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

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 17:00:31 EDT

Jim -- I agree 100%. This is why I think "flawed nature" / theodicy
arguments aren't good arguments against design (whether ID type design, or
the "soft" design of TE).

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 4:23 PM, Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net> wrote:

> I don't have time at the moment to elaborate much on this notion, but
> let's talk about imperfections for a moment. FWIW, I've come to the
> conclusions that the "imperfections" you speak of are part and parcel of the
> ultimate robustness of the universe we inhabit. It seems that for most every
> strength one can mention, there is a certain element of fragility that is
> intrinisic to the "system" (for lack of a better term just now) that
> ultimately serves to advance the greater system of which it is a part. Just
> to name a couple of examples, DNA is like that. It is robust, and yet a
> certain susceptibility to damage and/or alteration is the very instrument of
> change that feeds the processes of mutation and subsequent natural (or
> other) selection. Without that intrinsic fragility, we would perhaps be
> merely clones of one another.
>
> Granite is robust, yet has a slight susceptibility to the subtle but
> unrelenting decomposing influences of wind, rain, and temperature variation
> - without which we would not in time have soil and such.
>
> Changing genres a bit, love has great consequence, but is not itself an
> influence of raw power, embodying a certain type of weakness. Scripture
> records many unlikely people called out to do the extraordinary, yet
> characterized by certain very recognizable human flaws. Strong organizations
> must retain flexibility. Etc., etc. One cannot possess the woner of free
> will without the potential for deviation from "the optimal plan".
>
> If you ponder this intriguing pairing of strength and susceptibility, more
> instances will occur to you from time to time. Accordingly, my sense is that
> incorporation of "susceptibilities" or "imperfections" is a primary design
> constitutent, one whose presence may be noted at all scales of existence in
> our universe, and without which the universe would not operate as we know
> it.
>
> I am reminded of a Jewish Rabbi who observed that there must be multiple
> layers to all of the major stories of Scripture, else the writers would have
> left us better stories. Only in this case, there must be importance to
> weakness or "imperfections", or they would be absent.
>
> Or so it seemeth to me......
>
> JimA [Friend of ASA]
>
>
> David Opderbeck wrote:
>
> 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
> > >
> > > >
> > >
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> > >
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> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > > --
> > >
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> > > > Date: 4/24/2008 7:24 AM
> > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
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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.
>

-- 
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 17:01:38 2008

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