Re: Wonder! Evolutionary rate

From: Jim Armstrong (jarmstro@qwest.net)
Date: Fri May 09 2003 - 11:39:29 EDT

  • Next message: Alexanian, Moorad: "RE: Evolutionary rate"

    Nicely put! Doesn't seem illogical at all.
    Jim Armstrong

    Debbie Mann wrote:

    >I was reading a Scientific American article about feathers on dinosaurs and
    >how they really weren't needed. I read something on the e-mail on parallel
    >processing (I'm in heavy duty work mode, now, so I'm mostly scanning
    >things.) But, in spite of the fact that I was reading evidence to the
    >contrary and I had no time, I was still struck with a moment of awe. It's
    >something along the line of when one sees a new baby. These things didn't
    >exist before and now they do. These feathers with all their intricacies,
    >their hard parts and their soft parts and their branches and swirls, soft on
    >the belly and tough on the back - didn't exist before and then they did. It
    >is awesome, and therefore, my self - whether it is soul or spirit or
    >intellect I cannot say - but my heart says that it is divine.
    >
    >How's that for illogic for ya?
    >
    >
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu]On
    >Behalf Of George Murphy
    >Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 8:15 AM
    >To: Howard J. Van Till
    >Cc: Jim Armstrong; Joel Peter Anderson; asa@calvin.edu
    >Subject: Re: Evolutionary rate
    >
    >
    >Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> I don't understand why you say "non-miraculous." ID requires the
    >>>
    >>>
    >Intelligent
    >
    >
    >>>Designer to do things which cannot be accomplished through God's
    >>>
    >>>
    >ordinary
    >
    >
    >>>providential
    >>>action through natural processes. (Or, which would occur with
    >>>
    >>>
    >negligible
    >
    >
    >>>probability.)
    >>>Such things should certainly be considered "miraculous" (though they are
    >>>not the only
    >>>things that might be described in this way).
    >>> One of the problems with ID is its insistence that the creation of life
    >>>
    >>>
    >must
    >
    >
    >>>have been, in this sense, a miracle - a claim for which there is no
    >>>theological warrant.
    >>>In fact, it contrasts with the idea of mediated creation in Genesis 1.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>Well said, George. I heartily agree.
    >>
    >>I include the category "non-miraculous" in the list, not because I believe
    >>it, but because Dembski claims it. The following is taken from my response
    >>to Dembski in our exchange on the AAAS web-site:
    >>
    >>****************************************************************
    >>
    >>3. Does Dembskišs ID hypothesis posit miracles?
    >>
    >>I had argued that the acts of intelligent design posited by Dembski seem
    >>indistinguishable from miracles. Dembski vigorously objects to the
    >>suggestion that ID entails miracles. His objection is based on the fine
    >>distinction between events that are naturally impossible and those that
    >>
    >>
    >are
    >
    >
    >>merely exceptionally improbable. Dembski asserts that "miracles or
    >>supernatural interventions in the classical sense" belong in the category
    >>"counterfactual substitutions" -- occasions in which some naturally
    >>
    >>
    >possible
    >
    >
    >>outcome is, by divine action, replaced by a naturally impossible one.
    >>Dembski argues that the designeršs form-conferring action that results in
    >>the formation of biotic structures like the bacterial flagellum is not, in
    >>the strict sense, a naturally impossible outcome, only an extraordinarily
    >>improbable one.
    >>
    >>I offer two comments in response: (1) I do not for a moment believe that
    >>theologians are agreed that all divine acts traditionally taken to
    >>constitute "miracles or supernatural interventions" can be placed in
    >>Dembskišs narrowly defined category of "counterfactual substitutions." (2)
    >>The thrust of Dembskišs appeal to the bacterial flagellum is to argue that
    >>it could not possibly have been formed by natural processes alone. He
    >>
    >>
    >argues
    >
    >
    >>explicitly that the probability that the flagellum formed as the outcome
    >>
    >>
    >of
    >
    >
    >>natural processes is so astoundingly low that the ID hypothesis (that the
    >>flagellum was formed in a way that required the form-conferring action of
    >>
    >>
    >an
    >
    >
    >>unidentified and unembodied choice-making agent) is the only viable
    >>explanation. Consequently, for Dembski to hang his rejection of the label
    >>"miracle or supernatural intervention" for this action on the delicate
    >>distinction between "naturally impossible" and "possible but so
    >>
    >>
    >astoundingly
    >
    >
    >>improbable as to conclusively preclude natural formation" strikes me as
    >>
    >>
    >the
    >
    >
    >>rhetorical equivalent of attempting to hang a 300-pound painting on the
    >>
    >>
    >wall
    >
    >
    >>with a tailoršs pin.
    >>
    >>
    >
    >Howard (& Ted) -
    > Thanks. I guess I need to replace the battery on my irony meter.
    > Further comment 1: Dembski's claim is OK _if_ one restricts the definition
    >of
    >"miracle" to events which are completely beyond the capacity of created
    >agents, even
    >with divine cooperation. But that is far too restrictive. & as you note,
    >it's kind of
    >perverse to say on the one hand that the origin of biological information
    >through
    >natural processes is "possible" even though it would take (according to ID
    >claims)
    >10^(big number) years for there to be any reasonable probability of it
    >happening, & then
    >to say that it's "impossible" without the intervention of the Intelligent
    >Designer
    >_because_ it would 10^(big number) years for there to be any reasonable
    >probability of
    >it happening!
    > Further comment 2: The baneful effects of the notion that the origin of
    >life
    >must be miraculous (however terms are fudged) can be illustrated by the
    >interview with
    >Francis Crick reported on in the recenbt ASA newsletter. He says that one
    >of the
    >reasons he went into science was to help to discredit claims used to support
    >religion,
    >including the belief that "the difference between living and non-living
    >things" was
    >"inexplicable." Of course one doesn't expect profound theology from Crick,
    >but
    >Christians who promote such notions continue - as I've said before - to
    >insist on
    >hanging a large "Kick Me" sign on the back of Christianity.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    >
    >
    >George L. Murphy
    >gmurphy@raex.com
    >http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >



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