In a message dated 12/13/01 9:38:03 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< If cellular life forms on planet earth appear AS A CONSEQUENCE OF ATOMS AND
MOLECULES HAVING BEEN MODIFIED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO GIVE THEM CAPABILITIES
FOR DOING THINGS THAT THEY WERE FORMERLY INCAPABLE OF DOING, then the
character of everything in the universe has been modified. (Unless, of
course, you propose that atoms and molecules out there are qualitatively
different from atoms and molecules here. THAT difference, however, would be
very evident spectroscopically.) >>
OK. On November 10 I wrote, <<Perhaps I can clarify my position by adopting
your terminology. Let me say then that what divine action adds is *new
formational capabilities* to creation. >> I should not have done that. So
I will back off that terminology since you rightly criticize my use of it.
Let me try this: In my position atoms and molecules are ORGANIZED
differently in relation to each other, into more complex arrangements, in a
living cell than they were in the prebiotic universe, (for instance, in a
star); not that their chemical and physical properties are modified to make
living cells. Their RELATIONSHIPS were thus modified, not the inherent
chemical properties of the atoms themselves.
The result of this new organization is the living organism, about which
Harold says, "Moreover living things (unlike non-living ones) are clearly
endowed with purpose, directed toward survival and reproduction of their own
kind. This property, called telenomy … distinguishes living things (and
their artifacts, such as our machines) from all other objects and systems in
the universe and tells us plainly that we must look beyond physics and for
understanding." (_A Study of Bionergetics_, p. 24). Harold's terminology
is interesting--endowed, purpose, survival, reproduction, telenomy. He then
goes on to say that this is brought about by "evolutionary design," of all
things. That he would use the word evolution is to be expected. That he
would add design is not.
Your way of depicting God for my position makes God look like a heavy-handed
bully -- "coercive intervention" an "overpowering agent" and "imposing new
configurations by a divine Aritificer," a "fully interventionist model." As
if creation was at odds with God and God had to use extreme measures to do
anything new with it.
I do not accept such descriptions for my position. In the idea of staged
development God bides his time until "the fullness of time" has come,
introduces new organization when the creation was ready to sustain it,
builds greater complexity on what is already developed.
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