Re: Evolution of proteins in sequence space

From: Bert Massie (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 15:03:30 EDT

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    "Howard J. Van Till" wrote:

    > Bert Massie writes:
    > > Look, let me take the position that information came into the universe
    > > from God. Now, the information was not in the form of a text book. It
    > > was in the form of an entity such as a cell with DNA.
    > >
    > > But, this is more than just information it has to be a cell that is
    > > alive etc and it is a physical entity.
    > OK, it appears that you have taken a position that places your picture of
    > God's creative action in a category that includes supernatural intervention
    > -- God's action breaks the continuity of the creaturely system of cause and
    > effect. The cell you propose appears solely as a consequence of a divine act
    > in which God either (1) coerces atoms into a new arrangement that they were
    > unable to actualize by the use of their own formational capabilities, or (2)
    > brings the first cell into being ex nihilo.


    I only believe ex nihilo once.


    > > Now, many years later, actually
    > > maybee 3.8B years, we are sitting here trying to determine how this
    > > information became more complex, and how the organisms became more
    > > complex and ecologically placed. That is, each organism must have an
    > > ecology of eat and be eaten.
    > >
    > > Looking backwards, let posit two Models, labeled A and B.
    > >
    > > Model A
    > > The initial conditions were set just right so that the laws of nature
    > > plus these initial conditions would lead to us.
    > >
    > > OR
    > >
    > > Model B
    > > The initial conditions were set appropriately but along the way God
    > > introduced additional organims and information which lead to us.
    > >
    > > Now Howard, the question is, how can be tell the difference between
    > > Model A and Model B?
    > Three comments:
    > 1. I'm not sure what you mean by "initial conditions." Perhaps you could
    > give an example or two so that I know what kinds of parameters God "set."


    The location of every particle, wavefunction spatial temporal variables, etc.,
    energy field, etc., so that when the universe expanded, out came a certain set
    of items which inlcude amoung others the earth, etc.

    Incidently, my person bias is that this is not what happened.


    > 2. Since your concept of God's creative action already includes supernatural
    > intervention, as noted above, there would be no theological basis for
    > preferring A over B. Furthermore, if "setting initial conditions" involves
    > additional acts of supernatural intervention (a form of _coercive_ divine
    > action, in Griffin's vocabulary), then A and B are theologically equivalent.
    > Both would include irruptive intervention.
    > 3. Given the uncertainty regarding what you mean by "initial conditions" and
    > given no further information about the sort of "additional organisms and
    > information" that you envision God introducing "along the way," we have no
    > basis for knowing how to "tell the difference between model A and Model B."
    > Empirical evidence favoring my proposal that the Creation has a robust
    > formational economy might favor Model A, but your proposal for the
    > supernatural insertion of a first cell makes a robust formational economy
    > unnecessary.
    > What's the point you're driving toward?
    > Howard Van Till


    The point is that can we tell the difference from our physical observations.


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