God acting in creation #4+++

From: Peter Ruest (pruest@pop.mysunrise.ch)
Date: Fri Dec 21 2001 - 12:34:40 EST

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    george murphy wrote:
    > Peter Ruest wrote:
    > > george murphy wrote (in response to David Campbell):
    > > > Peter's model doesn't involve the possibility for a new type of
    > > > organization but merely the realization of a situation that we might
    > > > have expected, on statistical grounds, not to have happened for a much
    > > > longer time.
    > >
    > > You are right, the organization we find in living things conforms to the
    > > basic physical laws. But it doesn't conform to physical structures we
    > > are entitled to expect to spontaneously arise. How much longer is the
    > > "longer time" you suggest? Are you ready for severalfold exponentiation
    > > (10^(10^(10^...(...^10)...)) years)? I don't think we get around a
    > > miraculous infusion of information.
    > >
    > > > With your second example, the question would be whether or not
    > > > the first cell could have come about in accord with the laws of
    > > > physics prior to its appearance. If so, its creation ex nihilo was
    > > > unnecessary. If not, then something has happened that cannot be
    > > > explained by the laws of physics.
    > >
    > > Could something that cannot be explained by the laws of physics (e.g.
    > > due to a configurational space allowing a transastronomical number of
    > > different paths) nevertheless be in accordance with the laws of physics?
    >
    > Peter -
    > Much of my concern here has to do with the number of highly
    > improbable events that are called for. (Mea culpa, I failed to
    > respond to an earlier post of yours on this.) There can be no
    > fundamental objection to the idea, e.g., that God acted through some
    > extremely improbable phenomena to bring about the first life on earth,
    > a point I noted in an article in PSCF (45.3, 1993, p.162) some time
    > ago.
    > But when a large number of highly improbable things are called
    > for then I think of a statement made by C.S. Lewis in comparing Malory
    > with other Arthurian literature: "One magician is better than two
    > magicians." When this is applied to theology it suggests that there
    > is something lacking in style for a theologian to require a number of
    > phenomena that are outside the ordinary pattern of the world. I
    > freely confess that this is a question of taste, of theological
    > aesthetics if you will, & de gustibus non disputandum.
    >
    George,
    I understand your hesitation to accept a solution which you feel is less
    than elegant - and I am certainly not proposing "two magicians". But
    what we are looking for is a possible solution to the information
    problem. Howard's fully capable creational economy looks quite elegant,
    but it doesn't tell us anything useful for finding out how God might
    create. It is a blank theological formula which I feel is scientifically
    preposterous, because it implies that transastronomical amounts of
    information are stored for some 10 billion years in literally nothing,
    with God doing nothing any more.

    On the other hand - having God provide huge amounts of information when
    and where needed doesn't strike me as very inelegant. Doesn't Scripture
    tell us He creates [bara'] individual human beings (Is. 43:7), who are
    fathered and borne by natural procreation? Ps. 139:13 gives a similar
    idea, and v.16 includes the individual's life history. What does God do
    here? Nothing? In scientific language, an individual's personality and
    life history is conditioned by his or her genome, some as yet poorly
    understood epigenetics, and many even less well understood aspects of
    the environment, whereas theological language adds God's providence. If
    God is responsible for an individual's personality (not sin, of course),
    wouldn't it be by means of some kind of (non-coercive, not violating any
    physical law) hidden intervention in a huge number of details like
    selecting, during meiosis, whether gene xyz of the ovum-to-be comes from
    the mother's or the father's side, or letting a C-14 atom decay near a
    given cytidylic residue at a given moment, etc.? No highly improbable
    elementary events need be implied, the improbability arising from the
    large number of bifurcation events composing the influence in question,
    be it in the creation of an individual human being, or in the evolution
    of a novel functionality.

    Peter

    -- 
    Dr Peter Ruest, <pruest@dplanet.ch>
    CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
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    Creative providence in biology (Gen.2:3):
    "..the work which God created (in order) to (actively) evolve it"
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