Re: [asa] on miracles

From: William Hamilton <willeugenehamilton@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Mar 08 2009 - 08:11:39 EDT

On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 9:14 PM, David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com> wrote:
>

>
>
> To his credit Kenneth R Miller has a section on this in his new book, which
> I have here on my desk, but don't have room for in my head this week.  He
> talks about  baseball  and  a set of  events in a series, and the rule about
> how sometimes one must go back to a certain point and play the game over
> from there forward, the idea that the outcome cannot be predicted or
> determined from the state at that point, and one thus never gets the same
> result twice from a given point.  He is saying evolution is like that.
>
>  I haven't got my head wrapped around this yet. But - it seems to me its a
> dent in the fender of those who hypothesize that God  used a statistical
> universe to  produce any given individual person.  To do this latter the
> path forward from any given state must be predictable and repeatable.  This
> is necessary for any deistic notion to allow God to  produce a desired
> outcome.  But the universe isn't like that.
>
> But perhaps I merely fail to understand Miller. I haven't read the book yet.

I haven't read Miller's book either, but you've given me a reason to
read it. I believe that the future state of nture is not predictable
by humans, and maybe there is such a thing as random processes
entering into its operation. But for an alternative consider the
opening lines of Psalm 19 (y'all know this, but the passage is so
beautiful I _must_ repeat it)

 1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

 2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge.

 3 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard. [a]

 4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
       their words to the ends of the world.

If, as I've said before (following St. Basil) nature is a mechanism
made by God to carry out his commands, and God is continually issuing
commands, as Psalm 19 suggests, then the countless responses to
commands may simply be too complex for humans to disentangle.
Complexity is not necessarily randomness, but it can be just as
impossible to predict.

BTW there's an interesting article on P9 of the March '09 Scientific
American about a physicist who claims to have developed a Godel-like
proof that any entity within the universe cannot reach a complete
understanding of the universe. My intuition tells me that, but it's
nice to have a rigorous proof. In any case God is not bound by space
and time, so things that look like mysteries, or random to us, don't
to him.

-- 
William E (Bill) Hamilton Jr., Ph.D.
Member American Scientific Affiliation
Austin, TX
248 821 8156
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Received on Sun Mar 8 08:12:33 2009

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