Re: [asa] Four views

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Dec 17 2008 - 19:35:45 EST

Heya Randy,

On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 11:12 AM, Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>wrote:

> Perhaps one might summarize some of the various metaphysical viewpoints
> like this:
>
> atheistic evolutionism: Human beings are the unintended, accidental result
> of random processes. How do we know this? Because we have examined the
> details of the intermediate processes from the Big Bang to human existence
> and find that they are characterized by random events which could have been
> otherwise. Pure chance.
>

I think this is more complicated. Bernie brings up the multiverse theory,
which I think is validly described as a common atheist argument - the
problem is that, once the concept of the multiverse is accepted, things
start to get bizarre. 'Random events that could have been otherwise' also
become 'Events that were absolutely guaranteed to happen' based on the sheer
numbers being dealt with. Work in views like Andrei Linde's, and you get an
even more odd result - 'And every universe has observers, because otherwise
a universe won't actualize'. Amanda Gefter in her recent
religion-complaining column even made an approving nod ('at least it's
science!') towards this view, despite the (to say the least) sharp departure
from the once-typical atheist view of the world that it represents.

There's another problem with this, but it's better filed under ID.

> ID: Human beings are the intended, purposeful result of an intelligent
> agent. How do we know this? Because we have examined the details of the
> intermediate processes from the Big Bang to human existence and find that
> they are characterized by random events which would most likely have been
> otherwise but were in fact precisely that required for human existence.
> Specified complexity.
>

Atheists can believe in ID as well - some seriously raise the possibility
not only of an intelligent agent within our universe as engaging in creative
acts, but also intelligent agents outside of our universe (simulation
theory). Paul Davies has, I believe, mentioned that if the multiverse is
regarded as true, then simulated universes may actually outnumber the
non-simulated for observers (as well as nested simulations - simulations
within simulations within simulations within.. etc.) I know you were careful
here to say 'intelligent agent' rather than 'God', but I'd just like to
stress that many atheists are willing to accept pretty much 'anything but
God'.

> TE: Human beings are the intended, purposeful result of God's creative act.
> How do we know this? Because God has revealed it to us in his Word. We may
> or may not find direct evidence of it, or the mechanism for it, in the
> details of the intermediate evolutionary processes but even if we did, the
> basis of knowledge is God's revelation. Revealed knowledge.
>

Couldn't someone look at the evidence contained in natural history (and by
this I mean evolution, and fairly mainstream evolution) and believe that
some kind of creator of guiding force is the best explanation for what they
see, even while recognizing such a view is unfalsifiable and not demanded by
the science? Certainly some would argue that a belief in God can be arrived
at through logic and metaphysics, so this doesn't seem too much of a
stretch. To me it seems odd to suggest TEs believe in God due entirely to
their particular faith.

Process theology: Human beings are the unintended, accidental result of
> random processes, endowed with the Imago Dei by God. How do we know this?
> Because we have examined the details of the intermediate processes from the
> Big Bang to human existence and find that they are characterized by random
> events which could have been otherwise. God has revealed to us that he chose
> our species, which had evolved to a state of consciousness and God-awareness
> with the ability to perceive and communicate with God, to be the focus of
> the incarnation.
>
>
> Randy
>

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Received on Wed Dec 17 19:36:13 2008

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