In a message dated 10/27/01 3:15:29 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< I presume that by a "discontinuity" between creature A and creature B you
mean that there is no continuous pathway of purely creaturely (or "natural")
processes by which one could be transformed into the other >>
<<A discontinuity of this sort would be the consequence of what I have
sometimes called a "capability gap.">>
I call it a transition point to the newer, more advanced stage of creation.
<<Yes, my proposal (that the universe was gifted from the outset with a robust
formational economy) is that there are no discontinuities of the sort that
would prevent the universe from having a continuous formational history of
the type envisioned by contemporary science.>>
Contemporary science is committed to a continuous formational history as you
are. This is your hermeneutic. Such a commitment desensitizes its adherents
to empirical evidence for discontinuities.
However, this is not the first time the scientific community has been
mistaken in denying a phenomenon which later it was forced to acknowledged to
exist. You yourself learned from the history of science (see below) that
seemingly intractable problems are sometimes solved by some unforeseen
development or a new concept or laboratory technique. I am confident that
someday scientists will "discover" discontinuities, and incorporate the new
finding into a revised theory of the history of life.
<<My expectation is that we will one day be in a far better position to
envision creaturely pathways that would make this remarkable phenomenon
Obviously, we are not in very good position to do so today. So far science
has fallen short and what work is going on holds little promise. Your
expectation reminds me of Tom Sawyer, I believe it was, who couldn't stop
digging for the buried treasure because the next shovel full of dirt might
uncover it. The only hope science has, I believe, is to find new laws over
and beyond the laws of physics and chemistry. If such law(s) is(are) found
it will substantiate the staged creation view that the prebiotic universe did
not have the wherewithal to form life.
<<<<In the arena of science our knowledge of the robustness of the universe's
formational economy grows daily.>>
If you mean that science is discovering new facts and gathering new data, I
agree. If you mean that such activity gives insight into <<the robustness of
the universe's formational economy>> I'm skeptical. If you're willing to
spell out a few daily examples, I am willing to listen.
DH <<> As you probably know, I object to the use of the word, "lack",
because it is
> negative and pejorative. You may not think so, but immediately puts one on
> the defensive.
VT: <<Yes, I am aware of the connotations.>>
I'm bothered by this. Why do you continue to use a rhetorical devise to
bolster your point? It seems to me your position should speak for itself
using whatever terms you choose, without having to present other's terms in a
way that twists their meanings.
<<Here is where we respectfully disagree once again. Your "stages" are, I
presume, separated by supernatural interventions in which something new is
added to what had been given being in the beginning. >>
Let me add some details to the idea of staged developmental creative
activity. Each stage had its own purposes or goals and the means to
accomplish them. Also its own time frame. In general the goal of each stage
was to provide the raw material and fundamental conditions needed for the
next stage. With some new ingredient, (which someday we may be able to
discern), the next stage was able to accomplish its own goals. I think the
stages are not hard to discern--prebiotic, unicellular life on earth; complex
metazoan life, sentient life in the image of God. I take it you will permit
a divine intervention in the last stage?
A staged concept of the history of the universe provides a further insight
into the structure of the universe. It is hierarchical. Each stage remains
in place after it has built on the previous one yet does not contain the
goals for the next stage.
<<Why must something new be added? Because it is lacking. Why is it lacking?
Presumably because God chose to withhold it at the beginning. There's nothing
impossible about your proposal, but I am uncomfortable with its "withhold
now, compensate later" character.>>
Answering your first question--Nothing is lacking. A staged, developmental
view of the creative activity of God does not imply, "withhold now,
compensate later" According to the developmental staged view of creation,
each stage proceeded on time and according to plan with nothing held back for
that stage and no compensation needed.
Let me use a homely example to get across the idea of a developmental staged
creation. When your children were born you undoubtedly had in mind a long
range plan that they would go to college. When the stage of adolescence
including high school education was successfully completed on time, you
intervened to provide new resources for them to go to college, the next
stage in their developmental education. Was something new added? Yes. Was
it lacking before they were ready for college? That question doesn't apply.
No resources were "lacking" because they were not yet needed. Did you
"withhold now, compensate later." I hope I've made the point that the terms
"withholding" and "compensate" do not fit the staged developmental model of
Thanks for your responses. Though we disagree on what we think, thankfully
we do not disagree on the fundamentals of our faith.
You may have the last word if you wish.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 29 2001 - 05:34:02 EST