Re: Identity of the Designer: was:Re: [asa] Responding to Atheists, Agnostics & Apatheist

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Fri Oct 31 2008 - 23:26:59 EDT

Hi Iain,

You wrote, “Although I agree with you that it is intellectually honest not

plump for an identity of the Designer, nonetheless …“

But I’d like to stop here for a moment, as this *was* my point. The same
goes with David, who writes, “I have two problems with ID's inability to
identify a particular designer. I firmly agree that ID-type evidence would
not indicate a particular designer. However…”

I’d be happy to take a shot at the nonethelesses and howevers in a bit, but
I was merely objecting to the notion that IDers will not identify the
designer because it’s just a sneaky political tactic. That’s a talking
point. It may indeed be a political tactic for many in the ID movement, but
it is also an intellectually honest and responsible thing to do. I'm glad
we all seem to see this.

That being said, there are forms of inquiry that can get us closer to the
identity issue. I think it is fair to ask an ID proponent a) what was
designed and b) how was the design implemented (allthough I don’t think it
fair to demand very specific answers to the latter request).

For example, if someone proposes that the Universe itself was designed, ETI,
which are part of the Universe, would not be a plausible explanation. Or,
if someone proposes that a bacterial feature, a vertebrate feature, and a
human feature all came into existence through intelligent intervention (due
to the insufficiency of natural cause), this entails a designer who
intervenes across great spans of deep time, and again, ETI do not appear to
be a plausible candidate.

Yet I propose a single event of intelligent intervention – the origin of
life, and that this act of design had an eye to the future, such that these
original life forms front-loaded the outcome of evolution (the echoes of
design). In this case, ETI remains a very plausible candidate (their origin
is of secondary concern). In fact, as I explain in my book, front-loading
is the solution to a design problem – how does one design the future if
restricted to a single act of intelligent intervention (as in seeding a
planet)? This is only a constraint for beings limited by time and space.

Yet as I continue to mull over these issues, I am beginning to appreciate
front-loading from a more divine perspective. For example, take proteins as
a rational design material (I don’t know if you remember me posting about
that here). It doesn’t matter whether proteins are some sophisticated
artifact or emerged from geochemistry – either way, the inherent rationality
(reflection of mind) remains. So front-loading could extend back to the
origin of the Universe, which would indicate God is the designer. What’s
more, I have come to view front-loading as *a means to guide/design while
retaining freedom.* That’s of theological interest.

So the theological side of me urges me to push front-loading back to the
origin of the Universe, but the investigative side of me urges restraint and
caution. As a Christian, it remains an open question. What plays no role in
my thinking is any cultural or political consideration.

- Mike Gene

> Mike,
> Although I agree with you that it is intellectually honest not to
> plump for an identity of the Designer, nonetheless I have a problem
> with the answer that the Designer could, for example, be a
> sufficiently advanced alien life form.
> It seems to me that THIS identity, and not the "God" identity is the
> one that falls foul of Richard Dawkins's argument of "Why God almost
> certainly doesn't exist". The argument goes something like this:
> (1) We are incredibly complex and hence very improbable.
> (2) So if we argue that we are designed, then the Designer must be
> even more complex than us, and hence even less probable.
> (3) Hence postulating a Designer puts us in an inescapable infinite
> regress, and proves nothing.
> It seems to me this is a solid argument against the idea that aliens
> designed us. How did the aliens come about?
> Dawkins's argument fails miserably against the idea that God is the
> designer, because it only applies to properties of the material
> universe (Dawkins further argues that the only process that generates
> complexity from simplicity is evolution). But if God is the
> transcendent Creator and not part of the universe, the argument
> doesn't apply.
> It is interesting to note that in a spectator article on the
> Dawkins-Lennox debate, that Melanie Phillips wrote:
> "Even more jaw-droppingly, Dawkins told me that, rather than believing in
> God,
> he was more receptive to the theory that life on earth had indeed been
> created
> by a governing intelligence – but one which had resided on another
> planet."
> If Dawkins really said this, then I would suggest that he is hoist
> with his own petard. The "Governing Intelligence", by his own
> argument, is necessarily more complex and hence more improbable than
> we are.
> Iain

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Received on Fri Oct 31 23:27:54 2008

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