past events, it seems to me that
those wishing to demonstrate proximate extra-natural assembly,
or at least hoping to make the best cases for it, would focus on
finding the most recent examples. These are the cases where the
tracks left behind would be the freshest and where breaks in
"normal" causality should be easier to document. I once mentioned
this in a discussion on the ARN site. One reply was that the
focus was on ancient, large and complex systems because they
wanted to provide an example of something that was obviously
"irreducibly complex." To me, this seems to be putting the
cart before the horse, and bad scientific strategy IMHO.
Scientists typically try to understand the simplest, most
experimentally tractable systems they can find, in hopes of
being able to apply their discoveries to more complex systems,
not the other way around. Certainly, to make a case that the
general scientific world would accept (and also one that would
fit within the pages of a journal), I'd be scrambling to work
on extra-naturally assembled systems which I though were the
Any word yet on the comparison between human and chip genomes,
or between different species of Hawaii's fruit flies?
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Apr 09 2001 - 12:14:26 EDT