Can we start a more general thread on Design?
on 4/11/01 11:43 AM, Howard J. Van Till at email@example.com wrote:
> The question is, did the Creator give the Creation sufficient formational
> capabilities for discovering/actualizing the requisite proteins for life,
> or did the Creator choose to modify the Creation over time, in the sense
> that a violin maker might choose to build a "perfect" violin which could
> only be apprehended as perfect when he played it."
Yes, the violin-maker metaphor is one possibility that we could consider. It
would fall into the general category of artisan metaphors. Acting in the
manner of an artisan, God might be portrayed as first conceptualizing (an
act of Mind) a violin and then shaping (hand action) the violin's component
parts from available materials and assembling them (hand action again) into
the complete instrument.
This metaphor is, I believe, essentially the same as Plato's Demiurge, the
divine craftsman who worked within the limits of materials at hand to
actualize some new form/structure. The Bible also employs this
artisan/craftsman metaphor in its speech about God's creative activity.
But, of course, the Bible uses numerous other metaphors as well: tentmaker
(cf. Is. 40:22), builder (Ps 102:25), military commander (Is 45:15),
sovereign king (Gen. 1, Ps. 33:6-9), holder of wisdom/discernment/knowledge
(Jer. 51:15, Prov. 3:19, 20), and others.
Must we choose one of these as the only acceptable one? I think not.
Recognized as metaphors, each has the potential for appropriate use in our
praise of the Creator.
Must we limit ourselves to using only those metaphors used in text written
two or three millennia ago? I think not. I think we must go beyond the "say
as they said" practice (repeating the words of others) and move on to the
"do as they did" practice (using our knowledge of the universe and using the
conceptual vocabulary of our day as we craft our praise of God as Creator).
That's what I am trying to do as I speak about God giving being to a
creation that is robustly equipped with all of the resources, potentialities
and capabilities needed to actualize the full array of physical structures
and life forms that have appeared in the universe's formational history.
Jim Stark's comments follow.
We seem to limit the nature of God to human metaphors. We are multiple
selves, which affects our thinking. Is God a multiple self? We have
intentions, so we see God as having intentions. Our intentions create human
habits in our behavior. Do God's intentions create Godly habits that may be
subject to later intentional change?
God's intentions lead to the creation of the Universe and to God's
providential actions. Our intentions become causes after the fact of acting
on the intentions by using free will. When God acts on God's intentions by
using God's free will those intentions would become factual causes in the
Universe. Those causes may work to create forms. An organized set of
factual causes would create a formation or design, when creativity is
infused. That creativity would require more use of both free will and
intentions. I do not see how we can separate the presence of the designer
from the design evidence.
Is it possible to separate the creative designer from the design? If not,
we will never discover intelligent design within the Universe. It would
prove the existence of God, which is not part of God's design. God will not
violate our state of freedom from God.
Even with human designers, it appears that we can not separate the designer
from the design. The following is what leads me to this conclusion.
Whenever we consider the design of an object or model, a designer is
creating a desired form and function. Will there be evidence of design
within the model or object? Or must the designer be within that model to
act as evidence of design? Function introduces purpose into the discussion.
Is the purpose of the design for the model always with the designer? If so,
then the location of the purpose may be outside the model or it may internal
as evidence of a designer within the model. We can use evidence of purpose
to establish evidence of design.
If God is both immanent and transcendent, then God can be both external and
internal to a model. Can we find evidence of God within our models of the
Universe? Would evidence of intelligent design within the model imply the
existence of God or just an internal designer? What might be the nature of
such an internal design agency, if it is not God? Could it be a spiritual
DA? Then evidence of a spiritual DA would surely imply the existence of a
spiritual realm and therefor, God. Perhaps that agency is a core identity
for the object. Any design is a link to a designer. The use of design as a
concept automatically brings the concept of agency with it.
There is no disagreement that we are the designers of our models. We create
artificial designs. However, can we detect valid physical evidence of
design in what we invent or observe? Or must the presence of design require
testimony from the designer? Must it lead to claims of the supernatural
from interpretations of evidence? We do design social models that have a
valid presence of design within the models. Such models would be at some
level of self-designing ability. Would self-replicating systems also be
self-designing based on a fixed program of design? Scientific research is
already creating a variety of self-designing systems for use in production
and organizations. However, scientists are divided on the meaning of design
because of the implied designer. Is artificial design the same level of
design as that observed in nature? How should we interpret evidence of
intelligent design within a model? Are we as users of the model projecting
that design into the model with our interpretations?
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