Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Wed Jun 03 2009 - 11:28:16 EDT

Hi Randy,

Since ID means many different things to different people, I'm not sure there
is a "properly understood" form of ID. I was simply showing one way in
which one form of ID could easily co-exist with evolution.

As for the "problem" that my hypothesis of front-loading addresses, it is
simply this: I'm trying to figure out what happened in the past without
being forced to fit that inquiry into some pre-set metaphysical mold. I'm
trying to address in the issue of origins in an open-ended and open-minded
fashion. As it stands, my front-loading hypothesis remains a viable
explanation that has gotten stronger over the years.

As for deistic overtones, I have long warned against conflating an
investigation with theology and metaphysics. Why is it that so many people,
instead of focusing on the arguments on the table, seem more concerned about
where the arguments may lead?

You write:

"Isn't it more consistent with both science and Christianity to say that
God designed, created, and continuously sustains the entire created universe
in a consistent and comprehensible manner to the end that all forms of life,
and humans in particular, would develop? Trying to say that God's activity
was all at the beginning or at the origin of life or interspersed in various
spots in the middle or hidden in quantum fluctuations or camouflaged with
randomness or whatever, seems woefully inadequate. His design and sustenance
is everywhere around us. Evolution is the name we give to the sequence of
events from the first few form(s) of life to the present biosphere."

This is indeed a respectable position. But I have always acknowledged my
views are not science nor do I claim to know what God's activity was. If
the issue is that of harmonizing science and Christianity, I have already
laid my metaphysical/theological cards on the table and my position is
solid. It also allows me to investigate, in an open-ended and open-minded
manner, the various options that lay on the table. I feel no obligation to
somehow find God in some gap. Nor do I feel the obligation to uphold the
game rule that evolution must be unguided, or that its guidance must be
hidden. Are you saying I should ignore the hypothesis of front-loading,
which has been so useful to me as an investigative guide, because it may
strain a particular theological or metaphysical view of the world?

You also ended with:

"Any a posteriori probability calculation isn't going to be adequate to
reveal more
or less detectable activity by God, only more or less understanding on our
part."

Agreed. I have never relied on probability calculations to infer design,
let lone the activity of God. In fact, I just posted this sometime last
week:

"My own view has always been to recognize natural selection's ability to
behave as a designer-mimic and to steer clear of probability arguments
against evolutionary transitions. In fact, concerning the latter, my own
personal rule of thumb is this: if it can be formulated as an objective
probability argument, chances are that it is not relevant to design. In
other words, what is most relevant to "detecting" design probably cannot be
captured in an objectively formatted probability argument. Also, I'm
focused on ways to guide evolution, not ways to substitute for evolution."

-Mike

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

> Mike,
> I don't know that the view you cite here is properly understood as ID.
> This so-called "front-loading" view seems a bit puzzling to me. It doesn't
> seem to follow from any scientific perspective and it doesn't really come
> out of a Christian view. And I'm not sure what problem it solves. As Terry
> points out, it seems to have some deistic overtones.
>
> Isn't it more consistent with both science and Christianity to say that
> God designed, created, and continuously sustains the entire created
> universe
> in a consistent and comprehensible manner to the end that all forms of
> life,
> and humans in particular, would develop? Trying to say that God's activity
> was all at the beginning or at the origin of life or interspersed in
> various
> spots in the middle or hidden in quantum fluctuations or camouflaged with
> randomness or whatever, seems woefully inadequate. His design and
> sustenance
> is everywhere around us. Evolution is the name we give to the sequence of
> events from the first few form(s) of life to the present biosphere. Any a
> posteriori probability calculation isn't going to be adequate to reveal
> more
> or less detectable activity by God, only more or less understanding on our
> part.
>
> Randy
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Nucacids" <nucacids@wowway.com>
> To: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>; <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 9:15 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?
>
>
>> Hi Randy,
>>
>>
>>
>> "Namely, the spectrum of naturally occurring variation
>> in living organisms, coupled with the resulting differential reproductive
>> success, is sufficient and adequate to explain the development of all
>> past
>> and extant species on earth from one or more initial forms of life. No
>> appeal to esoteric processes is necessary. Neither the absence nor
>> presence
>> of metaphysical intent or influence is indicated or precluded by this
>> basic
>> perspective.
>>
>> When understood in this way, would an ID advocate continue to say that ID
>> is entirely compatible with evolution?"
>>
>>
>>
>> Sure. One proposes that the one or more initial forms of life were
>> designed and then evolution followed. In fact, the subsequent evolution
>> would be shaped and constrained by the architecture and composition of
>> the
>> initial form(s) of life. For example, and for starters, every bit of
>> naturally occurring variation in living organisms is constrained by
>> drawing from a relatively small set of protein domains (around 1000), a
>> set of twenty (+2) amino acids, encoded by genes in a DNA double helix
>> composed of four nucleotides, decoded with essentially the same genetic
>> code using essentially the same molecular machine (ribosome). Since such
>> variation is clearly under these constraints, it is possible these
>> constraints (and more) were designed as a function of seeding the planet
>> and/or as a function of choosing the laws of Nature.
>>
>>
>>
>> Mike
>>
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Randy Isaac" <randyisaac@comcast.net>
>> To: <asa@calvin.edu>
>> Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:37 PM
>> Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?
>>
>>
>>> Terry and Allan,
>>> Both of you did an excellent job in articulating the issues and
>>> distinctions. Somehow, nuanced and slightly modified definitions of
>>> "evolution" and "common descent" and "natural" and similar terms have
>>> led
>>> to
>>> significant confusion. It seems that the scientific theory of evolution
>>> as I
>>> think it is understood by most scientists is not compatible with ID. The
>>> compatibility claimed by Behe, et. al., and concurred by Ted, seems to
>>> exist
>>> only with a qualifier that limits the definition of evolution.
>>>
>>> Maybe a way to clarify the distinction would be to try this for an
>>> explanation of what the typical scientist understands by the "scientific
>>> theory of evolution." Namely, the spectrum of naturally occurring
>>> variation
>>> in living organisms, coupled with the resulting differential
>>> reproductive
>>> success, is sufficient and adequate to explain the development of all
>>> past
>>> and extant species on earth from one or more initial forms of life. No
>>> appeal to esoteric processes is necessary. Neither the absence nor
>>> presence
>>> of metaphysical intent or influence is indicated or precluded by this
>>> basic
>>> perspective.
>>>
>>> When understood in this way, would an ID advocate continue to say that
>>> ID
>>> is entirely compatible with evolution? I suspect many people believe
>>> that
>>> the scientific view as expressed above necessarily entails the absence
>>> of
>>> divine purpose and that the scientific theory cannot be decoupled from
>>> such
>>> an implication. That may be where the conflict lies.
>>>
>>> Randy

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Received on Wed Jun 3 11:29:07 2009

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