Re: What does the creation lack?

Date: Tue Oct 30 2001 - 16:47:46 EST

  • Next message: "Re: What does the creation lack?"

    Howard commented
    [...see my last post for background...]
    >Here is where the Ruest approach (similar to the approaches of Wm.
    >Pollard and Bob Russell) technically avoids the idea of "violating and
    >overpowering" by proposing that God surreptitiously chooses from among
    >several possible outcomes the particular one that advances things in
    >the desired direction. What the system in question does is within its

    Yours and George's comments lead me to ask: What's "outside" a system's
    capabilities in QM?

    With QM, it is within the "capabilities" of a slug to tunnel from Earth to
    Mars. Certainly a slug's wave function extends beyond the Martian orbit.
    It's no different for having a rock tunnel into the air above an unfortunate
    slug. These things don't happen terribly often (read: never) but it is a
    finite possibility. I don't see how tweaking the improbable timing of say,
    the decay of an unstable potassium isotope near a chromosome to induce a
    desired mutation is qualitatively different from tunneling an invertebrate
    to Phobos: It's all just a matter of choosing between possible outcomes.
    The only difference is quantitative: i.e. variation in relative
    probabilities or masses of the objects involved.

    Whether a change is effected by altering the likelihood of particular
    event or momentarily replacing the "standard laws" of physics, we're
    still talking about rewriting the rules in midstream and altering the
    "natural" timeline. We may say that these examples do not violate standard
    QM but they do fly in the face of what is generally observed. For example,
    if something can direct the choice of possible outcomes for tunnelling
    events, couldn't it power an engine by directing the tunnelling of gas
    molecules to the inside of a sealed air tank?

    We know that all formulations of QM are lacking key components that map
    QM theory to the observed "macro-world" (or perhaps how it is that we
    oberver the world). I suspect that much of what we consider to be a non-
    violation of QM theory today -- whether it's slugs on Phobos or energy-
    less information transfer leading to the formation of new species -- will turn out to be a problem for QM theory as it becomes better formulated.
    Until then, invoking QM as an "out" for non-violating, form-imposing
    intervention is close to meaningless for me.

    >> So what we're talking about here sounds like a classic variant of
    >> progressive creationism. Let's just call it that.
    >It may not be a "classic" variant, but I'm inclined to agree that it
    >is a variant of progressive creationism. The replacement of capability
    >gaps with improbability hurdles seems too small a modification to get
    >out of the PC territory. I would say that the values of the relevant
    >probabilities are part and parcel of the universe's formational economy.
    >If these probabilities are too small, the universe's formational economy
    >is lacking something that it needs for development without intervention.
    >The Ruest proposal has modified the character of the interventions, but
    >has not made form-effecting interventions altogether unnecessary.

    I agree with Howard. I don't see a clear distinction between "capability
    gaps" and "improbability hurdles" if it is claimed that a system can't
    move from state-X to state-Y within the time alloted.*

    Tim Ikeda

    *On the other hand, if it was God's intent that a particular person like
    Howard Van Till should exist now on this particular planet, as opposed
    to some other person, then I think we're talking about a completely
    different class of "improbability hurdles". That's a metaphysical mire
    for sure.

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