Re: God acting in creation #4+++

From: george murphy (
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 16:56:38 EST

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    Peter Ruest wrote:

    > george murphy wrote:
    > > Peter Ruest wrote:
    > > > 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.
    > >
    > > This is not an accurate statement of either my view or (I think)
    > > Howard's. I certainly wouldn't say that "God [is] doing nothing anymore" but
    > > that God is acting within the limits of the patterns characterizing natural
    > > processes. This need not mean that all the information was stored somewhere
    > > in the first seconds of the universe. We don't understand how the requisite
    > > information can be generated by natural processes but that points to a need for
    > > better scientific understanding rather than an appeal to direct divine action,
    > > which would be a classic example of a God of the gaps argument.
    > Let me quote from my PSCF communication (Vol.53, Nr.3 (Sept.2001),
    > pp.179-183): "Van Till's view necessarily implies that most of the
    > information required for the structures and functions in the biosphere,
    > including humanity, was either contained in the energy, strings, plasma,
    > or whatever of the early big bang - and in the prebiotic universe ever
    > since, or that it emerged by self-organization out of nothing - which is
    > what is usually claimed. From what is known in the biological sciences,
    > it appears preposterous to believe in either possibility. Curiously, Van
    > Till seems to prefer the first version, explicitly including 'biological
    > systems' among the 'basic entities' which God 'from the beginning, when
    > the creation was brought into being from nothing,' gifted with all of
    > the capacities needed (H.J. Van Till, Special Creationism in Designer
    > Clothing: A Response to 'The Creation Hypothesis', PSCF 47 (1995):
    > 123)." Apparently, you prefer the second version.

            Howard of course must speak for himself. The description of my position as
    "emergence of information out of nothing" makes it sound bizarre but in fact, pace
    Dembski, there is no "law of conservation of information" so "emergence of information
    out of nothing" does not parallel something like "emergence of energy-momentum out of
            & the basic point I was making in my last post was that, whatever (presently
    ill-understood) processes may generate the information in biological systems, they
    take place through and because of divine cooperation.

    Of course, my (third)version does not represent a scientific theory (just as there is

    > scientific theory for the first or second versions), but metaphysical
    > speculation (like the first and second versions). As the third version

    > implies "hidden" options, it does not represent a god-of-the-gaps
    > argument and cannot be used as such. But as the whole issue is clearly
    > metaphysical (in all three versions), aren't we entitled to some
    > speculation? Aren't christians entitled to some attempts at harmonizing
    > scientific and biblical data in a metaphysical complementarity model?

            Fine. The idea of divine action at the quantum level is certainly legitimate
    but it does have some problems, as I've argued previously.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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