Re: [asa] Doug Groothuis v. William Dembski

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Thu Jan 01 2009 - 11:45:11 EST

On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 4:23 PM, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> Yes, but, I don't want to be hasty in dismissing the analogia entis
> altogether. First, I think we do have intuitive a priori knowledge of God
> -- a key question is the degree to which that natural knowledge is
> surpressed by sin (Romans 1). Second, it seems reasonable to assume that
> something created will bear some characteristics that are analogous to
> characteristics possessed by its creator -- e.g., beauty, rationality,
> order. If we see beauty, rationality and order in nature, and we have at
> least some dim sense that there must be a God, it seems reasonable to
> suggest that these characteristics point towards a creator-God who also
> possesses those characteristics. A weak form of the argument from design --
> "small i.d." if you will -- seems to me a reasonable argument to make.

I don't disagree with the "small i.d." argument you're making. The
problem arises if one wants to use Dembski's rigorous probabilistic
arguments (be it via explanatory filter or via CSI). If one is going
to make rigorous probabilistic arguments then one must be able to
assign hard numbers to the a priori probability in order to make
inferences ( Bayes's theorem).

On a second thought - I am not sure how CSI is defined in general, but
it seems to me that just the existence of a DNA molecule with no real
useful information in the base sequence has what might be described as
Complex Specified Information just from the base-pairing of
nucleotides. Consider the double-helix, say of 100 nucleotides. For
each of the 100 on one strand there are four possibilities, hence
4^100 possibilities. Now, given complete randomness, one could say
the same for the other strand, so there are 4^200 possibilities. But
as we know an A only ever pairs with a T and a C only with a G. Thus
ANY 100 base-pair sequence is highly specified in the sense that there
can only be 4^100 out of 4^200 sequences. This simply arises out of
the chemical bonding properties of the nucleotides, and not from any
intelligent agent. It seems to me that it is both complex (you need
200 bits of information to write it down) and highly specified ( the
general case would require 400 bits). Hence I don't really see how
CSI in this case could be an indicator of design.


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Received on Thu Jan 1 11:45:20 2009

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