Re: [asa] Four myths about I.D.; four myths about T.E.

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Jul 02 2008 - 13:42:39 EDT

On Jul 2, 2008, at 10:08 AM, Collin R Brendemuehl wrote:

> I'm not suggesting that all are determinists.
> All I'm suggesting is that *some* science is heading in the wrong
> direction.
> It seems a strange coincidence that, for the last 200 years or so,
> much of both theology and naturalism has ended up with a form of
> determinism.
> It seems adequate to say that a theory which produces nothing might
> be, at minimum, malformed.

Determinism per se is not a science stopper, cf. Jonathan Edwards'
studies of the balloon spider as a youth. It's the design hypothesis
that is the science stopper and as we shall see in a moment a theism
stopper. During the time of Isaac Newton there was a problem known as
the stability problem. Namely the planets if given enough time would
apparently crash into the Sun. Devout scientists responded in ways not
unlike we do now. Euler used this as "proof" that the Universe did not
last forever. Newton claimed "Goddidit" and periodically fixed the
orbits. That was the end of it, they didn't look into the "problem"
for a whole century from Newton's Principia (1687) to LaPlace's
Celestial Mechanics (1799). Thus, science stops. Some also think that
this delayed considering the great age of the Universe. It was only in
1779 that Comte de Buffon speculated that the Earth might have been as
old as 75,000 years, and not until 1785, after the stability
demonstrations of LaGrange and LaPlace, does the Scottish geologist
James Hutton sugest the Earth might be even older than that, perhaps
millions of years older.

Consider this quote from Stephen C. Meyer! Yes, that Stephen C. Meyer.

> In 1799, the physicist Pierre Laplace presented copies of his
> Treatise on Celestial Mechanics to the new French Emperor, Napoleon
> Bonaparte. In it, Laplace sought to explain the origin of the solar
> system not as the product of divine design, as Isaac Newton had
> done, but as the result of purely natural gravitational forces. When
> Napoleon eventually summoned Laplace to discuss the Treatise in
> 1802, he asked Laplace directly about the role of God in his theory.
> Newton spoke of God in his book, said Napoleon. I have perused
> yours, but failed to find his name mentioned even once. Why? Laplace
> reportedly issued the now famous reply: Sire, I had no need of that
> hypothesis (cited in Kaiser 1991: 267). While many historians are
> uncertain about the factual status of this conversation, few dispute
> that it accurately depicts Laplaces attitude about the God
> hypothesis, or that it accurately expresses a change in
> philosophical attitude that occurred among many scientists during
> the nineteenth century. Indeed, the publication of Laplaces Treatise
> and its fully naturalistic account of celestial origins came just
> as Western philosophy of science began to turn from its long-
> established theistic orientation.

LaPlace, LaGrange, Hutton, and Lyell all predated Darwin. But, we
already see the undermining of theism because devout scientists either
posited proto-YEC (Euler) or proto-ID (Newton). When both of them were
proven wrong not only did their scientific theories concerning the
instability of the Solar System go by the wayside so did their faith.
The danger of the late 18th Century is the same in the early 21st.
There are plenty of scientists who are not ID proponents that can
allow for science to progress (cf. my previous Google searches). So,
in a certain sense being a "science stopper" is not a big deal. I
believe we all agree, however, being a "theism stopper" is a different
matter altogether.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Wed Jul 2 13:43:09 2008

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