Re: [asa] Anti-Creationist Psychobabble On the Web - non-natural agents?

From: Preston Garrison <>
Date: Sun Apr 05 2009 - 22:38:50 EDT

> Bill Powers wrote:
>>I would ask a different question:
>>Can you give an example of a natural agent?
>Natural agents are events or processes that have a cause-and-effect
>link to a subsequent event or process. For example the eruption of
>a volcano might be the proximal cause (agent) for a subsequent
>decrease in global temperature by increasing the concentration of
>sulfur-dioxide aerosols in the upper atmosphere.
>Organisms are also natural agents as they impact their environment
>and by their actions cause a subsequent event or process. Humans
>are obviously powerful natural agents in the natural world.

Sorry folks, but the philosophy police have arrived. (That would be
me.) A volcano is not an agent in the sense of that word that
philosphers have usefully defined.

An agent is someone who has freedom (not merely degrees of freedom in
the mathematical sense) but freedom in the sense that we that human
beings and other moral agents are free.

Talking about volcanos or electrons as having freedom is either a
rather confusing metaphor or a category mistake, unless you want to
define the terms agent and freedom differently, which you are free to
do, but please tell us what your definition is.

O.k., pedantic mode off. Everyone back in the pool. Have fun.


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Received on Sun Apr 5 22:39:42 2009

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