Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Aug 07 2007 - 14:01:28 EDT

Dear Vernon,

On 8/6/07, Vernon Jenkins <vernon.jenkins@virgin.net> wrote:
>
> Iain,
>
> You write,
>
> As a matter of fact, a few years back when I first came across your
> findings, I DID present them to an atheist colleague. They had precisely no
> effect. He argued that
>
> (1) Human beings are good at spotting patterns even in random sequences.
> (2) Even given the sequence is deliberate, it could have been achieved
> (in his opinion) by a genius working on the first sentence for 20 years.
>
> (Both of these arguments have been presented, in one form or other on this
> list. While I don't agree with that, it seems to me that all you do in
> response to it is to tell everyone how wicked they are, which really doesn't
> help your case at all).
>
> I believe it to be well within your capabilities now to counter such
> arguments effectively. You've recently had opportunities to do so and,
> presumably, these still exist. How about it!?
>

As you are well aware, I've often in the past countered this kind of
argument on this list, to no avail. I would remind you that I did my very
best as a scientist to show that the patterns you found could not be
attributed to chance, or "seeing patterns in randomness". I used what I
know of Kolmogorov complexity to attempt to show that your findings could be
validated as a genuine phenomenon. Your response (whether this was on or
off list, I can't remember) was to CRITICIZE me for using the Kolmogorov
complexity arguments, as if somehow I was trying to undermine your position
by it instead of to justify it!! I don't think you realise just how much
hurt and resentment this caused. As a result, I have desisted from giving
you any support on this forum, because frankly you don't deserve it. If you
bite the hand that feeds you, then the hand isn't going to be there anymore.

I would have thought that reminding _everyone_ how wicked we all are was an
> essential preliminary to introducing the _Good News_ of the Gospel! Are you
> not of this mind?
>

Yes, but Vernon, you do this ON THIS LIST, which I might remind you consists
in the overwhelming majority of Christians - all who have already accepted
the gospel and accepted their sinfulness before God. To then berate them as
being wicked and sinful just because they won't take any notice of your
findings, is in my view an absolutely appalling way to behave, and you
should be ashamed of yourself for doing so.

Now, as you are well aware, I've had several rows with Michael Roberts about
the way he makes rude and dismissive comments about the numerical findings.
But when Michael complains that you are being all "high and mighty", then I
am in full support of him. I think it is you who needs to learn a little
humility in this respect. (Make that a lot).

And then you say,
>
> When I first wrote to you concerning your website, I asked you what it was
> FOR. (The numerical patternings). The overwhelming evidence, given the
> responses you have received from people on the list, and those I got from my
> colleague, I see that there is little point in presenting the findings
> (fascinating and an unresolved mystery though they are) to colleagues. It
> would be much better to present them the Gospel. But before even that, we
> have to get through the fact that the most visible thing evangelical
> Christians are doing at the moment is opposing Darwinism, and coming up with
> the most ridiculous pseudo-science to justify it. That gets in the way of
> the Gospel.
> Let me deal with your last point first. Something I touched on in my
> first entry to this thread was to express the need for a proper
> understanding of Satan's role in the Divine Economy - and hence, by
> association, in the unfolding of human history. As I see it, you believe
> science is to be viewed completelyin terms of Methodological Naturalism; in
> other words, any suggestion of supernatural interference is to be stoutly
> resisted - even by a Christian like yourself.
>

You miss the point entirely. I'm not in a position to say that supernatural
influence is to be ignored. I can't be - I've even witnessed a miracle of
healing happen right before my eyes. What I (and everyone else) has said is
that such things are BEYOND THE SCOPE OF SCIENCE). In other words, you
can't use science to prove the supernatural.

>
>
> "3) The pattern is deliberate and is intentional Divine action for
> some purpose. "
>
> I have suggested what that purpose is. Have you a better suggestion (or
> any)?
>

I don't believe we have an answer there - I'm still of the opinion that an
answer should be sought. But I'm sure it's not to be that you use it to
berate other Christians for a peceived lack of faith.

If you really think it's an apologetic tool, stop trying to get people on
this list, who are already saved, to respond to the findings. Go and
subscribe to some atheist forums like internet infidels, or
richarddawkins.net, and post your findings to them & see how far you get.

I suggest you won't get any further than you have here. This is why I think
we don't yet have the answer as to the purpose of the phenomenon. Let me
explain why you won't get very far. Your research caught my eye because I
am one of those very strange people who think numbers are interesting per
se. When I was six years old I was thrilled one day to spot a bus with the
number 171 because it shared a pattern with the number of the bus my Mum
took me on every day, a 232, ie. the number read the same backwards as
forwards. But the fact is that most people, be they scientists or
engineers, would not derive the slightest interest from this pattern. Most
people are not like me, and have a utilitarian approach to numbers - the
numbers are there to give you a good idea of quantity, and whether they are
primes, triangulars, squares, fibonacci numbers or whatever are a big "so
what?".

The number of people who are sufficiently interested in these esoteric
properties of numbers is so small that your findings are going to have
absolutely no effect on anyone. That is why I think that if there is a
Divine intent behind the patterns, that it's not the one you seem to think
it is, because 99.9% of people couldn't care less whether a number is
triangular or not. What concept is easier to grasp - that Jesus died and
stood in our place in taking the penalty for our sins, or that 2701 is the
73rd Triangular number? Which is more meaningful to 99.9% of people?

Iain

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Received on Tue Aug 7 14:02:48 2007

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