Re: Chance infufficient? (was Re: Bill Dembski)

Rich Knopp (
Thu, 13 Mar 1997 17:07:16 -0600 (CST)

>At 01:57 PM 2/19/97, Rich Knopp wrote:
>> I see the [M. Behe] argument as more of a "transcendental
argument" which I
>>take as different, and more potentially cogent, than a mere analogical
>>argument. A transcendental argument begins with given states (e.g. data)
>>and asks what would be NECESSARY in order for these states to be as they
>>are? Pure chance and mutational selection are judged as insufficient
>>explanations. What are the other options? Maybe something else is possible
>>beside intelligent design, but intelligent design is offered as an
>>hypothesis which posits the necessary condition for the existence of known
>>states of affairs (e.g. specified complexity). It seems to me that this
>>approach cannot be summarily dismissed because it is just an analogy.
>I am somewhat amazed that the new science of nonlinear dynamics has had such
>a difficult time penetrating Christian thought. I have a program on my web
>page which can be downloaded and run on a pc. This is based upon based upon
>a genome of 384 bits.. These numbers are then used as the genome in the
>production of a screen shape. Each iteration of the program mutates the
>genome, and then a screen "critter" is made. If you run the selection
>program and search for a genome that produces a given shape you will find
>that shape. If you use classical, creationist definitions of probability
>there is only 1 chance out of 10^115 (2^384) that the correct genome will
>be found. It would take longer than the age of the universe to find the one
>and only genome. However, what we find is that after about 2600 mutations,
>I find a genome which will produce any desired shape. If I re-run the
>program, I will find another genome which produces that very same shape. In
>fact, I have not had the occasion to settle on the same genome twice. This
>means that somewhere around 10^105 or so genomes of my artificial creature
>will produce that shape.

Glen, thanks for your reply. However, the ID theorists are not living on a
different (primative) planet and unaware of such cases. Initially, your
system appears to undermine the "classical, creationist" claims.
But there has to be a whole lot more to this than simply citing such
an example. Based on your own description, it looks like you've developed a
system that has 100% probability of producing whatever you want; it just
takes a little time. Yet this apparently amazing feat clearly exposes one
of the main weaknesses of this type of response: what you had already
"programed" into the system eventually (maybe even necessarily) produced a
specified result. I don't know why this should be so shocking (or decisive)
to anyone, much less an ID theorist.
I am interested in knowing, however, whether your system has some
"built in memory." That is, does it necessarily produce a DIFFERENT
mutation (from any before) each time, or does it "randomly" select a
mutation from ALL possibilities each time? This would constitute another
significant variable.
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Rich Knopp, M.Div., Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy and Christian Apologetics
Lincoln Christian College and Seminary
Lincoln, IL. 62656

"If God didn't exist, He would want us not to believe in Him."
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