Re: [asa] On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Mon Nov 16 2009 - 15:23:18 EST

 On Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 11:22 AM, Dehler, Bernie

> I don't know what a Minkowski diagram is, and it doesn't matter. My
> question is, if God knows everything, even the future, then why live it out?
> For example, if you could build a simulation of a computer chip, see its
> flaws, then repair the flaws for a better version (getting the bugs out via
> simulation), why would you even bother building the flawed version of the
> chip?

This is nothing new. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1642-1727) posited in his
theodicy that this was the best of all possible worlds based on the
following line of reasoning: God is all-powerful and morally
perfect, therefore whatever world is created by God then it must be the best
possible world.

Some scholars think that Leibniz' optimism was later satirized by Voltaire
in *Candide* (1759). Others think that it was Pierre-Louis Moreau de
Maupertuis (1698-1759) whose writings were popular at the time of Voltaire.

Maupertuis was famous for being a possible precursor of Darwinism with one
of the first expositions of natural selection. (Mayr disagrees that he was a
proto-Darwinist but rather that his thinking was a precursor to genetics.)
In *Vénus Physique*, Maupertuis wrote:

> Could one not say that, in the fortuitous combinations of the productions
> of nature, as there must be some characterized by a certain relation of
> fitness which are able to subsist, it is not to be wondered at that this
> fitness is present in all the species that are currently in existence?
> Chance, one would say, produced an innumerable multitude of individuals; a
> small number found themselves constructed in such a manner that the parts of
> the animal were able to satisfy its needs; in another infinitely greater
> number, there was neither fitness nor order: all of these latter have
> perished. Animals lacking a mouth could not live; others lacking
> reproductive organs could not perpetuate themselves... The species we see
> today are but the smallest part of what blind destiny has produced...

Contrast the quote above with the last set of quotes I sent out to the list.
The role of destiny, chance, and randomness have decreased immensely over
the centuries in secular evolutionary thought. The inflection point here
is the neo-Darwinian synthesis where evolutionary theory became far more
deterministic since we began to understand the underlying mechanisms better.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Mon Nov 16 15:23:53 2009

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