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

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Thu Jul 10 2008 - 10:29:11 EDT
This is exactly as I see it (less the medical expertise). It seems almost juvenile (at least from my perspective) to make the anthropocentric assumption that evil comprises "things that feel bad to me" when the landscape of Creation is so immense, existing and operating at scales that are beyond our ken, even to the extent that we can understand some bits and pieces.

"Evil" as you express it has a much more operational character, one that we can actually engage in our stewardship, probably the only definitional nuance that really matters. So much of the rest of evil, including much of evil's personification(s), seems to derive from 1400-1600's sensibilities and imagery.

Nice, compact, and informative post!   JimA [Friend of ASA]

Jack wrote:
First of all let me clarify something here.  Pain fiber cell bodies actually reside in a structure called the dorsal root ganglion.  These ganglia are at every spinal level on both sides of the spinal cord.  A pain fiber has two axons, one that leaves the ganglion and enters the spinal cord at its adjacent level to innervate the spinal thalamic column. The other axon leaves the ganglion and travels all the way down the limb.  So the taller you are the longer this axon stretches, and with longer axons the conduction velocity of the nerve becomes slower and more susceptible to injury.  So the problem with Robert Wadlow wasnt that "the normal number of nerves had to be spread over a body nearly 9 feet tall" but that the fibers going to the ankle were so long that they just couldnt do the job.  It is not that the actual number or ratio of nerves that was the problem, but the actual length of the axons of some of the nerves.

Secondly, pain is clearly not evil.  There are specific structures that mediate pain.  Pain receptors are part of God's creation.  Our bodies are created to experience pain.  Pain existed before man arrived on the scene, and clearly before sin entered the world.

The evil related to pain comes from our broken relationship with God.  We were supposed to be stewards of God's creation, which means also means caring for each other.  But this relationship between man and creation, man and fellow man, and man and God is broken.  That is evil.

From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>
Date: 2008/07/09 Wed PM 11:28:48 EDT
Subject: Re: [asa] Ignorance in all around I see...

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 functional. 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 W
ed, 9 Jul 2008 1!
 0:44:06 -0400 "George Murphy" <> writes:  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.     Shalom
George      ----- Original Message -----     From:    Dick     Fischer     To: ASA     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 <>     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.            
----- 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
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 <>     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?



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).

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 <    <>     >    <>  <    <>     >



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 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.

    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 at
their output to     determine whether they are content with a simple claim of

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.

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

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<BR>>>>> 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
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 <    <>     >
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
harmful.     False because ID theorists HAVE attempted to show that     the
ISN'T merely     ignorance. Harmful, because it perpetuates the myth (?)     of
persecution. Instead I think that it should be     argued that - just as
and Nelson have acknowledged - even when     taken on its own terms ID
seems not to have successfully demonstrated     its     case.

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