RE: [asa] promise trumps biology (multiverses)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Tue Dec 16 2008 - 11:20:05 EST

George said:
"Usually one has better grounds for skepticism in a field in which one has some expertise than in a field about which one is a dilettante. I don't want to be totally uncritical about statements made by biologists & just accept authority but in many cases I won't know enough to be able to suspect weaknesses. OTOH if someone tries to argue against big bang cosmology or quantum theory I know enough to be able to spot problems."

George- re: big bang and quantum theory- have you read this book:
"Many worlds in one: the search for other universes" by Alex Vilenkin
http://www.amazon.com/Many-Worlds-One-Search-Universes/dp/0809067226/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229361747&sr=1-4

I didn't have very much respect for the multiverse idea before reading this book, but I do have some respect for it now. He has an interesting discussion on the anthropic principle- explaining how physicists avoided (hated) it, but it can be accepted with the multiverse idea. The idea that there's all those "knobs" of values that need to be set just right. However, he says each knob has a value range, and if we are one of many universes, then our particular setting should be mediocre. Interesting idea. Just like we thought we were the center of the universe- but now know we are just sitting out there on the spiral arm of the milky way.

Anyway- I was impressed by the author- and wonder if you knew of him or had an opinion (since this is related to big band and quantum theory). He also talks about the space/time "foam" fabric at the quantum level... the first I heard of that. All this stuff is truly mind-blowing.

The author seems to have really invested his life into this stuff, and apparently has been collaborating with many of the known experts in the field (Stephen Hawking, etc.)

...Bernie

________________________________
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 5:59 PM
To: gregoryarago@yahoo.ca; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology (accepting biological evolution for Adam)

Gregory et al -

We agree about problems with the terms "theistic evolution/ist/ism." I think we differ on how much effort should be expended to change terminology but that's a tactical matter. To Don's suggestion of "Evolutionary Informed Christians" there's the objection that there are some Christians who are informed about evolution & don't accept it.

I have to disagree with, or at least strongly qualify, the statement that "secular humanists, Brights, materialists, (philosophical) naturalists, and the new atheists are usually softer on TEs than on ECs, OECs, YECs or IDists." This would be true for folks who accept evolution & don't have much interest in religion one way or another. But while the types you list, & especially the militant athiests, are certainly contemptuous of YECs & other anti-evolutionists, they have special antipathy for those who think that acceptance of evolution & other aspects of current science, can be compatible with Christian faith. & the reason isn't far to seek. Religious people who are scientifically literate put the lie to their fundamental assumption that science disproves, or at least gets rid of any need for, religion.

As to whether or not I - or any individual - "evolves": Certainly one can use the term in that way in virtue of the fact that individuals are "modified" during their lifetimes. .. But if evolution is "descent with modification" & there's no "descent" then there's no evolution.

On how long it would take for the present genetic diversity to develop from a single couple: This depends not only on knowing the extent of that diversity but also knowing how rapidly genetic change took place in the past. I gather that there's some, but not unlimited, wiggle room here. (See, e.g., David Wilcox's chapter in Perspectives on an Evolving Creation that I referenced in my 1st PSCF paper.

The first 2 meanings for "group" in the online dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/group) are
        1. An assemblage of persons or objects gathered or located together; an aggregation: a group of dinner guests; a group of buildings near the road.
        2. Two or more figures that make up a unit or design, as in sculpture.
But I yield to you on the meaning of the word in the social sciences, & since anthropology is the relevant context here I'll try to be more careful with terminology in the future.

Usually one has better grounds for skepticism in a field in which one has some expertise than in a field about which one is a dilettante. I don't want to be totally uncritical about statements made by biologists & just accept authority but in many cases I won't know enough to be able to suspect weaknesses. OTOH if someone tries to argue against big bang cosmology or quantum theory I know enough to be able to spot problems.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

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Received on Tue Dec 16 11:20:56 2008

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