From: Austerberry, Charles F. <cfauster@creighton.edu>

Date: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 20:11:41 EST

Date: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 20:11:41 EST

Bill Powers wrote: "You "find" it convincing that houses and cell phones

are the product of "intelligence." Why is that?"

Good question! Given the problems houses and cell phones can cause us,

it's not clear!

But seriously, perhaps a more relevant example would be determining

whether a stone is a human-crafted simple tool or was naturally

weathered into its current shape, because these less obvious cases show

that discerning products of design involves comparing two probabilities

(in the obvious cases of houses or cell phones, the differences between

the two probabilities are so extreme, we forget that's what we are

actually doing.)

For example, given our knowledge of geology, what is the probability

that an arrowhead-shaped stone could form naturally? Given our knowledge

of human cultures and technologies, what is the probability that such a

stone was designed and shaped by human hands to be an actual arrowhead?

Both calculations are needed; neither probability is certain enough to

be sufficient by itself.

What happens if the designer is totally unspecified and thus could be

supernatural? There is now absolutely no way to compare two

probabilities, because there is no way to calculate one of the two

needed probabilities. I just don't see, therefore, how ID works as a

statistical inference.

Cheers!

Charles (Chuck) F. Austerberry, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Hixson-Lied Room 438

Creighton University

2500 California Plaza

Omaha, NE 68178

Phone: 402-280-2154

Fax: 402-280-5595

e-mail: cfauster@creighton.edu

http://groups.creighton.edu/premedsociety/

Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education

http://nrcse.creighton.edu

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with

"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

Received on Wed Nov 11 20:12:17 2009

*
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8
: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 20:12:17 EST
*