RE: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Denyse O'Leary <>
Date: Fri Sep 30 2005 - 10:26:52 EDT

Ted, just this: Special creation is special creation. It may not be special
divine creation - that's another story.

But if/when scientists can create life forms from scratch in a laboratory,
they will demonstrate that special creation can definitely occur without
divine intervention.

Special creation will then be a fact, not an argument.

If scientists arrive at the point where they decide that special creation,
like ftl time travel, quantum freezing of large objects, or the calculations
of LaPlace's demon, is not practically possible in this universe, that would
be evidence for a divine origin of life.

I think you are not giving enough credit to the contribution that humans, as
intelligent designers, can make to the question, by ruling various
possibilities in or out.

Cheers, Denyse

Read brief excerpts from my book, By Design or by Chance?: The Growing
Controversy On the Origins of Life in the Universe (Augsburg Fortress, 2004)
Study Guide:
My blog: 
(go to other blogs from here)
Denyse O'Leary
Tel: 416 485-2392
Fax: 416 485-2392
-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Davis [] 
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 10:05 AM
Subject: RE: It's the Bible or evolution
>>> "Denyse O'Leary" <> 09/30/05 9:50 AM >>>has it
backwards.  Here is what she writes:
Actually, Ted, special creation is quite testable. 
Scientists could try making a life form from scratch. 
If they succeed, that's special creation.
I expect some day it will happen. 
(Whether it's a good thing is another matter. Commercialized, it could be a
ruddy disaster.
The problem then becomes, did God do it that way?
Who knows? 
What's not testable is whether God did it that way, rather than whether it
can happen.
Ted points out:
Denyse, special creation has specific historical meanings that can't be
ignored here.  Something that humans can do with our own intelligence and
materials has never counted as special creation.  Special creation, as I
think you know, has always been linked with divine creative activity of an
unprecedented nature, often called "creatio ex nihilo" (something in which I
believe, incidentally).  The whole point of special creation is that we
cannot do it ourselves, and "nature" cannot do it "on its own."  (This is
starting to sound like some aspects of ID, and that's why Ken Miller made
the point he did in court Monday.)  
The only thing science is capable of finding out, is whether or not the
evidence favors a particular hypothesis of how something happened--that is,
whether or not God did it that way.  That *is* testable, Denyse.  If humans
create life in the laboratory, under conditions that plausibly existed at a
specific point in earth history (and at a relevant point, at least 3 BY ago
not 10 MY ago), then that particular hypothesis can be said to have
empirical support.  But then we would not call it special creation under
ordinary useage of that term.
Now we might fairly say that God still "created" life, using materials and
forces that God had already put into place in the universe that God created,
but we would then have to say that God used chemical evolution to produce
Nothing like this of course has happened and isn't likely in the future. 
I'm fine myself with the assumption that God created some forms of life
using special creation--it's consistent with what we currently know, at
least.  I'm also fine with the alternative outlined above.  When all is said
and done, however, the point is that science can deal only with evidence and
hypotheses that relate to evidence: we call this testability.  
Received on Fri Sep 30 10:26:42 2005

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