Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri Oct 14 2005 - 17:39:08 EDT

On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 15:41:28 -0400 "George Murphy" <>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Chris Barden" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 10:56 AM
> Subject: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?
> > Hi everyone,
> >
> > I have been thinking a lot lately about the philosophical issue
> that
> > drives ID backlash to TE, specifically Johnson's equation of TE
> with
> > naturalism and practical atheism. This position, as I see it, is
> a
> > refusal to accept secondary causes as sufficient for God's
> activity
> > and is often portrayed as "God of the Gaps", though it need not be
> so
> > formulated.
> I think this is correct, & there's another nuance. It's certainly
> been part
> of traditional doctrines of providence to say that on rare occasions
> God
> acts directly rather than through second causes. I don't think
> there's any
> compelling reason to say that such miraculous acts are needed in the
> evolutionary process but let's grant for the sake of argument that
> they
> are - e.g., for the origin of life. But then you just have to say
> "It's a
> miracle" and not pretend that you can investigate it scientifically,
> because
> we can't subject God to experimental testing. The IDers want to
> have it
> both way - to say that some phenomena are due to direct divine
> action AND to
> make that part of a scientific theory. As far as incorporation into
> science
> is concerned, a miracle in that sense can at most be a boundary
> condition
> (temporal &/or spatial) which can't otherwise be explained.
> Shalom
> George
Proverbs 16:33, referring to chance, ascribes the result to God. But
there is no empirical way to determine that the outcome was affected by
divine power. Similarly, discovering that a species has the change or
deletion of base 123 rather than one of its neighbors looks like chance
empirically, though we have faith that God is providentially in control.
There are transformations that we are confident were God's direcxt
involvement, miracles like the virgin birth, the wine at Cana, Lazarus'
resurrection. But I have to connect them to attestation of a special
message rather than to the usual providential order. There is currently a
popular claim that life is too complicated to have arisen by natural
means. This claims that we now know so much about natural processes that
we know that no future discovery can ever explain the initiation of life.
This is silly. I'm old enough to recall the zo prof talking about all the
events in embryology that had to go on simultaneously and in a precise
order to produce the fetus from a single cell, and for the how rolling
his eyes up and saying, God." Now we know a great deal about the
sequential activation of genes, the vast number of proteins produced at
the right time, the controls on the whole process, and more and more
information is being pryed out. But this does not mean that God is less
involved in a conception today than decades or centuries ago. But this
last is not a scientific matter. The Christian viewpoint is that God is
as much in what we understand as in what we don't understand. But this is
theology and philosophy.

There is a vast difference between viewing agelong development and
saying, "I don't know how this could have happened naturally," or "There
is no way this could have happened naturally." The one recognizes human
fallibility. The other manifests stupid pride, usually with the tacit
addition, "I'm right."
Received on Fri Oct 14 18:10:05 2005

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