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

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 23:05:00 EST

On Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 7:07 PM, Bill Powers <> wrote:

> Rich:
> I don't think I grasp your distinction between teleology and purpose.
> Teleology, as I understand it, explains why something takes the form that
> it takes. The notion is that say something like an acorn, its form and
> properties, is explained by its end: an oak tree. It would not have the
> particular properties that it has were its end not to grow into an oak.
> In the example you provide, a "useless" addition is made to a drive. This
> the ultimate end of this addition was to detect who was copying their
> drives. However, those that copied the drives didn't know that. In fact,
> they didn't know its end, or even if it had one. They simply slavishly
> copied the drive. They know nothing of the teleology of the drive.
> Instead, they acted blindly.
> So can you clarify the distinction you are making between teleology and
> purpose.
> thanks,
> bill

I used the word teleology for the "how" cause and the word purpose for the
"why" cause since there really aren't good English words to express this
distinction. The process of design determines the how from the why. You can
infer design from seeing the "hows" in action and further infer there
is *a*why but you may not be able to figure that out more than a vague
without the designer telling you. Acquinas' fifth way doesn't really tell
much about God and as such Michael Behe is being a good Catholic when he,
like the Angelic Doctor, also demurs when making a teleological argument.
Acquinas noted that these arguments were "preambles to articles of faith"
and that "Nevertheless, there is nothing to prevent a man, who cannot grasp
a proof, accepting, as a matter of faith, something which in itself is
capable of being scientifically known and demonstrated."

Finally, I need to let people in on the inside joke. Terry and I have been
going toe to toe since we met in the same small church. He's a
presuppositionalist and I am an evidentialist. Since Cameron accused me of
being anti-Thomistic I declared defeat in our long "battle". It's not
surprising though since Terry is very influential. Before I met him I was
YEC/OEC and he convinced me to join the ASA too.


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Received on Tue Nov 17 23:05:22 2009

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