Re: [asa] on miracles

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Mar 09 2009 - 12:19:07 EDT

>>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.<<

"Predictable" is the tricky concept in this context. There are plenty
of things that are not humanly predictable, such as things that are
(as far as we can tell) best described by probabilistic formulas,
things that are chaotic in the mathematical sense (i.e., described by
a well-defined formula, but one that is too sensitive to precise input
and perturbation to be fully predictable without omniscent knowledge
of the relevant influences), and things that simply don't have a
precise prescriptive formula. However, none of these are absolute
barriers to God' s being able to predict them.

> Regarding your Gould quote;  has the 'controversy' --if it ever ranked as
> that-- of evolution possibly having a naturally convergent nature given the
> limiting  set of constants and constraints; --has that ever been laid to
> rest?  The way Gould referred to it, as you quote below, makes it sound
> wildly divergent like the 'butterfly effect'.  Change one little electron
> around in history and the whole thing replays entirely differently.  Is
> there now one reigning response from most scientists on this one?

No, there are still various opinions. It seems pretty safe to say
that Gould overstressed the randomness, but how tightly constrained
things are is very much an open question. It also depends on how you
think about categories. Most people wouldn't know the difference if
insects had two pairs of antennae or their jaws on a different head
segment, yet those changes would be drastic with regard to how
arthropods are classified. Would things be all that different if
dolphins or octopus had been selected as the image-bearer rather than
certain apes? It depends on what aspects you consider. Appearance
would be quite different; character probably not. Squid are capable
of deception, at any rate-a meeting several years back featured video
of reef squids in which a male had another male off to one side and a
female off to the other. The side towards the other male was showing
"ho hum, ordinary day on the reef"-type pattern, while the other half
of his body was flashing his best courtship colors.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Mar 9 12:19:37 2009

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