Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 14:26:27 EDT

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    Hi everyone,

    Just feeling a need to throw in another perspective.

    My "resistance" to ID in general is that in my thinking (from a "hard-core"
    Calvinist perspective), all design is "proximate", because all things are
    governed by God. God not only sets creational potentialities (a la
    HVT--"distal design", I guess), but he directs each and every creational
    action along the way of exploring that space. He does this in a regular way
    and this regularity and lawfulness and faithfulness in his governance is
    the basis for regularity and lawfulness in creation. (Don't read any
    exclusion of miracles here!)

    So, I'll say it again. Just because we can give a scientific/creaturely
    explanation for a given phenomenon does not mean that God is not doing
    anything. God is actively controlling "whatsoever comes to pass". (I know
    that all the Calvinist critics are shuddering at this, but, that's a
    longstanding theological debate.) Personally, I think that this perspective
    is what made it so "easy" for the late 19th century/early 20th century old
    Princetonians to accept evolution.

    An implication of this is that from God's perspective, there is no
    randomness, there is no self-organization, there is no quantum
    unpredictability. These descriptions are perfectly legitimate, however,
    from a creaturely/human perspective. So when I say that systems
    self-organize based on "intrinsic" properties, I'm speaking entirely from a
    creaturely/human perspective. From God's perspective there are no
    "intrinsic" properties nor is there any autonomous "self".

    In many ways this is a purely theological assertion. This is why in the end
    my science looks nearly identical to the non-theist's science and why my
    criticisms of ID sound nearly identical to non-theists' criticisms. Phil
    Johnson has called my position "vacuous" and despises it because it makes
    no "threat" to the non-theist scientific community. As I've said many times
    before, the critique that we ought to be making of the atheistic scientific
    community is at the philosophical/theological level and not at the
    practical science level. On the fundamental philosophical/theological
    issues I agree whole-heartedly with Phil Johnson and eagerly desire to join
    ranks with him, but he does not welcome me, but rather actively opposes me
    (calls my views "vacuous", claims that I'm duped by the secular scientific
    establishment, accuses me of fearfully trembling before the secularly
    controlled granting agencies and scientific journal editors, etc.).

    For the record,

    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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