[...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.*
*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
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