Re: [asa] Atheist finds God thru Behe's books....

From: wjp <>
Date: Wed Oct 14 2009 - 11:33:09 EDT


You say:

"Furthermore, Rich, with regard to ID and abduction/induction, I'm struck by the emphasis that Mike Behe places on the latter, not the former, when he presents his case for ID to various audiences. He's well known for having a slide of a duck, as in "in-duck-tion," to help him make the case that the inference to design in nature is highly inductive: if it looks like a duck (and there's consensus that nature *looks* designed), then maybe we ought to call it one."

I don't see why ID is any less abductive than other sciences. When evolutionary theorists propose a possible evolutionary path or mechanism to account for the eye or some other biological feature. That is abductive. They presume an evolutionary model and hope to demonstrate how it would be consistent with that model. Of course, having done so, one would hope (if not require in order to avoid being ad hoc) that the abductively supported theory can then be employed in making novel predictions.

The same might be said for design. Presuming design Behe can imagine how blood clotting could be constructed. Of course, Behe, being in the minority opinion, is engaged in alternative theory comparison when he does so, commenting that it is difficult to see how a "plausible" evolutionary account can be given. The evolutionary account may today discuss comparisons with alternative evolutionary accounts. The difficulty with ID is that the story appears too facile. But this is far from clear. For ID does not necessarily presume God as the agent.

If we take evolutionary theory to be unguided and ID to be guided, then it seems that ID entails a kind of intentionality. But it seems to me that evolutionary theory, as presently construed, is more constrained than "unguided." Suppose, for instance, there is a kind of anthropic principle imprinted into the world that favors a kind of world soul. This might be construed as a kind of pantheism, but it need not be a personal pantheism. Such principles, physical, if you like, are beyond the possible mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory.

If this makes sense, then we could not say that "evolution" is the only unguided account of life.

In the same way, ID does not entail a theistic god, but could include a pantheistic, but intentional agent. Any ID account of the design of the eye or the like would require a description of the intentional and physical capabilities of the agent. As far as I know, ID is not making such suggestions. Should they do so, I imagine that it would not seem so "facile." What are the minimal set of capabilities? This, it seems, is a valid and fruitful area of research, at least for ID. In this way, Cameron's repeated requests for an evolutionary account for the advent of any significant biological feature can be likewise laid at the feet of ID.

This is a little disorganized, but I hope something of merit comes through.


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Received on Wed Oct 14 11:33:24 2009

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