Re: [asa] Are TE and ID Really That Far Apart?

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 13:14:14 EDT

George C. said: If I invite a robot that can go out and build to the
highest standard a house with complete independence, am I the lesser for it
because I didn't show up with nails in mouth? This doesn't mean I'm not
watching from a distance, nor does it mean I might not visit on occasion.

I respond: I think there's a problem with your hypo in that the robot can't
really build with "complete independence" if you've programmed into it the
capability to build a house, which would have to include lots of "front
loaded" knowledge about house building, the "standards" you mention, and so
on.

If you in fact design into the robot all those capabilities, and the design
necessarily includes some "imperfections," then I don't think you get "off
the hook" for those imperfections just because the robot does the physical
work. And it's easy to see how even a house built to "the highest
standards" will have possible imperfections. Even the best-constructed
house, for example, has to use building materials such as wood which can
catch fire, degrade over time, include surfaces on which people can bang
their heads, etc. The physical universe, practical cost and time
constraints, and so on, mean the "best" design cannot be perfectly safe.

Instead, let's assume you create a very basic robot with the capacity to
learn, but you set no parameters as to what it will learn or how it will
employ its knowledge. Let's say the robot then independently decides to
build a house, learns the necessary skills, and finishes the construction.
Perhaps then you can argue that you're "off the hook" for any dangers in the
house design, though even here you're arguably culpable for releasing the
free-thinking robot into the world in the first place. But I think this
pushes the analogy too far into the territory of open theism. I'm not sure
the person who releases a completely autonomous creating robot is really
analogous to the sovereign creator God of the Hebrew and Christian
scriptures.

So, open theism-type models seem to help with some theodicy problems, but
they do so (it seems to me) at the expense of an adequate conception of God.

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM, George Cooper <georgecooper@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

> Hi Dave,
>
> [Dave: But then you have a God who isn't sovereign over His creation,
> which trades a theodicy problem for an even bigger one.]
> If I invite a robot that can go out and build to the highest standard a
> house with complete independence, am I the lesser for it because I didn't
> show up with nails in mouth? This doesn't mean I'm not watching from a
> distance, nor does it mean I might not visit on occasion.
>
> [Dick: I'll stick with natural causation without divine interference,
> thank you. That way I can swat them without feeling I'm squashing a
> divinely "designed" creature.]
> That's a dandy! :)
>
> George C
>
>
>
> >
> > Dick Fischer, author, lecturer
> >
> > Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
> >
> > www.historicalgenesis.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> > Behalf Of Nucacids
> > Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 12:13 AM
> > To: asa@calvin.edu
> > Subject: Re: [asa] Are TE and ID Really That Far Apart?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > TE and ID are far apart when ID is proposed as a substitute for
> > evolution.
> >
> > However, both ID and evolution can co-exist, where evolution has, in
> > some
> >
> > way, been shaped by design.
> >
> >
> >
> > -Mike
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> >
> > From: "Rich Blinne" <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
> >
> > To: "David Opderbeck" <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
> >
> > Cc: "asa" <asa@calvin.edu>
> >
> > Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:18 PM
> >
> > Subject: [asa] Are TE and ID Really That Far Apart?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > >
> >
> > > On Apr 23, 2008, at 5:52 PM, David Opderbeck wrote:
> >
> > >
> >
> > >> I really enjoy Stephen Barr's work and he's a very interesting guy.
> >
> > >> Query though: is cosmological design really not a form of "ID"? It
> >
> > >> seems to me that many people who find cosmological design arguments
> >
> > >> potentially helpful are put off of biological design arguments because
> >
> >
> > >> of the overstatement, politicization, etc. of the "ID movement" --
> >
> > >> myself included. So making a distinction between cosmological and
> >
> > >> biological ID is almost more of a necessary difference in politics,
> >
> > >> style, and emphasis.
> >
> > >>
> >
> > >>
> >
> > >
> >
> > > Absolutely correct, David. I'll strengthen your point. Both are design
> >
> >
> > > arguments. They have the same form and have the same substance. In
> >
> > > addition to that both have roughly the same concept of evolution. Dembski
> >
> >
> > > saying TE could be OK at the Messiah 2005 debate. Behe holds to
> > common
> >
> > > descent and natural selection. The one difference on so- called random
> >
> >
> > > mutation could be lessened if ID understood what is meant by us by
> > random
> >
> > > and by focusing on the non-randomness of the evolutionary process. By
> >
> >
> > > this I mean that evolution is random in the same sense that our
> > children
> >
> > > are male or female randomly or to use the Biblical example the random
> > bow
> >
> > > shot that killed Ahab. I'll spare the rest of the rehash of concursus
> >
> >
> > > divinitatis. BTW, I liked your discussion on analogia entis but that
> > just
> >
> > > proves that I am Reformed and George is Lutheran. :-)
> >
> > >
> >
> > > It seems to me that ID's problem is its own little form of scientism.
> >
> > > Perhaps they cannot seem to identify the designer because of the issues
> >
> >
> > > that you as a lawyer have brought out previously. The other reason
> > that I
> >
> > > have heard specifically stated is they think it makes them sound more
> >
> >
> > > reasonable when it does the exact opposite. I have absolutely no
> > problem
> >
> > > that my kind of ID is not scientific and that my intent is to provide
> >
> >
> > > evidence for the Christian God. Again, as you have noted earlier
> > science
> >
> > > isn't more objective than other kinds of truth. It just uses a
> > process
> >
> > > that deals with our inherent subjectivity by having the checks and
> >
> > > balances of peer review and testing hypotheses physically. Thanks for
> > the
> >
> > > heads up today on their journal which hasn't published anything in
> > years.
> >
> > > If the scientific elite truly were suppressing the truth or
> > demarcating
> >
> > > it into oblivion then this journal provides a way to get their
> > vaunted
> >
> > > research program out. But, there is no research program even though
> >
> > > Philip Johnson promised not to move on to getting ID into the schools
> >
> >
> > > until they had real science to be taught. I believe -- correct me if
> > I
> >
> > > am wrong -- that it should be able to be taught in a philosophy class
> > or
> >
> > > the like in a survey style -- much like comparative religions. Now,
> > they
> >
> > > seem to think that this is inferior or more likely they perceive that
> >
> >
> > > *we* think it is inferior. At least for me, this is not true. Just
> >
> > > because I believe that ID is not science does not imply I believe ID
> > is
> >
> > > not true (although some of the arguments are really, really bogus.)
> >
> > > Furthermore, ID is better classified as philosophy anyway. What
> >
> > > biological ID went through does serve as a cautionary tale for us when
> > we
> >
> > > use a cosmological ID argument which in my opinion is the strongest arrow
> >
> >
> > > in their quiver. Nevertheless, as George has noted the "many worlds"
> >
> > > hypothesis for quantum physics and multiverses in general still are
> > out
> >
> > > there as legitimate possibilities. Any of these arguments should be
> > more
> >
> > > confirmatory rather than as a freestanding "proof".
> >
> > >
> >
> > > I really don't understand why we cannot talk about philosophy and
> >
> > > theology. As your legal analysis has shown I see very little chance ID,
> >
> >
> > > or "teaching the controversy", or whatever the strategy du jour is ever
> >
> >
> > > getting in the schools. Given that, why not show our colors? But, this
> >
> >
> > > cannot happen as shown when both of us got booted from Uncommon Descent.
> >
> >
> > > Or, that theology was off the table at Messiah '05.
> >
> > >
> >
> > > I do have an idea for their research program. Show how the evolutionary
> >
> >
> > > process is not random, not how it cannot happen. We can give them
> > help
> >
> > > here. This could be like the '95 Behe/Miller debate in reverse where
> > Behe
> >
> > > showed that Miller's textbook claimed purposeless evolution and
> > Miller
> >
> > > knowing that evolution is not random in the popular sense fixed the
> >
> > > error. It came back to bite him in the Dover trial where the old
> > version
> >
> > > was being used and Miller pointed to the new version. If the heart of
> > the
> >
> > > problem ID has is a random, purposeless, evolution, then we are here
> > to
> >
> > > help show how current, mainstream, evolutionary theory shows
> > otherwise.
> >
> > > It would require them to risk getting "expelled" by their YEC allies,
> >
> >
> > > though.
> >
> > >
> >
> > > Rich Blinne
> >
> > > Member ASA
> >
> > >
> >
> > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> >
> > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >
> > >
> >
> > >
> >
> > >
> >
> > > --
> >
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> >
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> >
> > > Date: 4/24/2008 7:24 AM
> >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> >
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> >
>
>
>
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
>
>

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Apr 27 13:15:32 2008

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