RE: [asa] Miracles and God of the Gaps

From: <>
Date: Fri Jan 23 2009 - 17:33:48 EST

Quoting Jon Tandy <>:

> It seems that the strong form of TE
> is very existentialist -- whatever happened must be what was *supposed to*
> happen, and thus "providence" is infinitely flexible to explain anything.
> On the other hand, the weaker form would say, yes this was God's will,
> because he created life to be flexible and adaptable to various
> environments, so though this strain of E. coli wasn't explicitly God's will,
> the capabilities of life were within His will. In that case, how do you
> prove that rational humankind (another specific branch of the biological
> tree) was any more the specific intent of God's purposes than was the E.
> coli that humans created in the lab? It seems that as TE tries to explain
> everything in general, it risks explaining nothing in particular.

The charge sticks, and TE probably does get to wear these fitting shoes. From
the militantly secularist perspective, the 'T' in TE does explain exactly
nothing in particular. And I don't think most TEs have a problem with that.
They seem to have more problems with those who want to wield it as an apologetic
weapon with which to logically corner the secularist. So I think you are right.
 It may bear noting that anti-evolutionists tried to level the same charge
(falsely it would seem) against evolution --- being such a flexible and
adaptable theory to the extent of explaining everything and hence explaining
nothing. But while evolution does actually explain an awful lot, TEs don't
claim that theism explains anything scientifically. So they are free to shrug
their shoulders in friendly bemusement when others charge them with something
they already claimed for themselves anyway: that the 'T' doesn't ever come into
their science. They never claimed it did. The 'T' stands on other higher ground.

Mr. Schwarzwald appears to have already responded to some of your thoughts
below. So other than noting (as I think he basically did also) that the
adjective "purely" that you stuck in front of natural is a loaded word, I'll
leave that be for now. Maybe more to come later.


> Another potential challenge: some TEs (I believe) balk at the idea that
> human consciousness, morals, etc. are purely "natural" phenomena. Others,
> though, are suggesting that even these things may have arisen through
> "purely natural" means, as emergent properties, etc. What if our technology
> gets to the point that we can build robots that not only think and reason,
> but feel emotion, and can spontaneously develop consciousness? In other
> words, what if technology can one day prove that even robots can be built
> which demonstrate that conscience, morals, even religion, can spontaneously
> erupt in man-made things? Would that be a challenge to the Theistic aspect
> of TE, by challenging our assertion that there must exist a divine aspect
> somewhere that caused these things to emerge in humankind? (Or, why would
> God will for human-built robots to develop human-like consciousness and
> capability of religious worship -- again, the danger of existentialism.)
> The areas where TE could potentially be challenged, I believe, are so far
> beyond our current technological ability that they are essentially
> unfalsifiable, and the theory could potentially be stretched further once we
> were to reach that point. Or so it seems to me. I would welcome any
> thoughts on this.
> Jon Tandy
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Received on Fri Jan 23 17:34:24 2009

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