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

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Wed Jul 09 2008 - 23:28:48 EDT

I have noted that whatever someone does not like is likely to be termed
"natural evil." This especially applies to pain and death, with a
multiplier if the entity in pain or dying is cute and cuddly. But Robert
Wadlow, the tallest human, died because he did not feel the pain of a
lesion on one ankle. I have read that the problem was that the normal
number of nerves had to be spread over a body nearly 9 feet tall. The
predators on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon were killed to protect the
deer. But soon every plant was eaten off as high as the multitude of
starving deer could reach. A world without pain and death would not be

Additionally, does a caterpillar parasitized by an ichneumon wasp larva
feel pain as we imagine it would hurt us to have something eating our
guts? Further, feces stink. Wouldn't the world be so much nicer if no
mammal defecated? The dream of a world without offal can be described by
a related earthy term.
Dave (ASA)

On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 10:44:06 -0400 "George Murphy" <>
Yeah, the ichneumon wasp must have been created by Satan and his minions.
 Did they also engineer the Indian Ocean tsunami? Or did that just seem
to have bad results?

Turn off the fantasy generator.

----- Original Message -----
From: Dick Fischer
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 10:00 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...

“Natural evil” is a non sequitur. There is “evil” that derives from the
work of Satan and his minions. There are calamities that happen in
nature from time to time, and there are ordinary natural events that may
seem to have bad results. There is nothing inherently “evil” about God’s
“good creation.” So can we stop giving credibility to these unfortunate
lapses of intelligence? H’mmm, I see the subject line is apropos.
Dick Fischer, author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of William Hamilton
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 10:27 AM
To: George Murphy
Cc: PvM; Alexanian, Moorad; Murray Hogg; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...
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 <>
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 -
----- Original Message -----
From: "PvM" <>
To: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
Cc: "George Murphy" <>; "Murray Hogg"
<>; "ASA" <>
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 <>
>> 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 []
>> 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
>> <>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <
<> >
>> To: "George Murphy" <
<> >; "Murray Hogg" <
<> >; "ASA" <
<> >
>> 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
d-in-god/> >
d-in-god/> >
>> Moorad
>> ________________________________
>> From: <>
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
>> science within an ID paradigm fail to get anywhere then after a point
>> not unreasonable to conclude that that paradigm has prevented any
>> Whether or not such a point has been reached can of course be debated.
>> Shalom
>> George
>> <>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Murray Hogg" <
<> >
>> To: "ASA" < <> >
>> 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
>>> 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
>>> of effort as a fully fledged theory of biological evolution.
>>> The issue with Dembski (and other design theorists) is NOT whether
>>> have succeeded in demonstrating improbability, the issue is whether
>>> 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
>>> umpteenth time to find the right "formula" for a lightbulb, was asked
>>> 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
>>> to our understanding of the lightbulb?
>>> Science is done by, and advances through, even those whose efforts
>>> 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
>>>> attempted to claim that it isn't should not be seen as a rejection
>>>> 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
>>>> full-fledged theory of biological design. We don't have such a
>>>> 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
>>>> complexity' and 'specified complexity'-but, as yet, no general
>>>> 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
>>>> comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the
>>>> 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
>>>> '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
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of
>>>> God, before the academic world and into the schools."" Philip
>>>> (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
>>>> 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 <
<> >
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Rich,
>>>>> At the end of the day I personally think that an objection to ID as
>>>>> 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
>>>>> 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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William E (Bill) Hamilton Jr., Ph.D.
Member American Scientific Affiliation
Rochester, MI/Austin, TX
248 821 8156
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Received on Wed Jul 9 23:32:40 2008

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