Re: [asa] Divine action and QM--a major ID supporter weighs in--for Timaeus

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri Dec 05 2008 - 17:46:46 EST

I don't see the problem except as one that is man made. I believe that
God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnific. As such, he can do what he
pleases without me being able to catch on to the how. The problem comes
because some people insist on knowing how it was done. Maybe they got it
right, but maybe they got it wrong. And it is quite probable that they
don't know enough to understand the correct answer. God is at least a wee
bit smarter than we.

There is, I think, a similarity to the activity of sleight-of-hand
experts. I have been shown how a few of the tricks work, though I am too
clumsy to manage the moves myself. But the Magnificent Randy knew the
moves and exposed some religious charlatans. Of course, some of my
brethren are so understanding that they know God did it, that it wasn't a
midway trick.
Dave (ASA)

On Fri, 05 Dec 2008 08:32:01 -0500 "Ted Davis" <>
> I tried to send this yesterday, but it did not come through for some
> reason.
> Those who have followed the exchanges with Timaeus will know that he
> has
> been quite critical of those TEs who think that God might act
> providentially
> and ubiquitously on nature at the level of quantum events. To
> summarize
> briefly, Timaeus has noted (and I agree with him) that IDs have no
> need to
> delve into such things as divine action, as part of ID per se, but
> that TEs
> are obliged to do so, in order to account for how apparently random
> events
> can actually be directed by the creator--how, in other words,
> evolution can
> really be "theistic." I've pointed out to him here and (in the
> past) over
> on UD how at least some TE thinkers have employed QM as a putative
> way to do
> this, and he has asked for the kinds of details about this that
> might
> persuade a philosophically sophisticated person that this could be
> a
> coherent account of things. Overall, one has the impression from
> Tim's
> comments, taken as a whole, that he finds this approach incoherent
> at best,
> or an indefensible capitulation to the cultural authority of
> "Darwinism" at
> worst. I sense that many ID adherents would agree with this
> conclusion.
> Well, I can now point to a detailed philosophical examination of
> this very
> idea by a major philosopher who is highly sympathetic to ID. I mean
> the
> essay, "What Is 'Intervention'," by Alvin Plantinga, in the latest
> (Nov
> 2008) issue of "Theology and Science." As the title indicates,
> Plantinga
> delves deeply (as he usually does) into the whole issue of
> "intervention,"
> over which Timaeus and I clashed, and then at the end has lengthy
> section on
> QM versions of divine action. Plantinga can be read as favoring
> both
> Timaeus and me in this exchange. On the one hand, he agrees with
> Tim that
> those theologians who want to avoid the language of divine
> "intervention,"
> but then want to see God active in QM, are not offering a coherent
> account
> of what an "intervention" would look like. (I have some sympathy
> with this
> myself, notwithstanding the reasons I gave why "intervention" has
> become a
> bad word in certain circles.) On the other hand, Plantinga also
> seems to
> have a much more favorable attitude toward QM and divine action than
> does
> Timaeus. I had pointed out myself the parallel between those who
> (like A H
> Compton) saw QM as a possible locus for human free actions and those
> who
> (like Russell and Pollard) do likewise for God. Plantinga also
> notes this,
> adding, that, if so, "our action in the world ... resembles divine
> action in
> the world; this would be still another locus of the Imago Dei. Here
> we see
> a pleasing unity of divine and human free action, as well as a more
> specific
> suggestion as to what mechanism these actions actually involve." (p.
> 395)
> I'm not completely sure what Plantinga's own view on this is, but it
> seems
> from this essay that he is at least somewhat attracted to this view.
> I
> can't think of anyone who knows more about minds and agents than he
> does,
> and given his support for ID this is very significant.
> I realize of course that Tim might not want to continue this thread
> further, as is his prerogative. I simply wish I'd gotten my issue
> of
> "Theology and Science" several days earlier.
> Ted
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Received on Fri Dec 5 22:28:47 2008

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