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

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 13:24:20 EST

> Rich,
> I asked you if questions of "design, guidance, and teleology is a question
> science *can* address", with the additional questions "If so, how?" and "If
> not, then why won't the NCSE, Ken Miller, and the rest of the science
> defenders state explicitly that for all they know, evolution and nature can
> be rife with teleology, guidance, and purpose"?
> Your response? Again, mostly evasions. I'm starting to see a pattern here.
> But at least you're apparently saying that detecting "design, guidance,
> purpose and teleology" in the natural world is a scientific question.
> Wonderful, let's run with that.
> I asked how. And I'm waiting to hear it: What would "scientific evidence"
> for "purpose" or "teleology" even *look like*? To say nothing of guidance
> and design at the level of an omnipotent, omniscient deity - much less
> teleology.

I think we agree here. Depending on the phase of the moon and cosmic rays I
bounce between category 2 and 3. Personally, I don't think you can find
scientific evidence for teleology but I am not going to preclude somebody
who is really clever coming up with something. So, you'll have to ask those
who think it's possible what the scientific evidence would look like. Note,
though, my reasoning here is more theological than it is scientific. Thus,
my ambivalence to the whole ID enterprise -- at least the non-culture wars,
non-ideological part.

BTW, I didn't say there is no scientific evidence for purpose. I said there
is no scientific evidence for teleology. They're different. The former is
completely inscrutible to science. In other words, what ID is trying to do
is a legitimate scientific enterprise but their and our greater goal of
proving purpose is beyond science even if they end up succeeeding in their
lesser goal of teleology. Still, they should stop pretending that they have
already succeeded with their lesser goal because they tarnish all Christians
who are scientists. It's the pretending more than anything else that gets
the scientific community upset.

Here's another example. In engineering parlance, there's a requirements
specification and a functional specification. You can sometimes reverse
engineer the latter but not the former. In the early 1980s the Rochester MN
division of IBM was concerned that other companies were copying their
Winchester drives. So, they put a useless curved piece of plastic just
outside the platters. Other companies dutifully copied it. The other
companies understood the teleology but completely whiffed on the
purpose. The only way for you to know the purpose was to do what I did and
talk to the engineers. In the end, the only way to purpose -- and possibly
teleology too -- comes from Special and not General Revelation. (This is the
theological reason I mentioned above.)

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Nov 17 13:24:45 2009

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