Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...

From: William Hamilton <willeugenehamilton@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Jul 07 2008 - 10:27:11 EDT

I'd be interested in what Luther said about this issue. Can you give us a
reference, George? Thanks. I sometimes think that "natural evil" such as
parasitism is the unavoidable consequence of God's working out his plan.
Perhaps something along the lines of "God can't make square circles". But
the claim that God is constrained in any way implies that God is subject to
laws outside of himself. I don't know how to deal with that.

On Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 8:30 AM, George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com> wrote:

> Certainly many aspects of the human condition can be studied by various
> sciences. & certainly sin has played a major role in human history. The
> category "sin" is, however, not applicable before moral agents come on the
> scene.
>
> I don't see why there's much doubt about what's meant by "the grimmer
> aspects of the evolutionary process." The ichneumon wasps eating their way
> out of the paralyzed but living caterpillar is a classic example, not made
> any less grim - in the view of human beings with any sensitivity - by the
> fact that it's part of a well-balanced system. We need to avoid 2 extremes
> of superficial theodicy - the idea beloved of YECs that God couldn't have
> created a world with any suffering & death so that all of that is due to
> human sin & a kind of que sera sera approach where whatever is is good.
> Luther's distinction between God's *opus proprium* and *opus alienum*provides one way of dealing with such issues in a theologically more
> satisfactory way. But of course that is a theological distinction, not one
> of the natural - or of the human or social - sciences.
>
> Shalom
> George
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "PvM" <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
> To: "Alexanian, Moorad" <alexanian@uncw.edu>
> Cc: "George Murphy" <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>; "Murray Hogg" <
> muzhogg@netspace.net.au>; "ASA" <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 12:01 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
>
> > Of course we can ascribe whatever we want to sin, after all this
> > concept seems far more open to theological variation and
> > interpretation.
> > I am not sure what people mean by the grimmer aspects of the
> > evolutionary process. It's all part of a well balanced system we have
> > come to call the eco-system. Science surely can study the origin and
> > evolution of man and woman, as to addressing concepts of sin, what do
> > you think science could contribute or how would we come to ascribe for
> > sure concepts of faith?
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 6, 2008 at 7:57 PM, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
> wrote:
> >> Is man (women, if you like) part of the "tiny part of that design" that
> scientist can grasp within the context of science? Does the "grimmer
> aspects" of the evolutionary process also include man? I suppose you have a
> balancing act of keeping God good and still have the evolutionary process
> carrying on the development of man from lesser forms of life. Can we
> ascribe, for sure, the present state of man and, perhaps, some of the
> history of man to sin?
> >>
> >>
> >> Moorad
> >>
> >> ________________________________
> >>
> >> From: George Murphy [mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com]
> >> Sent: Sun 7/6/2008 5:31 PM
> >> To: Alexanian, Moorad; Murray Hogg; ASA
> >> Subject: Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
> >>
> >>
> >> Of course a Christian who is a scientist should understand that she is
> attempting to understand the work of the creator. A little care is needed
> in saying that she is learning how God carries out God's design for the
> world. 1st, the work of most scientists will grasp only a tiny part of that
> design. (Eccl.3:11 is worth keeping in mind here.) 2d, the grimmer aspects
> the evolutionary process should remind us that some of the things as
> scientist studies may not be God's immediate intention but, so to speak,
> collateral damage attendant upon carrying out the divine design. In more
> theological terms they are God's "alien work" (i.e., foreign to God's nature
> as love) rather than from God's "proper work" (a distinction made by
> Luther).
> >>
> >> Shalom
> >> George
> >> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/> <
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/>>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <alexanian@uncw.edu <
> mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu <alexanian@uncw.edu>> >
> >> To: "George Murphy" <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com <mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com<GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>>
> >; "Murray Hogg" <muzhogg@netspace.net.au <mailto:muzhogg@netspace.net.au<muzhogg@netspace.net.au>>
> >; "ASA" <asa@calvin.edu <mailto:asa@calvin.edu <asa@calvin.edu>> >
> >> Sent: Sunday, July 06, 2008 5:08 PM
> >> Subject: RE: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
> >>
> >>
> >> If a Christian who is a practicing scientist says, the reason I am doing
> (peer-reviewed) scientific studies is to know the works of the Creator. Is
> he off his rock? Is he seeking design in Nature?
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Famous Scientists Who Believed in God <
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/<
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/>
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/<
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/>
> <
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/<
> http://scottdaddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/famous-scientists-who-believed-in-god/>
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Moorad
> >>
> >>
> >> ________________________________
> >>
> >> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu <mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu<asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu>>
> on behalf of George Murphy
> >> Sent: Sun 7/6/2008 4:19 PM
> >> To: Murray Hogg; ASA
> >> Subject: Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> The claim that ID is a "science stopper" need not mean just that its
> >> adherents don't even try to do any science. If all attempts to do
> positive
> >> science within an ID paradigm fail to get anywhere then after a point
> it's
> >> not unreasonable to conclude that that paradigm has prevented any
> progress.
> >> Whether or not such a point has been reached can of course be debated.
> >>
> >> Shalom
> >> George
> >> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/> <
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/ <http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/>>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "Murray Hogg" <muzhogg@netspace.net.au <
> mailto:muzhogg@netspace.net.au <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>> >
> >> To: "ASA" <asa@calvin.edu <mailto:asa@calvin.edu <asa@calvin.edu>> >
> >> Sent: Sunday, July 06, 2008 4:00 PM
> >> Subject: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
> >>
> >>
> >>> Hi Pim,
> >>>
> >>> It doesn't matter much what ID theorists claim, one only has to look at
> >>> their output to determine whether they are content with a simple claim
> of
> >>> ignorance.
> >>>
> >>> Indeed, the quotations you cite from Nelson and Johnson are sufficient
> to
> >>> prove the point: whether one agrees with the science or not, working
> out a
> >>> "fully fledged theory of biological design" would require the same
> level
> >>> of effort as a fully fledged theory of biological evolution.
> >>>
> >>> The issue with Dembski (and other design theorists) is NOT whether they
> >>> have succeeded in demonstrating improbability, the issue is whether
> they
> >>> have ATTEMPTED to go past it. Which they have.
> >>>
> >>> As for the question, "what has Dembski contributed to our understanding
> of
> >>> the bacterial flagellum?"...
> >>>
> >>> You might recall the old story about Edison who, having failed for the
> >>> umpteenth time to find the right "formula" for a lightbulb, was asked
> if
> >>> he was discouraged. His response, "No, I've found one more way how NOT
> to
> >>> do it".
> >>>
> >>> Ask yourself: up to that point, what did Edison's experiments
> contribute
> >>> to our understanding of the lightbulb?
> >>>
> >>> Science is done by, and advances through, even those whose efforts
> fail.
> >>>
> >>> Blessings,
> >>> Murray Hogg
> >>> Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
> >>> Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology
> >>>
> >>> PvM wrote:
> >>>> Since ID is an argument from ignorance, the fact that some IDers have
> >>>> attempted to claim that it isn't should not be seen as a rejection or
> >>>> disproof of the simple fact.
> >>>> The foundation of ID is based on an eliminative approach which is
> >>>> unable to compete with 'we don't know'. ID may claim that it has
> >>>> attempted to go beyond this position of ignorance but until they are
> >>>> willing to constrain the designer, no progress will be made.
> >>>>
> >>>> It should not come as too much of a surprise that even amongst IDers
> >>>> there exists a certain level of disappointment with the lack of much
> >>>> progress
> >>>>
> >>>> Paul Nelson admitted
> >>>>
> >>>> "Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a
> >>>> full-fledged theory of biological design. We don't have such a theory
> >>>> right now, and that's a problem. Without a theory, it's very hard to
> >>>> know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we've got a bag
> >>>> of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as 'irreducible
> >>>> complexity' and 'specified complexity'-but, as yet, no general theory
> >>>> of biological design. "
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Philip Johnson admitted
> >>>>
> >>>> "I also don't think that there is really a theory of intelligent
> >>>> design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to
> >>>> the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a
> >>>> fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that's
> >>>> comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific
> >>>> people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are
> >>>> quite convinced that it's doable, but that's for them to prove...No
> >>>> product is ready for competition in the educational world. "
> >>>>
> >>>> In other words, even though there may be some ID proponents who
> >>>> believe that ID can be developed into a 'theory' or even a non vacuous
> >>>> 'hypothesis' does not mean that this makes ID less vacuous as a
> >>>> science or less of an argument from ignorance. As to ID being a
> >>>> science killer, ask yourself, what has ID contributed to our knowledge
> >>>> about the bacterial flagellum. It were hard working scientists who
> >>>> have started to unravel the origin and evolution of this once
> >>>> 'irreducibly complex' system.
> >>>>
> >>>> Dembski's mathematical analysis of design is nothing more that a
> >>>> carefully reworded argument from improbability where Dembski attempts
> >>>> to circumvent the inherent problems of such an argument with the
> >>>> concept of specification. Ask yourself, what has Dembski contributed
> >>>> to actual scientific understanding? Have you read his 'analysis' of
> >>>> protein formation and how he applies 'mathematics' to further his
> >>>> 'argument'? The problem with ID is that, like its cousin YEC, it has
> >>>> to ignore scientific progress, downplay scientific understanding and
> >>>> undermine science education. None of these can really be seen as
> >>>> contributing to science, science education or scientific
> >>>> understanding.
> >>>> Now, there always exists the possibility that ID could become a
> >>>> scientifically relevant contributor to science but there appears to be
> >>>> no attempts from most ID proponents to take ID down that path. After
> >>>> all ID has served its purpose:
> >>>>
> >>>> ""Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get
> >>>> the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of
> >>>> God, before the academic world and into the schools."" Philip Johnson
> >>>> (American Family Radio, Jan 10, 2003 broadcast, in which Johnson
> >>>> "discusses his book The Right Questions, encouraging Christians to
> >>>> actively debate issues of eternal value.")
> >>>>
> >>>> ID is scientifically speaking bankrupt and I doubt it can successfully
> >>>> file for chapter 11 and return in a scientifically more relevant
> >>>> manner. That instead the ID movement is attempting to spread the
> >>>> ignorance to australia via its DVDs shows that ID may be less
> >>>> interested in science and faith than it is in pursuing its
> >>>> religio-political asperations. Scary...
> >>>>
> >>>> On Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 4:31 PM, Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au<
> mailto:muzhogg@netspace.net.au <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>> >
> >>>> wrote:
> >>>>> Hi Rich,
> >>>>>
> >>>>> At the end of the day I personally think that an objection to ID as
> an
> >>>>> argument from ignorance should be retired as manifestly false and
> >>>>> positively
> >>>>> harmful. False because ID theorists HAVE attempted to show that the
> >>>>> issue
> >>>>> ISN'T merely ignorance. Harmful, because it perpetuates the myth (?)
> of
> >>>>> persecution. Instead I think that it should be argued that - just as
> >>>>> Johnson
> >>>>> and Nelson have acknowledged - even when taken on its own terms ID
> >>>>> theory
> >>>>> seems not to have successfully demonstrated its case.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
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> >>>>
> >>>
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> >>
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> >>
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>

-- 
William E (Bill) Hamilton Jr., Ph.D.
Member American Scientific Affiliation
Rochester, MI/Austin, TX
248 821 8156
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Received on Mon Jul 7 10:27:48 2008

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