>Thanks for your response. I have printed out the article by Ma'ayan
>Semo 9th. I take it that's the author's name?
I honestly have no idea if that's his name.
>As I looked at the pages being spit out by my printer, several
>questions came to mind:
>Can anyone seriously doubt that the eye in its many manifestations
Do you ask if someone can doubt that eyes are the product of extra-
natural assembly? If so then yes, I think one can.
>Were they designed by the Blind (really Extremely Myopic) Watchmaker
>of natural processes or a super-human intelligence working through
How does a super-human intelligence "work through natural processes"
in a manner distinct from the "Blind watchmaker" of natural processes?
Natural processes either work or they don't (Note: By "natural processes"
I mean processes that occur in accordance to what we commonly regard
as "regular" physical laws and not extranatural intervention).
From the apparent rejection of solely natural, regular processes as
possible sources of eyes, I suspect that the super-human intelligence
you're proposing is not the sort of intelligence favored by Van Till.
Instead, this is one that acts occasionally through extranatural assembly
to add functionality that is not normally accessible to the "regular"
>Perhaps the question is, should we elevate natural forces to the level
>of intelligent agents, or should we reduce intelligent agency to natural
What is being suggested is that intelligent agents and natural forces
can sometimes produce similar results; that there can be a degree of
overlap in capabilities.
Why should that be such a heresy?
It appears that natural "forces" and variation/selection algorithms
are capable of finding "solutions" that our intelligence finds difficult
to comprehend or duplicate. Simply put, there are many things which we
intelligent agents cannot compute but which are routinely achieved in
the natural world. For instance, with very few exceptions we can never
predict what mutations or variations would have to be introduced to a
gene to compensate for a variation in another gene. Our computational
and scientific capabilities are simply insufficient. Yet mindless
bacteria growing in a tube of broth are often capable of locating
solutions to the problem in less than a day. Does that "elevate" natural
forces *above* the level of intelligent agents?
About intelligence and natural forces...
There are those such as Behe who have written that life is
biochemical and that physicochemical processes are sufficient for
the functioning of life today. There is no "magic stuff" going on
inside our brains according to that view. Granted, Behe also thinks
that there are parts of organisms that couldn't have evolved without
extranatural assembly, but his doesn't contradict the notion that
our intelligence (embodied under our skins) emerges from natural
functions. Does that "elevate" natural forces *above* the level of
intelligent agents? Does talk of "levels" make sense in this context?
>You wrote previously, "Nonetheless these thoughts give no reason to
>suppose that a designer's work is finished on Earth. Why would one
>expect that no additional species, families or phyla are slated for
>future creation? How do we know there are no further designs waiting
>to be applied?"
>I will respond to that again. My model of the history of organic
>life, in brief, is that it is a developmental, progressing and
>bounded history, much as an individual's life history is developmental
>and bounded. It has a beginning and an ending. For example, events and
>processes in the early stages of an individual's life are not repeated
>at age 80. Likewise design events in the early stages of organic life
>are not repeated now or in the future. In my view the developmental
>bounded view of life is repeated at all levels, in individual life
>spans, in species and phyletic groups, and I believe in the history
>of the total biota. An implication of my view is that the present biota
>is in its near-final stage of development, of its bounded life span.
>This view of life is not derived purely from scientific observation.
>But I believe that the data on the history of organic life support it.
>I also think that Christian theology favors a view of a developmental,
>bounded history of life that it has a goal and will have an ending.
Outside of theological revelation, how does one reach the opinion that
the present biota is in its near-final stage of development? For example,
grasses and angiosperms are fairly recent to the scene. If we place the
start of the Cambrian (roughly 570mya) at the start of a timeline and
today at the other end, then angiosperms don't appear until the last 30%
of that timeline. Grasslands and the animals that evolved to graze upon
them don't show up until the last 5%. Hominid evolution would cover the
last 1% of that timeline.
>Your view, if I may venture to say, is that the history of life is open
>ended, and probably uniformitarian, that almost anything can happen as
>it has in the past. I don't think that your view has more factual
>support than mine does, in fact, I think it has less.
Unfortunately, "uniformitarian" is a badly misused term in creation/evo
Because the future development of life is contingent upon current
conditions just as current patterns depended on past conditions, I don't
expect general repeatability except under highly defined, tightly
For example, in eye evolution we see multiple solutions to common
problems. Because some of these structures have encountered similar
physical constraints (say, for light refraction), a certain degree of
parallelism is not unexpected. Convergence is also seen is cases such
as lens crystallins. For these crystallins, different proteins in
different organisms were recruited for expression in the eye lens.
The uses of these different proteins are the same; to be part of a
transparent channel capable of refracting light.
>Our respective models are both shaped by and shape our interpretation
I've never discussed my "model" of the pattern of life's development
on earth. However, I do think that the end of life on earth will be
influenced more by the sun entering its red giant phase a few billion
years from now than from some preprogrammed aging of the biosphere.
>By the way, how would I access Medline?
Because I can never remember the access points I tend to let Google find
it for me. Here's a link that is current and active (for now):
Tim Ikeda (email@example.com)
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