At 02:15 AM 1/14/00 +0800, Steve wrote:
>On Tue, 11 Jan 2000 18:45:23 -0800, Brian D Harper wrote:
>BH>"...My own view on this is
>>that I expect the origin of life on Earth occurred naturally, i.e. without
>>need of *direct* intervention by God.
>Taken at face value, if Brian assumes apriori that God did not intervene
>supernaturally *even in the origin of life*, then this would seem to make his
>position on origins (according to Geisler), indistinguishable from that of
Maybe. But the important point is that I do not assume _apriori_
that God did not intervene. What I said was what I *expect*, not
what I assume. WRT the question of the origin of life my uncertainties
are very great.
>"Theistic Evolution. By "theistic" evolution is meant the belief that a
>theistic God used an evolutionary process he had created to produce all
>living species of life. In addition, "theistic" means that God performed at
>least one *miracle after his original creation of the universe ex nihilo ....
>Otherwise, there is no difference between theism and deism on the matter
>of origins. Of course, a theistic evolutionist (who does not deny more than
>two supernatural acts of creation) could still believe in other miracles in
>Bible after creation, such as the *Virgin Birth or *resurrection." (Geisler
>N.L., "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics", 1999, p233).
>It certainly would seem to be indistinguishable from Naturalistic Evolution.
>If Brian claims to be a Theistic Evolutionist, or an Evolutionary
>Creationist, what does the "Theistic" and "Creationist" add to the
>"Evolutionist", and "Evolutionary"?
It would emphasize the point that I believe that God chose to
create in a certain way.
>BH>Nevertheless, I do not feel that anyone
>>is anywhere close to figuring out how it happened. In fact, I rather suspect
>>we may never figure it out.
>Brian does not seem to draw the obvious conclusion that if all origin of life
>explanations based on naturalistic assumptions have failed, and that in fact
>"we may never figure it out", then maybe the naturalistic assumptions were
>wrong in the first place?
First, I have made no naturalistic assumptions myself, I have only
provided my expectations. Second, I wrote what I wrote specifically
with the idea that the conclusion above is obvious and thus I would
not have to state it. So, for the record, naturalistic assumptions
that are made by some may indeed be wrong.
>I understand that Brian is a Christian. I assume that means he believes that
>the Biblical God exists, and has intervened repeatedly in this world in the
>history of Israel, culminating in Him assuming human form in the person of
>Jesus Christ, and living in this world for about 30 years, only some 2000
>years ago? Brian presumably believes also that during that time, God, in the
>person of Jesus Christ, performed a great many acts of supernatural
>interventions in the physical world, and then God intervened in the natural
>world by raising Jesus from the dead? Finally, Brian presumably believes
>that God will return in the person of Jesus Christ to intervene in the natural
>world yet again to raise from the dead every human being who has ever
>Now if Brian believes all this did really happen and will really happen (and
>it is difficult to see how he could truly be a Christian if he didn't),
>does he rule out apriori that God may have supernaturally intervened in
>such an important event as the origin of life?
>I can understand why an atheist rules out God intervening in the natural
>world-to an atheist there is no God to intervene. But what I cannot
>understand is why someone like Brian, who claims to be a *Christian*,
>steadfastly rules out God intervening in the natural world, even in the case
>of the origin of life, when naturalistic explanations are having so many
>problems and in fact, on Brian's own admission, "may never figure it out"?
Again, that I expect one thing does not imply that I steadfastly rule
out something else.
>BH>Now I would like to ask you a question. What do you think ID has to offer
>>with regard to the question of the origin of life? Is there something more
>>than the negative argument from the false or missing alternative?
>Brian has just said that on naturalistic assumptions, science "may never
>figure it [the origin of life] out".
>Yet he then asks Mike, "What do you think ID has to offer"? I don't know
>what Mike will answer, but to me the answer is simple. What ID has to
>offer is a plausible, fully worked out, laboratory demonstrable, scientific
>explanation of how the origin of life might have happened, using known
>early Earth conditions, materials and natural processes, guided by a human
Where has this explanation been put forth? I really would be interested
in knowing the details.
>That ID could do this where non-ID has to date failed is presumably not
>disputed. Indeed, there have been some recent reports of some scientists
>hoping to create a new form of life by assembling it from scratch out of
>Indeed, as Thaxton et. al. point out, what limited success origin of life
>experiments enjoy, is when they employ the intervention of a human
>"Over the years a slowly emerging line or boundary has appeared which
>shows observationally the limits of what can be expected from matter and
>energy left to themselves, and what can be accomplished only through what
>Michael Polanyi has called "a profoundly informative intervention." When
>it is acknowledged that most so-called prebiotic simulation experiments
>actually owe their success to the crucial but *illegitimate* role of the
>investigator, a new and fresh phase of the experimental approach to life's
>origin can then be entered. Until then however, the literature of chemical
>evolution will probably continue to be dominated by reports of experiments
>in which the investigator, like a metabolizing Maxwell Demon, will have
>performed work on the system through intelligent, exogenous intervention.
>Such work establishes experimental boundary conditions, and imposes
>intelligent influence/control over a supposedly "prebiotic" earth. As long as
>this informative interference of the investigator is ignored, the illusion of
>prebiotic simulation will be fostered. We would predict that this practice
>will prove to be a barrier to solving the mystery of life's origin." (Thaxton
>C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin", 1992,
>p185. Emphasis in original.)
Brian Harper | "If you don't understand
Associate Professor | something and want to
Applied Mechanics | sound profound, use the
The Ohio State University | word 'entropy'"
| -- Morrowitz
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