Re: design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich on TE and ID)

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Thu Jun 11 2009 - 15:12:00 EDT

My reply, Cameron, is placed below.

You wrote:

<It is such confusions which guarantee the limited appeal of TE, both to
philosophers who demand consistent, rigorous, step-by-step reasoning, and to
the general public which likes plain answers to plain questions. Regarding
origins, what the general public wants to know is: If I throw a bunch of
atoms and simple molecules into a steaming hot ocean, *and if no designing
intelligence intervenes*, will I get Man 3 billion years later? Let's look
at everyone's answers:

Dawkins says, "YES!"

YEC says, "NO!"

ID says, "NO -- unless the properties of the atoms and the laws of nature
are fine-tuned, which implies design."

And TE says -- ? >


Ted replies:

TE has no single position, which will not surprise you but will probably
continue to frustrate you. (Just as the absence of a single position on the
age of the earth -- and I don't mean ambiguity about the finer details,
obviously, but ambiguity about the order of magnitude (anywhere from 3 to 9)
-- will continue to frustrate anyone who hesitates to embrace the ID view.
As well as ambiguity about what "evolution" means, since apparently there is
no clear definition that will satisfy Behe, Johnson, Dembski, and Wells all
at the same time.

So, I can give only one reply to your question, Cameron, my own. Here it

Without an intelligence behind the ocean as well as the atoms and
molecules, there'd be no ocean -- nor atoms and molecules -- let alone a
human being. As the famous cartoon has it, "you've got to make your own
dirt," and I have yet to see dirt make itself. With God as the maker of
heaven and earth, however -- and the last time I looked, the heaven and
earth were made of zillions of atoms -- then the result can be whatever God
intends for it to be, and apparently God intended to make us as part of that
package. Now, whether our science will ever be able to grasp the how of
that, is an open question for me, not foreclosed by my theological
convictions. My guess is that we won't, that God did it in a very
mysterious way that we won't be able to understand with our meager science.
But that is a guess, subject to correction, and I see no reason to insist
that science will or will not be able to grasp it.


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Received on Thu Jun 11 15:12:54 2009

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