Re: [asa] The Patient Creator

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Thu Jun 18 2009 - 11:46:50 EDT
I think extraordinarily improbable events DO take place every day. At the very least, any particular chain of events we might examine in detail would likely be unlikely due to the chain or possible alternative branches for all the events in the chain.

If we ponder the probability of a cosmic ray striking a genetic structure in such a way as to cause a mutation, another ingredient (principle?) in Creation comes into play, something I think of as "strength through weakness". In the context of this discussion, I refer to the robustness of the whole DNA et al process, which nonetheless contains a certain "weakness", a certain susceptibility to modification that allows mutation and evolution to occur. It is also manifest in the strength of granite, which is at the same time susceptible over time and circumstance to erosion. This strength though weakness ingredient is a powerful subtlety, and I take that as a reflection of creative genius, if you will.

I would just ask, what do you think is the reason for the immensity of the university, and the extent of time?

It seems that the simplest answer is that it immeasurably increases the probability of the improbable occurring. Perhaps more correctly, the statement is that both would vastly enhance the possibilities for varied unlikely contingent events.

There is something appealing about this also in light of the unlikelihoods manifest in many key Biblical characters, and particularly those that Jesus found to fellowship with, teach, and trust to [in time!] become stewards of his message(s).

JimA [Friend of ASA]

David Clounch wrote:

I think I agree with you.
On "...the natural origins of  things which have  low probability of existence."

Well,  I simply don't believe in the existence of things  which have too low a probability. (I dont mean ontological existence...just  instantiation).  And this is perfectly reasonable because engineers make that choice every day in their profession. 

So, for Ken Miller to make an argument about his aboriginal tie-clip pre-cursor, he would merely have to show there is a reasonable probability for the natural production of the pre-cursor.  To me that is the essence of a rational argument from him.  Sadly, I don't hear that actually  being presented.  Instead it seems we are being asked to believe that extraordinarily improbable events take place every day with regularity. And somehow we mysteriously just cannot observe them.  I am too skeptical to blindly accept that. 


On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 11:54 PM, Jim Armstrong <> wrote:
It is certainly no attack on God's omnipotence, only an attack on our idea of the omnipotence of God. Surely we have no real way of assessing either range or bounds in the capacity of an entity which is so "other" than ourselves, with capabilities so greatly exceeding anything we understand or can even relate to any meaningful degree. Surely, "omnipotence" must in reality remain a complimentary, deferential, or hyperbolic attribution. Any "defense" surely must be about our particular faith perspectives.

[shift gears]

The companion question to, "So we need to ask why it is that creation is so old." would seem to be, "So why is Creation so immense?" I am persuaded that the answer is interwoven with many/most(?) of the probabilities/opportunities questions [as for example, the matter of "...the natural origins of  things which have  low probability of existence."].

...or so it seemeth to me.    JimA [Friend of ASA]

David Clounch wrote:
Thanks for that, Mike. Cheered me up today.

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 2:09 PM, Nucacids <> wrote:

If the Universe is 14 billion years old, and humans evolved only about 300 million years ago, then Creation existed without humans for 13.7 billion years. For some, this is a problem for Christian faith: “it makes no sense to imagine that an all-powerful God would need to devise this vast universal Rube Goldberg contrivance for the sake of creating life, rather than just doing it in one fell swoop of His mighty hand.”

This argument is essentially subjective and it targets the omnipotence of God.

I see it as an attack on the omnipotence of God.

The idea is that a truly all-powerful God would not have to employ such an immensely long, drawn out, inefficient process since He had the power to bring Creation into existence in an instantaneous act. Why bother with 13.7 billion years of irrelevant history when what matters is the origin of humankind?

It depends on the goal. The scriptures say we don't know the mind of God nor His ways. If we take that at face value we cannot believe we really understand the purpose of everything, can we? Ergo I see the whole approach of the quoted crtici as faulty theological thinking. I myself have always said I reject this form of creationist thinking  on theological grounds.


Now, I have already noted that even Genesis does not teach an instantaneous, all-at-once, creation. Certainly, God could have created all of reality in one fell swoop of His mighty hand. And He could have done so last Thursday. But that is not what happened. So we need to ask why it is that creation is so old

You and one billion old earth creationists have asked that question.

More important, are we asked by the critic   to believe in a God who instant by instant causes the existence of every particle and pushes every particle  around?   So that particles dont really have independent existence?  Sounds panentheistic to me.  I just wonder if "reality in one fell swoop"  goes along with this panentheistic  notion.   The giveaway is the kind of faith it takes to believe both rather than believing in  energy/matter  having ancient origins and following natural laws.

and why it is that creation existed as long as it did without humans.

I think we know that to get a (even one)   planet   (using physics)  that sustains life actually takes that much stuff. 

I am afraid I still reject Ken Miller's  tie clip.  I just don't see the aboriginal  formation of extruded wire that  got coiled into  a spring  by  being blown in a hurricane. Its nuts  to think  that tie clip precursors exist by the  trillions and thus have a high probability of  being turned into tie clips by  any passerby who happens to have a tie and a shirt. Its a matter of disbelieving in the natural origins of  things which have  low probability of existence. Skepticism is good.


But before getting to that directly, we should also pause to consider that this ancient Universe is consistent with the teachings about God.


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