Re: Functional proteins from a random library

From: Paul Nelson (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 13:09:02 EDT

  • Next message: Terry M. Gray: "Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)"

    Loren Haarsma wrote:

    >According to scripture, God designed and created
    >everything in the universe. That includes carbon
    >atoms. Carbon atoms are, of course, necessary for
    >Science provides a great deal of evidence that the
    >carbon atoms in this universe self-assembled from
    >component pieces -- according to natural laws and
    >without the need for miraculous intervention -- in
    >stellar cores and were dispersed throughout the
    >universe by stellar winds and novas.
    >I see absolutely no conflict between those previous
    >two paragraphs. I expect that very few theologians
    >see a conflict.
    >But if I use the definition of "intelligent design"
    >which you, Dembski, and your fellows insist upon using,
    >then there is a huge conflict between those two
    >So please tell me:
    >Are carbon atoms intelligently designed?
    >If they are, then would it _also_ be true that modern
    >living organisms are intelligently designed EVEN IF
    >they self-assembled from component pieces according
    >to natural laws and without the need for miraculous

    I'll be at Calvin College between May 21 and May 27,
    attending two conferences on design and science.
    Why don't we talk about this then? [I have lectures
    to give very soon at Wheaton College and Chicago
    State Univ., and need to prep for them.]

    In the interim, my quick reply to your question
    is that you're using at least two senses of "design"
    -- one which you would affirm irrespective of the
    findings of science, and another which you would
    not (i.e., which has risky empirical content). From
    past discussions, I know that you -- unlike Howard
    Van Till -- allow that science *could* discover
    that organisms (for instance) did *not* "self-assemble
    from component pieces according to natural laws."
    The only sense of "design" that Howard recognizes
    is the first.

    So before I can answer your question, I need to
    know which sense of "design" is at play. But
    let's save this discussion for next month.


    P.S. Just read Tim Ikeda's post on "proximate"
    and "distal" ID. Please see my article in _Zygon_
    34 (December 1999):677-682, "Is 'Intelligent
    Design' Unavoidable -- Even By Howard Van
    Till?" where I argued that Van Till's position was
    indeed "distal ID." I made a case in the
    article that's Howard's "functional integrity"
    hypothesis had empirical content, vis-a-vis the
    views (for instance) of Martin Rees. Rees
    argues that our universe is the lucky winner is
    a meta-cosmic lottery: this universe was drawn
    by the blind hand of chance "from an infinite urn
    of other universes which would not sustain life"
    (p. 680).

    Turns out I was wrong, however. Howard later
    told me that his position is *not* what Tim
    calls "distal ID," because that would ascribe
    empirical content to Howard's view, when in
    fact it is a faith commitment.

    That's it for me in this discussion (on the ASA
    listserve, I mean ;-)

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