Re: [asa] Rejoinder 4D from Timaeus to Ted Davis: Martian Sculptures and Owen Gingerich

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Oct 07 2008 - 08:14:19 EDT

> Here it is, reproduced from UD:
> "You would agree that the stone sculpture on Mt. Rushmore is designed, no? You would agree with this even if you didn't know the history of its construction, wouldn't you?
> "Now, shift the scene to Mars. We travel to Mars, and on one of the mountains there, we find what looks like a sculpture similar to that on Mt. Rushmore, but showing whole bodies instead of heads. The figures in the sculpture are not exactly human they have webbed hands, and little antennae on top of the heads, but they have obvious eyes, nostrils, mouths, and four limbs, with an upright posture. Their outlines are clear and precise, not vague.
> "Would you agree that the design inference here is a practical certainty? I.e., would you agree that wind, sun and water did not accidentally carve out these figures over three billion years? Would you agree that we can "know" that this is a stone sculpture carved by intelligent beings? And that we can know this even if we know nothing about those intelligent beings (who may not be the beings pictured in the sculpture, but beings of another race altogether)? And that we can know this even if we can find no other trace of the existence of any previous civilization on Mars, and therefore have no other proof that anything ever lived there?
> "Now, presuming that you agree, is this "knowledge" of design scientific knowledge? If not, of what kind of knowledge is it?
> "Now take something like the avian lung, or the human circulatory system, either of which is orders of magnitude more complex than a simple carving of four aliens on a mountain of Mars. Can we know (without the aid of revelation or a system of philosophy) that this is the product of design? If not, why not? And if so, is our knowledge scientific knowledge, or some other kind of knowledge?

Could I just venture to suggest that there is a crucial difference
that renders the Mt. Rushmore, or the Martian sculptures argument
irrelevant, and an invalid analogy to compare with avian lungs etc?

The crucial difference is that a statue doesn't work. It doesn't
move, blink its eyes; it doesn't have blood circulating, it doesn't
speak. It serves absolutely no function other than that for which it
was intended - ie as a work of art - a representation of something
that does breathe, move etc. It's only there "for fun" ( an arts
friend of mine once said "Science makes the world function; art makes
the world fun").

Moreover, you know about artists. You have _independent_ evidence for
their existence. Go to the square at Montmartre in Paris (or similar
location in just about any other large city) and you'll SEE artists,
making non-living representations of living things.

By contrast, no-one has ever seen God (John 1:18, I believe), or
indeed an advanced alien manufacturing us as living beings. There is
no independent evidence of their existence - and so you can't take the
design itself as that evidence. So if you saw a painting in the
middle of the wilderness, or a statue carved in the rock of course
you'd know that it was produced by an artist (Martian or otherwise),
because you've seen other paintings, sculptures, and know how they
were made.

Iain

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Received on Tue Oct 7 08:15:06 2008

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