Re: [asa] a creationist on the hiddenness of God

From: dawson wayne <dawsonzhu@gmail.com>
Date: Fri May 08 2009 - 15:04:48 EDT

Cameron

<<<I doubt that the religious faith of ID proponents depends on finding
God's fingerprints in some rigorous scientific way. >>>

It wasn't but a week ago that you were passionately preaching that we were a
sluggish lot who should pick up our swords and slaughtering the
materialists, yet we putter around. Yet when I press you to lay down some
rock solid science on the table, you say "ID proponents [don't] depend on
finding God's fingerprints in some rigorous scientific way". Fine, but you
cannot have it both ways. Do you expect to win a rugby match by arguing
on the rational possibility of your ability to beat the opposing team? Even
if you do set up a match, you can count on getting creamed and then getting
the tar beat out of you. It's utterly mad.

I don't care that much on the issue of ID being in schools. But without
rigorous proofs or reproducible and testable observations or even a model,
it is not science; it is only speculation.

I never called ID "creationism in a cheap tuxedo". Creationism is an
inverted pyramid. I have no idea how they can keep that thing up straight.

<<< And what do you mean, science cannot test these kinds of questions about
"ultimate reality"? Where does *Darwin's Black Box* rest its argument on
any claim about "ultimate reality", or claim to have proved anything about
"ultimate reality"? As far as I can tell, it tried to make the argument
that certain biochemical and physiological systems could not have arisen by
purely stochastic processes, and it made its argument entirely on empirical
and logical grounds, not metaphysical or religious ones. Maybe the argument
was faulty, but that doesn't make it an argument about "ultimate reality".
It's not making a statement about "ultimate reality" to say that Mt.
Rushmore couldn't have been carved out by ten million years of rain and and
wind erosion. It's making a statement about the habits and abilities of
known natural forces and substances -- they just don't act that way. So why
is it making a statement about "ultimate reality" to make a similar
inference about the origin of biological systems? "There appears to have
been design involved somehow" is not a very grand statement about ultimate
reality. >>>

Yes I read Behe's book. If I recall correctly, one of my former pastors
translated that book into Japanese (though I might be mistaken there). That
was in the days when "condensed matter" meant semiconductors, magnetism and
superconductivity to me. Currently I work on protein/RNA folding,
protein-protein binding issues and quantum chemistry. I have learned a
load of biology, molecular evolution and read an enormous amount of
material on a wide range of subjects (though never even a tiny fraction of
enough it seems).

Yes, Behe took a stab at it and it seemed persuasive at the time with my
knowledge where it was. The thing that doesn't really impress scientists
that much is that the easiest thing to do when you don't have an immediate
answer is wait. Usually one will come up, and at least some did. If the
problem is really that intractable, then you will eventually see, but
experience tells us that that is unlikely. Scientists learn to be cautious,
even if they do push the envelop. Maybe especially in those cases.
Moreover, biologists are trained to think of the problems as having lots of
possibilities. So the eye, for example, is very impressive, but is it
really impossible for it to form (at least in smaller spurts)? No one
really can say with confidence. Finally, although Behe criticizes the
scientific establishment, he offers no alternative model. It is risky to
argue that things simply cannot happen; particularly without a
competitive model. Even if the probability satisfies the cutoff (which
itself can be questioned), without a testable alternative model, there is no
way to see the alternative. So Darwin's Black Box may be a book of
mysteries or puzzles, but making a scientific case for a designer is
difficult. That is the rub, you can get students to see that y = gt^2, you
can teach them the binomial theorem, but short of a little probability
theory, it doesn't fit to teach ID as a science. There is not even a model
(like f=ma) to teach, let alone a testable model. I have read
various reports (some in Science) claiming to have solved some of Behe's
conundrums. At any rate, even I have that inclination to wait and see. Too
many times, "impossible" was the downfall of a big investment.

Finally, like it or not, the existence of a designer (if it could be proved)
is making a statement on "ultimate reality" whether the intelligent agent is
God, gods, or aliens. Once this is known and undisputed, the next question
would have to be "who?". If we could show a designer really was at work, we
would also be able to figure out the character of that designer by the
tracks he/she/it left (or leaves) behind. If we could grasp the character
of that designer, then we would be able to reason out who that character
is. If it was gods like Greek gods, then we surely could tell. Most
likely, aliens would be just as prone to sin as humans, so that we could
also tell. Remember, a design being "provable" means that we can persuade
the atheists that the 10^-150 (or whatever) cutoff is a sufficient condition
for stating that the eye (or whatever) was designed. Covering every
plausible possibility known and unknown seems difficult to achieve, but I
just say "given it is so". So no matter what, it is making a proposition
about ultimate reality.

by Grace we proceed,
Wayne

2009/5/8 Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>

> Wayne:
>
> I doubt that the religious faith of ID proponents depends on finding God's
> fingerprints in some rigorous scientific way. And I don't know why TEs and
> other people here keep suggesting that it does. Everyone here knows that
> most ID proponents were Christian before they were ID proponents; obviously,
> then, by simple logic, their Christian belief could not have depended on the
> correctness of any particular claim of scientific design detection.
>
> Once again, ID is caught in a self-contradictory double accusation: on the
> one hand ID is accused of being "creationism in a cheap tuxedo", implying
> that ID is an after-the-fact justification for creationist beliefs held on
> other grounds; on the other hand, as in your post, ID is accused of making
> the mistake of resting religious belief on a shaky scientific inference,
> when religious belief ought to proceed from other grounds! You can't have
> it both ways. If ID is really creationism in a cheap tuxedo, then you have
> to drop the charge, which George Murphy seems to be pressing, that ID bases
> its theology on bad scientific and philosophical grounds instead of basing
> it properly on revelation; and if ID is making the mistake of trying to get
> to God purely from "natural theology", then you have to drop the charge that
> ID is Bible-based and therefore must be banned from the schools on that
> grounds. Let's get our critical act together, shall we?
>
> And what do you mean, science cannot test these kinds of questions about
> "ultimate reality"? Where does *Darwin's Black Box* rest its argument on
> any claim about "ultimate reality", or claim to have proved anything about
> "ultimate reality"? As far as I can tell, it tried to make the argument
> that certain biochemical and physiological systems could not have arisen by
> purely stochastic processes, and it made its argument entirely on empirical
> and logical grounds, not metaphysical or religious ones. Maybe the argument
> was faulty, but that doesn't make it an argument about "uItimate reality".
> It's not making a statement about "ultimate reality" to say that Mt.
> Rushmore couldn't have been carved out by ten million years of rain and and
> wind erosion. It's making a statement about the habits and abilities of
> known natural forces and substances -- they just don't act that way. So why
> is it making a statement about "ultimate reality" to make a similar
> inference about the origin of biological systems? "There appears to have
> been design involved somehow" is not a very grand statement about ultimate
> reality.
>
> Cameron.
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* dawson wayne <dawsonzhu@gmail.com>
> *To:* Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>
> *Cc:* asa@lists.calvin.edu
> *Sent:* Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:57 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] a creationist on the hiddenness of God
>
>
>
> 2009/5/8 Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>
>
>> It's hard to see why the inference that the complexity of a cell requires
>> intelligent design (even supposing it's a bad inference) poses any obstacle
>> to any theology of divine action that anyone here might wish to propose.
>> The inference "God designed this" does not in any way restrict the
>> speculations of theologians regarding how God actualized his design, or what
>> purpose the design serves in God's overall plan. The fact that both Dembski
>> and Behe have granted the possibility of quantum explanations shows the
>> flexibility of ID on this subject, and ought to set TE fears at rest.
>>
>>
>>
>
> It isn't like I haven't ever thought about ways I might detect things like
> this or sought out people who might have ideas. The main concern that I
> have, as a trained scientist (who is Christian), is that these arguments,
> although plausible, typically turn out subtle or undetectable. Let's try it
> another way. What if we detect nothing and we __know__ we've given it our
> best effort? Do we throw Christianity into the trash can as a bunch of
> bunk, or do we go back to why we became Christians in the first place? If
> some scientist shakes a flask of chemicals and bacteria really do come
> crawling out, what are you going to say? I know that is not likely to
> happen, and they wouldn't "crawl out" if they are bacteria, but I do
> question the wisdom of drawing lines in the sand when we hardly understand
> anything about the world and what God put into it at all. If you don't find
> these fingerprints you want, will you give up your faith? It's not that we
> don't share a desire to know more or to find something more tangible to
> grasp onto, just like you. At least for myself as a physicist, it is that I
> have come to see that science probably cannot test these kinds of questions
> about ultimate reality. Science basically has to test things that can be
> fit in some sort of box, which eliminates a lot of things that __may be
> true__ but no one can be sure. Some things the Greeks speculated on took
> more than 2000 years to verify and these predictions could finally be fit in
> a box. It would seem that God is bigger than any box I can think of and his
> actions seem to be bigger than that box too.
>
> by Grace we proceed,
> Wayne
>
>
>
>
>

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Fri May 8 15:05:14 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri May 08 2009 - 15:05:14 EDT