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RE: Re: Flood chronologies (was: Scientific verifiable evidence for a global flood)

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  • jimmygoff2001
    gluadys ...it is pretty clear that they [ID proponents] do not see evolution as compatible with intelligent design. Me: They do not see DARWINIAN evolution
    Message 1 of 42 , Oct 6, 2013
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      gluadys "...it is pretty clear that they [ID proponents] do not see evolution as compatible with intelligent design."
      Me: "They do not see DARWINIAN evolution as compatible with intelligent design."
      gluadys: "Since DARWINIAN evolution is the only theory of evolution on the scientific table, that comes to the same thing,"

       

      No, it doesn't. Darwinian theory doesn't have proprietary ownership of the word "evolution." Thus, one can quite reasonably think (as design theorists do) that evolution (which could theoretically happen in various ways) and ID are compatible, while Darwinian evolution and ID are incompatible. You continue to provide evidence that the difficulty you have in grasping this point arises from your inability to conceive of evolution in anything other than Darwinian terms.

      gluadys: "It may be, as Dembski says, that intelligent design does not require special creation or any other sort of miracle, but it does require something. The intelligent agent has to actually do something, has to set some sort of actual process in place. If that process is not Darwinian evolution, what is it?"

       

      It could be - contra Darwinian evolution - a process that is teleological in nature. For instance, it could be a process guided by an evolutionary algorithm rather than the random and undirected process posited by Darwinian theory. An algorithm, of course, is something that - in our universal experience - proceeds from the activity of an intending mind, not from any unintelligent material mechanisms, such as those invoked by Darwinian theory.

       

      gluadys: "Nothing logically stands in the way of affirming Darwinian evolutionary process as 'intelligently designed' and I still have no idea why the ID movement rejects this position out-of-hand."

       

      Dembski succinctly explained why ID doesn't accept the Darwinian evolutionary process when he wrote that "the crucial question for intelligent design is not how organisms emerged (e.g., by gradual evolution or sudden special creation) but whether a designing intelligence made a discernible difference - regardless of how they emerged." Within the process of Darwinian evolution, there is no designing intelligence that made a discernible difference in how life evolved. Instead, unintelligent and undirected material mechanisms do all the evolutionary work. That's why Kenneth Miller - like Stephen Jay Gould - has said that if the process of Darwinian evolution were to be restarted from the beginning, it would certainly not produce the organisms extant today, such as human beings. If, on the other hand, a designing intelligence was in some way involved in life's evolution, with an eye towards achieving certain ends, then life's evolution could very well end up in the same place no matter how many times it was replayed (unless, of course, the designer sought different ends during the replays).

       

      Jim in Missouri 



      ---In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, <originstalk@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      gluadys responding to Jim: "...it is pretty clear that they [ID proponents] do not see evolution as compatible with intelligent design."

      Jim: They do not see DARWINIAN evolution as compatible with intelligent design.








      gluadys: Since DARWINIAN evolution is the only theory of evolution on the scientific table, that comes to the same thing, Jim.


      But to meet your sensitivities, let me rephrase the original question:




      "And since [the ID movement] rejects the DARWINIAN process of evolution as the source of biological design, what non-supernatural intelligent design process does it offer as an alternative?"




      It may be, as Dembski says, that intelligent design does not require special creation or any other sort of miracle, but it does require something. The intelligent agent has to actually do something, has to set some sort of actual process in place.


      If that process is not Darwinian evolution, what is it?


      NOTE: Intelligent design is not, in itself, a process. Nothing logically stands in the way of affirming Darwinian evolutionary process as "intelligently designed" and I still have no idea why the ID movement rejects this position out-of-hand.
    • gluadys
      ... Abandon may be too strong a word. Some Deists certainly thought the Creator would be interested in watching his machine at work and derive pleasure from
      Message 42 of 42 , Oct 17, 2013
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        --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, <JamesGoff_960@...> wrote:
        >
        > Me: "The absentee creator of deism would have no interest in setting up any evolutionary algorithms that would guide life's evolution towards certain desired ends because he would be indifferent to whatever outcomes evolution produced."
        > gluadys: "That is a misrepresentation of Deism."
        >
        > I don't think so. The understanding of deism I've been using is this (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/deist http://www.thefreedictionary.com/deist):
        >
        > "The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation."
        >


        "Abandon" may be too strong a word. Some Deists certainly thought the Creator would be interested in watching his machine at work and derive pleasure from seeing it in action. The key element that defines a Deist Creator is not whether he leaves or stays but that he does not interact with the creation once it is set in motion. That doesn't mean he assumes no control or is indifferent to the outcome.

        The basic reason the Deist creator exerts no influence on natural phenomena is that he does not need to. The natural laws he has set in place are empowered to do whatever he has decided his creation should do. And they are perfect enough that they never need to be tinkered with to correct a malfunction. So the Deist creator can confidently delegate the carrying out of his plans to those forces, knowing the outcome will be what he first designed. So, he could absent himself, abandon his creation, but still have full confidence that his creation will meet all the specifications he programmed into it originally. Or he could remain as an interested spectator.

        At least that is the version of Deism as it is most widely understood in philosophy. The god who abandons his creation to its fate, even if the machinery does break down, is another possible version, but more often seen in anti-Deist literature than among its proponents.



        > How could it be said that a deistic God has an interest in the outcomes of life's evolution if he assumed no control over it (meaning that he would not prefer one set of outcomes over any other possible sets of outcomes)?
        >

        Ah, but that is not part of the Deist theology. Most Deists assume that God does have control, because he created the natural forces to do what he wills and that he does indeed prefer one set of outcomes over other sets and has established the parameters affecting natural processes to produce his preferred outcomes. The point is that the Deist deity does all this in the first moments of creation and thereafter is at best a spectator of the interaction of the forces to which he has delegated the governance of his creation.



        > Me: "There's no personal creator at all in Darwinian evolution, which is a random and undirected process."
        > gluadys: "The process can't be undirected if God is directing it."
        >
        > Quite so. That's why Darwinian theory - which posits that life's evolution was (and is) random and undirected - controverts any theistic claims that God directed, or otherwise determined the course of, life's evolution.
        >


        Darwinian theory, being a scientific theory, cannot controvert any theistic claim. It cannot insist that what looks to be random and undirected to the view of a human scientist is also without direction by the Creator. Natural history is as open to divine direction as human history--which also often appears to be random and undirected. Yet believers trust that human history will lead to the end appointed by God. Why not natural history as well?


        > gluadys: "God is not such a Being, and therefore is, apparently, absent from scientific explanations. Is not God also absent from ID explanations which do not identify a Designer?"
        >
        > Indeed, He is. But unlike Darwinian theory, ID theory implies that a designer (God, perhaps?) played an indispensable role in making life what it is.
        >

        Still, the other problems with ID make it less friendly to a Christian understanding of creation than evolution is. If the ID Designer is a god, it is not the god of biblical tradition.



        > gluadys: "...the God of Deism has produced a creation which is a mechanism with predetermined outcomes which will infallibly do what they are programmed to do."
        >
        > Where have you come by the idea that a deistic God would program his creation to do anything?
        >
        >

        That's basic to Deism. Deism is built on the notion of the Clock-maker God. On the idea that the universe is a great clockwork-like machine. (We could update that to a great computer, if you like, with God as the programmer). The Clock-maker makes a clock to work. The builder of any machine makes it to work for some purpose. And a computer programmer designs programs to carry out a program with a purpose. So, of course, programming the machinery/software is basically what the god of Deism does.

        >
        >A God who programmed his creation to achieve certain ends would be a God exerting influence on natural phenomenon. Such a God is not a deistic God (see the above definition of deism).
        >


        Yes, it is a deistic god. Yes, the Deistic god exerts influence on natural phenomena, but not through time, not directly. The Deistic God gets everything set up to carry out the assigned program with no need to do anything directly because the natural laws he has equipped his creation with will do directly all that needs to be done. So the Deist god can take a hands off approach once he hits the Run button. It doesn't follow that he is not influencing natural phenomena by how he has set up the program in the first place. Only that he is not influencing natural phenomena during the running of the program. Everything he has written into the program will happen as planned with no further action on his part.

        You can see why this has to be a rigid, deterministic program. It is certainly not undirected. Nothing random happens at all. Everything happens as originally purposed. Even if the Deist Creator gets bored and wanders away.




        > gluadys: "Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, produces minute-by-minute, day-by-day, generation-by-generation in a fashion that precisely requires that personal attention of the God of theism."
        >
        > Darwinian evolution requires absolutely no supervision from any intelligent agent, including the God of theism.
        >
        >

        Well, that is what an atheist would like to tell you, but an atheist takes the view (derived from Deism, ironically) that natural processes are, by definition, autonomous processes that God plays no part in.

        Of course, I think "supervision" is not a good term for the relationship of God to natural processes. It still leaves God too much an outsider, a machine-tender, rather than the God of providence.

        I think "participation" would be a better term than "supervision". I think God's attention to natural processes is much more intimate than "supervision" implies. And I think all natural processes require God's participation, so that would include evolutionary processes along with such things as gravity, hydrological cycles, vegetative growth and so on.




        >
        >That this is so is made abundantly clear by the utter rejection by Darwinian biologists of any suggestion that the process of evolution described by their theory requires supervision of any kind from any intelligent agent.
        >


        No, it is not. Any credible presentation of the involvement of an intelligent agent would be accepted. You just can't face up to the fact that the ID presentation is not credible science.


        > gluadys: "Constant interaction between Creator and creation is the necessary hallmark of a truly evolving biosphere."
        >
        > I have to wonder why anyone who believes this would become an ardent advocate of Darwinian theory, which lends no support to the claim.
        >
        >

        Darwinian theory is no different from any other scientific theory in this respect. None of them "lend support" to theism. None of them conflicts with theism.

        Darwinian theory makes the best sense of the array of biological facts presented to us. Insofar as it appears to accord with the truth of reality, it cannot be at odds with the reality God created. All truth is, ultimately, God's truth and holds together in a consistent unity. I see no other scientific view currently proposed that is more plausible as part of that truth.



        >
        >Within Darwinian theory, there is no necessity whatsoever for interaction between the biosphere and any supervisory (or determining) mind, including the mind of God. All intelligent agents, including God, are entirely superfluous to the process of evolution posited by Darwinian theory.
        >

        Again, this is no different from any other scientific theory. The whole of science can be set out, has been set out, with no reference to God at all. Since the days of Laplace, science has not needed the hypothesis of God.

        If you need God not to be "superflous" to science to sustain your belief, you are propping your faith on a weak reed.



        >
        > gluadys: "A planned endgame cannot be entrusted or delegated to this sort of process [e.g., Darwinian evolution] in confidence that it will automatically happen without the personal attention of the Creator."
        >
        > Here you've neatly explained why a theistic God who had an endgame in mind for life's evolution could not entrust that planned endgame to the random and undirected process of Darwinian evolution.
        >
        >

        Right, but a theistic God could entrust that planned endgame to a directed process of Darwinian evolution, even if randomness was a planned part of the process. After all, in the long run, evolution is not random.

        (And as we also know now, even the "laws" of nature are founded on random, i.e. unpredictable, motion, so it looks like God has many uses for random elements in nature.)


        >
        >You'll no doubt want to say (as you invariably do) that the process of evolution described by Darwinian theory only appears to be random and undirected - that it is in reality directed by God (who gives it his "personal attention"). But when you say that you are tacitly admitting that Darwinian theory is fundamentally wrong.
        >
        >

        No, just your view of Darwinian theory is wrong. You think it is all about whether the process is directed or undirected. But that's not the theory.

        The theory is that there is a process which links changes in genomes to changes in species from generation to generation: and that much of that change is not random at all.

        Whether that process is, as it appears, undirected or is subtly and invisibly directed by God all of the time or some of the time, it is still the same process. So unless you can show me that the process is somehow different if/when directed than if/when not, it is still Darwinian, even if/when it is directed.

        What I still don't understand is why the ID movement doesn't take advantage of this fact and claim directed Darwinian evolution as the mechanism by which the Designer realizes his designs in nature. It would make so much more sense of ID.



        >
        > Me: "No Christian should have a problem with the idea that God somehow determined the direction of life's evolution, but if that were the case, then scientists should be able to discern just where a designing intelligence made a difference in life's evolution."
        > gluadys: "I don't know where you get that from. If, to human eyes, it is random, there is no way to discern how God made a difference."
        >
        > Well, we agree that scientists can't discern where God made a difference, but design theorists argue (persuasively, in my view) that scientists can discern where a designing intelligence made a difference.
        >
        >

        So a designing intelligence who is not God can make a discernible difference, but God can't. Maybe that is why all the actual designs ID can point to are human designs. Maybe that is why none of the actual designs ID can point to are natural.


        >
        >
        > They do that by showing, for example, points in life's evolution where intelligent design constitutes a better explanation for an event (or events) than do chance and necessity (or the two in combination).
        >
        >

        Isn't that ruling God out of chance and necessity? Isn't that ruling out the possibility that God plans for (designs) chance and necessity?
        In fact, isn't that consigning chance and necessity to atheism?





        >
        > gluadys: "The Israelites believed a toss of the dice showed the will of God, so they used this method to make certain choices: Saul as the first king, Matthias to become one of the twelve in place of Judas. But what scientifically discernible difference would there have been between a toss favoring Matthias and one favoring Barnabas? If God has already chosen the winner of next week's state lottery, that person will win, but how would we discern that fact in the process of drawing the number? Isn't the point of a random process precisely that we cannot make that sort of discernment?"
        >
        > No. Neither mainstream evolutionary biology nor intelligent design is concerned with whether an apparently random and undirected process is not in fact random and undirected because God is operating behind the scenes to determine the outcome of apparently random and undirected events.
        >
        >

        But it is an important theological point. It is important to distinguish practical randomness (unpredictability) from ontological randomness. You and your ID mentors regularly treat the randomness of mutations as a form on ontological randomness when we don't know that is the case. It is entirely possible it is not the case, or not always the case. You treat changing ecological conditions with their changing selective pressures as ontologically random, when they could well be God-directed and set up for teleological purposes.

        The one area in which ontological randomness does seem to be undisputed fact is in the motion of sub-atomic particles. Quantum events are random in the purest sense of random. Yet, that randomness does not generate randomness in the macro-physical sphere, where we often get predictable patterns of motion, cause and effect. And where we don't get predictable patterns, we often know it is because there are too many variable to calculate, or the outcome is closely linked to small differences in initial conditions--not because the patterns are inherently random in themselves or violate normal lines of cause and effect.

        In fact, we see much the same in evolution. It is most random at the quantum level, where a different placement of an electron can change a base nucleotide. But that ontological randomness doesn't negate macro-effects which are much less random.



        >
        >
        >They're instead both concerned with explaining how life came to be what it is.
        >
        >

        Sure, scientifically. And a theology that sets the science within the purview of God's purposes is not part of science.


        >
        >The explanations generated by mainstream evolutionary biologists all fall into the explanatory categories of chance and necessity (or physical law). Those explanations, then, exclude the involvement of intelligence (or mind) in life's evolution.
        >
        >

        If that is the way you think about chance and necessity, you are claiming God has no role in these processes. You have taken whole swaths of nature out of God's hands. You see why I consider ID unChristian? What sort of nonsense is it to say that intelligence plays no part in chance or necessity?



        >
        > The explanations offered by intelligent design, on the other hand, do not exclude any of the three categories of explanation: chance, necessity, and design. And because ID theory posits that intelligence (or mind) made a difference in life's evolution, while Darwinian theory posits that chance and necessity alone were involved in life's evolution, ID theory does something that Darwinian theory doesn't do: It lends scientific support to the Christian theology of creation.
        >

        I certainly think it is the other way around. But that is because I see chance and necessity as servants of God's intelligent design. Apparently ID prefers to exclude God from these types of phenomena--hardly supportive I think to a Christian theology of creation.



        > gluadys: "[Darwinian theory] does not make any claim that God is not involved or does not need to be involved. That sort of claim cannot be made within the framework of science."
        >
        > Oh, for Pete's sake. How many times must I agree with this before you stop repeating it?
        >
        >

        For as long as you keep insisting on the opposite: namely that Darwinian theory implies atheism and is incompatible with Christian belief. You can't really have it both ways.




        >
        > gluadys: "If one is going to define 'design' as 'derived from intelligence'..."
        > Me: "There is no other definition of 'design' that captures the essence (i.e., planning and purpose) of actual design. Only minds make plans and act purposefully. Only minds generate actual designs."
        > gluadys: "That is the ID mantra."
        > Me: "It's no mantra. It's the commonplace understanding of what it means to refer to actual design."
        > gluadys: "Actually, it is not that commonplace. I never heard it before I discovered it in ID literature."
        >
        > You could have "heard it" by simply reading any dictionary's definitions of "design." For instance, the online Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/design
        >
        >

        I was thinking more of how it is commonly used in conversation than how it is formally defined.





        >
        > gluadys: "...all we can find in nature are patterns. Whether those patterns are designs (in the sense of having been conceived and planned by an intelligent agent) is the issue. Is it not?"
        >
        > Bingo! I have to wonder why it took you so long to figure that out. Any other understanding of design is irrelevant to the science of intelligent design.
        >


        Hey, I've understood that for quite a while. It is the process of resolving that issue that is the problem area. If actual design is defined by the involvement of an intelligent agent, it seems to me the only way any pattern can be determined to be an actual design is to show the involvement of such an agent. Note: I am not saying the agent must be specifically identified. And that is not what I see happening in ID discussions. They don't tell me, "we know X is designed, because we have this, this and this indication that an intelligent agent produced it."

        All I ever see is some gobbledegook about specified complexity that assumes 1) the existence of specified complexity in the phenomenon being discussed and 2) that specified complexity is a sure-fire means of identifying the input of an intelligent agent---and all this with no clear definition of what specified complexity actually is.

        Points 1 and 2 need to be established prior to making any conclusion that an intelligent agent designed the feature being studied.

        And even when they have been established, that still does not rule out Darwinian evolution as the mode of bringing the designed phenomenon into physical reality.


        > gluadys: "Philosophically, I might agree with you that they have been so planned. Where I disagree is that we can prove it whether by observation or logic, any more than we can prove the very existence of God."
        >
        > That's not where we disagree, as I've never claimed that design can be proven by observation or logic (neither can Darwinian theory be proven by observation or logic).
        >
        >

        And yet you try to claim it is science? Yes, Darwinian theory is solidly grounded in both observation and logic.





        >
        > gluadys: "Does ID hold that the snowflakes are not, in fact, designed? Or that they could be, but the type of investigation ID is capable of can't determine that they are?"
        >
        > The latter.
        >

        OK. That is helpful. So all that stuff about being able to explain something using only chance and necessity doesn't actually rule out design. So why the big fuss about Darwinian theory explaining evolution on the basis of only chance and necessity, since it could still be design anyway?


        > gluadys: "And what does that mean theologically to you as a Christian? In what sense is a snowflake one of God's creations?"
        >
        > As I've already explained, I think God is the creator of snowflakes in the sense that He created the conditions that allow snowflakes to form. But I don't think God has the same level of concern for snowflakes that He has for living things, especially human beings. Thus, I have no theological objections to the idea that God delegates the formation of snowflakes to secondary natural causes that He allows to operate, but does not personally direct from moment-to-moment. But I do have theological objections to the idea that God delegated the evolution of life to a random and undirected process like Darwinian evolution.
        >

        So,you are drawing distinctions in nature between "what God does" and "what God doesn't do" (at least not directly). And where you draw that distinction, is, of course, purely subjective. What makes you think God has less concern for the design of individual snowflakes than for the design of any one of the three hundred odd species of fruit flies in Hawaii?



        > gluadys: "What I have not yet seen in ID literature is any example of specified complexity that does not rely on some such level of background information to determine the very existence of specified complexity."
        >
        > Of course you haven't. Design theorists don't argue that specified complexity can be recognized in an epistemological vacuum, so to speak. One can discern complexity on a probabilistic basis, but to discern that complexity is specified, he has to discover, or have knowledge of, the relevant specifications. You've given illustrations of this, apparently (and mistakenly) thinking you're inflicting some kind of wound on intelligent design. But I think you're simply demonstrating your own confusion over the concept of specified complexity as it has been developed by design theorists.
        >
        >

        Maybe, but I certainly haven't seen any clear example of "specified complexity" which could be used on anything other than what is produced by human agents. I certainly do find the concept confusing. I just don't see any way to apply it to natural phenomena.

        There are two things that basically bother me about it.

        1. It depends on complexity as a sign of intelligence, yet we know that many designs produced by intelligent agents are deliberately not complex, but very simple. In fact, more simple than we feel is "natural"--and that is what marks it as design.

        2. While it seems to work ok on things we know are designed by human agents, it doesn't seem to be reliably applicable to nature, especially in distinguishing what is probably designed from what is probably not.





        >
        > The theological problem with "explanations relying on chance and necessity" arises from the exclusionary use of such explanations, that is to say, from the refusal to even consider design as a possible explanation of natural phenomena.
        >
        >

        I honestly do not think anyone is refusing to even consider design as a possible explanation of natural phenomena. I think they are refusing to consider what has been produced so far by ID proponents as a serious scientific contribution to establishing that possibility.



        >
        > Also, when explaining a natural phenomenon, it's quite senseless to attribute it entirely to chance or necessity (or the two acting in concert), and then say it's also designed.
        >
        >

        I'm sorry, but I really don't understand that. If I have the capacity to set up a system of natural laws that will produce the design of my choice, and/or produce a random selection within design parameters of my choice, how is the production of the phenomenon not designed?




        >
        >That would amount to oxymoronically saying that the phenomenon was unintentionally intended.
        >
        >

        That is not so oxymoronic in art (and creation is God's work of art). The artist may "design" improvisationally and it is still his creation, his design. It is certainly what he intelligently planned.



        >
        >The ontological division of nature you (mistakenly) see in ID is not, of course, created by Darwinian theory, which does not abide any suggestion that anything in the biological world is best explained as the product of intelligent design. Within the Darwinian paradigm, it's chance and necessity all the way down. Such a paradigm provides no support whatsoever for the Christian theology of creation.
        >
        >

        I think it does--especially the chance part. That is where a lot of creativity can take place. I think it is your exclusion of God from chance and necessity that make you think Darwinian processes are unfriendly to Christian beliefs on creation.




        >
        >There's certainly not enough evidence for the macroevolutionary claims of Darwinian theory to compel any Christian (or anyone else, for that matter) to accept it.
        >

        Sure, there is plenty. But I expect you have a skewed idea of what those "macroevolutionary claims" are. You have never been able to be explicit about them.


        > Me: "Darwinian theory, then, doesn't divide the biological world into 'what (was) made by the Designer and what (was) not made by the Designer,' rather it tacitly avers that nothing was made by a designer (or 'Designer')."
        > gluadys: "No, it does not tacitly aver anything at all about theological claims."
        >
        > The claim that certain features of the biological world are best explained as the products of intelligent design is not a theological claim. It becomes a theological claim only when God is declared to be the designer implicated by design in nature (something that the science of intelligent design does not do).

        Have you seen the latest post by Sensuous Curmudgeon on Meyer's claim he is not proposing "god of the gaps"? It is really ludicrous to say that just because you are not calling the designer God, you are not making theological claims about the designer.


        >
        >But in any event, because Darwinian theory attributes EVERYTHING in the biological world to chance and necessity (and to the two acting in concert), it tacitly avers that nothing in the biological world was designed.
        >

        Not according to your earlier response about the "design" of snowflakes--nor your earlier assertions about the ID problem with false negatives. These could simply be cases where ID, for technical reasons, doesn't recognize design that is actually present.

        Even if everything in the biological world can be attributed to chance and necessity, there is no tacit inference that it was not also designed. Chance and necessity, like mutations and natural selection and neatly timed asteroid impacts, could all be tools of divine design.



        > gluadys: "The issue is clear cut: either nothing is designed or all is designed."
        >
        > This presents a false dichotomy. Even a theistic God who is sovereign over all of creation (which He made) could (and likely does) permit secondary natural causes to operate without His direct supervision or control (much like He permits human beings to exercise free will). In that case, many natural events and phenomena would not be designed.
        >


        I don't think scripture presents us with such a God. It is a figment of the Enlightenment rationalism that gave us Deism.


        > gluadys: "...there is no 'delegating' anything to autonomous natural processes. Either the natural processes are genuinely autonomous, because God does not exist, or they are not autonomous at all, but part of a universe made to be responsive to God's will at all times."
        >
        > Natural processes could be genuinely autonomous (i.e., free from outside control) not because God does not exist, but because He chooses to allow them autonomy, that is to say, He gives them the freedom to operate without His direct supervision or control.
        >
        >

        I think the difficulty here is the narrow range of action you permit to God. Always you place God as outside his own creation--in the role of controller, supervisor, intervenor. I don't say God never assumes such roles, but I think we should consider other roles as well such as lover, partner, parent, provider, inspirer, empowerer, guide. There can be a lot of freedom in such relationships in spite of the fact that they do not exclude direct divine action. By including such relationships, I can dispense with natural autonomy without sacrificing free will or the operational freedom of natural causes.




        >
        > gluadys: "Science and scientific theories will not decide these theological issues."
        >
        > I've never argued that they can. I have, however, argued that scientific theories can have implications that bear on theological issues.
        >
        >

        They do, but I don't think you have correctly identified the theological issues. Nor how we should deal with a theory if we find its conclusions theologically unpalatable.

        The first and most important thing to determine about any scientific theory is whether it is valid and how probable it is as a model of reality. Science itself does this job through its methods of testing hypotheses.

        The amount of study, of observations, of validated predictions that have gone into evolution (as well as into geology and big bang theory, establishing deep time and deep space) make it pretty implausible that evolutionary theory (which is, at this stage, synonymous with Darwinian theory) is mistaken in its central theses: namely descent with modification from common ancestors via a process that links genetic change with species change over generations.

        For a Christian, that makes Darwinian evolution part of God's creation, a process planned, designed, implemented by God. And yes, that does have implications for Christian thought about creation and about our fundamental scriptural documents. It does not require turning our back on God, doctrine or scripture, but we cannot be content with the understanding that was current a few thousand or even a few hundred years ago. We need to meet the challenge of constructing a Christian theology that is consistent with reality as we know it, because we believe this is the reality which our God created.




        >
        > I've also argued that scientific theories can provide support to the Christian theology of creation
        >
        >

        Possibly, that is true, but ID is not that theory. When ID embraces what is true in Darwinian theory and stops excoriating it as an enemy, it might become such a theory.




        >
        > One might try (as you do) to tack her theology onto Darwinian theory, but she can't cite Darwinian theory in support of her theology.
        >
        >

        That is why I don't try to tack my theology onto Darwinian theory. I leave Darwinian theory alone. What I do try to do is view Darwinian theory through a theist's eyes so that I can find God in it. I don't expect that view to be pertinent to the theory as such.

        I certainly don't expect any scientific theory to support my theology. I do expect my theology to be in harmony with the reality which science has revealed to us.




        >
        > gluadys: "Given the place and role of science vis-a-vis God and the spiritual realm, why should we expect it to argue for theism? It makes no argument against theism or intelligent design either. That is as it should be."
        >
        > That's not how it is, however. As you surely must know, mainstream scientists (especially Darwinian biologists) routinely argue against intelligent design, and some of them (Dawkins, Coyne, PZ Myers and the like) use science (primarily Darwinian theory) to mount arguments against theism.
        >
        >

        Scientists are people first, then professionals. When they are not speaking professionally, they are not promoting a scientific view of things. Of course it is the professional opinion of many scientists that ID is not science--and that includes scientists who are themselves theists. As for the trio you name, well, no one can use science to mount arguments against theism as that is a misuse of science. Treat it as such.






        >
        > Nonetheless, I agree that we shouldn't expect science to argue for theism, but theists should expect to see science producing some support for what they believe about God and creation.
        >
        >

        Not really. We should expect science to produce more and more accurate models of creation. That may or may not support what we currently believe about God or creation, but it should lead us to modify our beliefs where they are outdated and incorrect. There is nothing sacrosanct about what we believe. We can believe wrongly.



        >
        >Why should any theist think that God is a cosmic trickster who made His creative involvement in the universe entirely invisible to our most empirically rigorous knowledge-seeking discipline, namely, science?
        >
        >

        Well, that comes down to what lenses you are wearing, doesn't it? You look at what science presents, and for some reason you don't see God in it. The first time I saw a scientific presentation of evolution, I immediately saw God in it--not because the book or the professor said as much--it just came because I believe in a Creator who is visible in all his works.

        I think it is the same with scientists. Some like you will not see God in the things they discover in nature; some like me will not be able to avoid seeing God in the same things.

        So, no, I don't think God is some cosmic trickster. If you are not seeing God in all his creation, including Darwinian evolution, the fault is not in God or in science, but in your vision. Get it checked.



        >
        > gluadys: "You do not diss any other field of science for not making theistic affirmations. You cannot therefore fault Darwinian theory on evolution on these grounds."
        >
        > Here again (copied and slightly amended from an earlier message) is my response to your complaint against me:
        >
        > There is nothing theistically objectionable to the idea that God allows secondary natural causes to freely operate in the universe such that rainbows form, earthquakes occur, hurricanes happen, stars explode, mutations occur, and so on - all without His direct supervision or control. But there is something theistically objectionable (particularly to biblical theists) to the idea that God delegated the creation and evolution of life to secondary natural causes and merely awaited the results.
        >
        >

        I think you are drawing distinctions that are incompatible with a scripturally-based view of creation. When God speaks to Job, he presents living and non-living things alike as his creations with no distinction between them. He takes as much responsibility for the snow and lightning as for the wild ox and the eagle.




        > gluadys: "From what I have seen, while ID lends support to a non-human intelligence being involved in the making of some aspects of the universe, it is far from supporting the Christian theology of creation, and may even be antithetical to it."
        >
        > I find it baffling that you regard a theory (ID theory) that supports the idea that intelligence has been involved in making the universe and life what they are as antithetical to the Christian theology of creation, while you regard a theory (Darwinian theory) that lends no support to the idea that intelligence was involved in making life what it is as supportive of the Christian theology of creation.
        >

        Better for a Christian to have a theory that says nothing about intelligence one way or the other than to have one whose Designer cannot be our God.


        > Me: "Given that the empirical support for the macroevolutionary claims of Darwinian theory is so weak..."
        > gluadys: "Actually, it is not weak at all; you choose to remain in wilful ignorance on this point."
        >
        > I suspect I've seen much of the same evidence for Darwinian theory's macroevolutionary claims that you've seen. But I've noticed something about that evidence that has escaped your notice, namely, that it's astonishingly weak relative to the expansiveness of those claims. For instance, Darwinian biologists have failed to provide any evidence showing that the undirected, mechanistic process of Darwinian evolution was capable of reengineering some terrestrial tetrapod into aquatic whales.
        >
        >

        And in just what does this incapacity consist? Show me any part of the sequence from a Pakicetus to a modern baleen whale that is beyond the capacity of evolutionary processes. Not just some aspects that are currently unknown in detail but something which is inherently impossible to produce via evolutionary change.

        I know you won't because you have refused this challenge before, but when you cannot point to any incapacity, you cannot claim there is such incapacity.

        Everything that we know about evolutionary change says it is possible. Everything we know about the comparative anatomy of whales and terrestrial mammals, about their genetics and about their fossil predecessors says it did happen. In the face of the evidence, you need to show reason why it is not.




        >
        >What they instead do is take the evidence that Darwinian evolution can bring about minor adaptive changes (such as changes in the size of finches' beaks) and then declare that such evidence validates Darwinian theory's macroevolutionary claims. Such extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution lacks scientific and logical justification. It certainly does not constitute strong empirical support for Darwinian theory's macroevolutionary claims, except in the eyes of those who are eager to accept the theory.
        >

        If you understood the relationship between evolution within a unified population (such as a species) and evolution applied to isolated populations, you would understand the micro/macro objection is outdated claptrap.


        > gluadys: "See, to me, that is Deist, not Christian. I don't believe God delegates anything to unintelligent material causes."
        >
        > Then you must also believe that God did not endow human beings with free will.
        >

        Actually, I would think the other way around, and so, apparently, sometimes, do you. Haven't you made the proposal that if we evolved along with all other species from a simple common ancestor, then our minds are just molecules in motion and we have no real thoughts--just what our neurons give us? It does not surprise me that some of our big-name atheists are also strong supporters of determinism and deny free will.

        Anything delegated to unintelligent material causes would seem to me to be lacking in freedom.



        > Me: "Yet you embrace Darwinian theory, which tacitly avers that nothing in the biosphere was designed."
        > gluadys: "No, it is YOU who tacitly aver this, based on what you want to believe about Darwinian evolution."
        >
        > I'll accept what you say here as soon as you can refer me to just one Darwinian evolutionist who is willing to say that Darwinian theory is quite compatible with the idea that much (perhaps even all) of what we see in the biosphere was intelligently designed.
        >

        You would have to have a different conception of intelligent design than that promoted by the Discovery Institute.




        > gluadys: "I doubt that God shares your (or West's) contempt of his creations."
        >
        > Neither of us has contempt for what God created. My argument was focused on the fact that the Bible declares that human beings (not big-brained dinosaurs or mollusks with exceptional mental capabilities) were made in the image of God. Given that fact, how can one credibly argue (as you and Miller do) that the human bodily form was not the living form that God intended as the bearer of His image (an image that we agree is not essentially physical)?
        >

        On the same basis Christian theologians have always argued the point: God is pure spirit and has no bodily form. Hence 'image of God' does not refer to any bodily form. If God had chosen to give us horns and three eyes and scaly skin, we would still be made 'in the image of God'. We might even still call ourselves human and it would just mean that we applied the name to that form rather than the one we actually have.

        It is not that God chose a pre-existing human form to bear the image of God. It is that God chose to create a being in God's image and that the being he created was us. But God could have chosen any other bodily form and it would still be in God's image because God has no bodily form.



        > Me: "As I've repeatedly explained, [ID theorists don't] reject evolution as 'the means by which God brings His designs to fruition.' They instead reject Darwinian theory."
        > gluadys: "Comes to the same thing until there is another viable theory of evolution to deal with."
        >
        >
        > It doesn't come to the same thing.
        >
        >

        Yes, it does. Not only because it is the only theory on the table, but also because any future theory would have to incorporate all that is currently explained by Darwinian theory. It could be an expansion on Darwinian theory--and there is certainly a lot of talk about that--, but it could not be a repudiation of Darwinian theory.




        >
        >
        > ---In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, <originstalk@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
        >
        > --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com mailto:OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, <JamesGoff_960@> wrote:
        > >
        > > gluadys: "Is not an algorithm a mechanistic program that, once set up, functions automatically? That seems the quintessence of the absent Creator of Deism to me."
        > >
        > > Algorithms are purposely set up by intelligent agents because they have something in mind for those algorithms to achieve. The absentee creator of deism would have no interest in setting up any evolutionary algorithms that would guide life's evolution towards certain desired ends because he would be indifferent to whatever outcomes evolution produced.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > That is a misrepresentation of Deism. The Deist doesn't hold that the deity is uninterested in whatever outcomes are produced; the deity may actually be fascinated watching his mechanism function. Or he may not. But in either case the deity, having produced the perfect mechanism (and/or perfect algorithms) is completely confident that whatever is achieved by them will be what the deity originally intended with no need for any intervention through time--no miracles and no guidance needed, only secondary natural causes. So, no, it is not indifference, but knowledge that what is intended will be achieved without further need for divine action that is at the heart of Deism.
        >
        >
        > So, evolution guided by algorithms intended to produce certain outcomes does strike me as essentially a deistic view of evolution.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > Only a theistic God would be concerned about the outcomes of evolution.
        > >
        >
        >
        > No, a deistic God would be just as concerned; the difference is that the deistic God sets things up so that the outcomes are automatic. (Hence Deism is necessarily linked to determinism.) But a theistic God does not; so the theistic God continues to be actively involved in choosing the outcomes through time--and the outcomes are not necessarily predetermined.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "Darwinian evolution is more flexible, more open to interplay and ongoing interaction at the interface of regularity and creativity. No absentee Creator here."
        > >
        > > There's no personal creator at all in Darwinian evolution, which is a random and undirected process.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > The process can't be undirected if God is directing it.
        >
        >
        > But there is no "creator" anywhere in science, because science studies the creation, not the creator. (Just as ID attempts to discern design, not a designer). Science can study creation, because creation is the sort of thing one can make testable hypotheses about and observe which are confirmed by reality and which falsified. God is not such a Being, and therefore is, apparently, absent from scientific explanations. Is not God also absent from ID explanations which do not identify a Designer?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Nevertheless, science does not exclude God as a Being whose work is the object of the scientist's study and which testifies to its Maker. With science, as with everything in this world, we can choose whether we attribute to God the work of his hands or suppress that impulse in favour of our own egoistic concerns. Just as Paul describes in Romans.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > It's an evolutionary process that fits quite well into a world created by the indifferent God of deism,
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > Not at all, because the God of Deism has produced a creation which is a mechanism with predetermined outcomes which will infallibly do what they are programmed to do.
        >
        >
        > Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, produces minute-by-minute, day-by-day, generation-by-generation in a fashion that precisely requires that personal attention of the God of theism. Constant interaction between Creator and creation is the necessary hallmark of a truly evolving biosphere. Creation is never a "done deal" God can or will choose to walk away from.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > but not into a world created by the personal God of theism. The latter is a God who has an end game in mind for life, something not even He could trust the random and undirected process of Darwinian evolution to achieve.
        > >
        >
        >
        > Indeed, and this is why the Deist deity is incompatible with Darwinian evolution. In Deism, the end game must be assured from the beginning and the internal mechanisms of the creation must necessarily lead to them in a deterministic fashion. But the freedom and unpredictability of the evolutionary process is such that this cannot happen. A planned endgame cannot be entrusted or delegated to this sort of process in confidence that it will automatically happen without the personal attention of the Creator. So, the only deity compatible with a Darwinian-style evolutionary process is the personal, active, involved deity of theism.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > And on a wider scale, this is also true of a universe whose foundational reality is the quantum particle. Deism makes some sort of sense in a Newtonian universe, but has no place in quantum-based reality where all is essentially probability.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "Biblically, any process appearing to be random in a human statistical sense is open to determination/direction by God. We see that repeatedly in scripture. Why would any Christian reject applying it to Darwinian evolution?"
        > >
        > > No Christian should have a problem with the idea that God somehow determined the direction of life's evolution, but if that were the case, then scientists should be able to discern just where a designing intelligence made a difference in life's evolution.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > I don't know where you get that from. If, to human eyes, it is random, there is no way to discern how God made a difference. The Israelites believed a toss of the dice showed the will of God, so they used this method to make certain choices: Saul as the first king, Matthias to become one of the twelve in place of Judas.
        >
        >
        > But what scientifically discernible difference would there have been between a toss favoring Matthias and one favoring Barnabas? If God has already chosen the winner of next week's state lottery, that person will win, but how would we discern that fact in the process of drawing the number? Isn't the point of a random process precisely that we cannot make that sort of discernment? that whatever God does remains hidden from human eyes? It can't be a matter of God visibly rigging the game the way a human being would have to in order to produce a predetermined outcome.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > A process of evolution - such as Darwinian evolution - that is said to do whatever it does without the need for any involvement whatsoever on the part of any intelligent agent (which would, of course, include God) clearly controverts the Bible's claim that life is God's handiwork.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > That is not part of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution describes what happens on the level of genetic & genomic change, and how that ramifies to protein and developmental and species change in changing ecological situations. It does not make any claim that God is not involved or does not need to be involved. That sort of claim cannot be made within the framework of science.
        >
        >
        > You are conflating claims made by atheists with legitimate scientific claims.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > Nowhere in the Bible can we find support for the idea that God delegated the evolution of life to the random and undirected process of Darwinian evolution, then sat back to see what it might produce. That's an idea that reeks of Gnosticism and deism, not Christianity.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > I fully agree. And, as I outlined above, that is precisely why evolutionary change is incompatible with Deism, which presupposes that the intentions of the deity are inherent in the mechanism which was created to achieve them. Evolution, at least Darwinian evolution, is not such a mechanism.
        >
        >
        > As a theist, I don't believe God sits back to merely watch what his universe produces. I don't believe God delegates matters to secondary causes functioning automatically on the basis of algorithms. I don't believe God made a mechanistic universe in the first place, but rather a universe that is constantly responsive to God's will-- a universe that is, in some sense, a being, not a machine.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "If one is going to define 'design' as 'derived from intelligence'..."
        > > Me: "There is no other definition of 'design' that captures the essence (i.e., planning and purpose) of actual design. Only minds make plans and act purposefully. Only minds generate actual designs."
        > > gluadys: "That is the ID mantra."
        > >
        > > It's no mantra. It's the commonplace understanding of what it means to refer to actual design.
        > >
        >
        >
        > Actually, it is not that commonplace. I never heard it before I discovered it in ID literature. In common conversation, it is habitual to refer to the hexagonal pattern of a snowflake as a design. Or any similar, regular pattern, like wave-forms and fractals. "pattern" and "design" are frequently interchangeable in common speech. They are not precise synonyms, (a design is not necessarily a pattern, and a pattern is not necessarily determined by a designer) but they do overlap in their range of meaning.
        >
        >
        > More to the point, all we can find in nature are patterns. Whether those patterns are designs (in the sense of having been conceived and planned by an intelligent agent) is the issue. Is it not?
        >
        >
        > Philosophically, I might agree with you that they have been so planned. Where I disagree is that we can prove it whether by observation or logic, any more than we can prove the very existence of God.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "But you will also agree that there are patterns in nature which appear very similar to design, but, by this definition, they are not, because they are simply the coincidental effects of various events, not planned by an intelligent mind."
        > >
        > > Right. If a thing is not the planned product of a mind, it's not an actual design.
        > >
        >
        >
        > Not quite what I asked. I asked if such patterns exist in nature. I think, however, you have answered that below.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "The rhythmic effect of waves on a beach produces a 'design' that is not, by ID criteria, designed."
        > >
        > > Right. The rhythmic effect of waves produces patterns in the sand, but those patterns are not actual designs.
        > >
        > > gluadys: "I take it that the design of a rainbow or a honeycomb or a snowflake is not, by ID criteria, designed."
        > >
        > > Right, although one could argue that bees act with intelligence when they produce their honeycombs, thereby making the honeycombs actual designs. But no one needs to invoke intelligence to explain how rainbows and snowflakes are formed.
        > >
        > > gluadys: "So, it seems to me the whole point of ID is to distinguish clearly between 'designs' that are really designed and those which are not really designed."
        > >
        > > That's more or less right, although it's oxymoronic to speak of designs that aren't designed. And so I would rephrase what you wrote to read: "The whole point of ID is to distinguish clearly between features in the biosphere (and in nature at large) that are best explained by intelligent design, and those that aren't."
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > And from that I take it that this involves showing the necessity of intelligence to produce the 'design' in question---to show that it really is a design and not just a natural pattern.
        >
        >
        > Yet I have never seen a presentation of ID that attempts this.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > >Darwinian biologists make no attempt to make that distinction because the process of evolution posited by Darwinian theory acts without planning or intent, hence nothing it produces is an actual design. That this is so is demonstrated by the hostile rejection of Darwinian biologists to any suggestion that anything in the biological world can be best explained as the product of intelligent design.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Look, even in an automatic Deist-designed universe, the planning and intent is not inherent in the mechanisms which carry out the intention of the deity. Planning and intent can exist only in a mind--not in machinery. So, I don't understand why IDists make a big deal out of the fact that the mechanisms of evolution do not evidence planning and intent. Why would they?
        >
        >
        > That does not signal in any way that there is no planning or intent in the mind of the Creator/Designer who is using these mechanisms with intent. It just means you need to be able to read the mind of the Creator/Designer instead of looking for intent in the chisel in his hand. Obviously, scientific method is not up to that.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "By ID criteria, a child's drawing of a snowflake is designed; the natural snowflake is not designed."
        > >
        > > Right. The child planned and intended the pattern she drew, but the unique pattern (not design) of each snowflake can be explained in terms of the properties of water and the process of crystallization. The methods used by design theorists would not lead to a design inference in the case of a snowflake.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > So, would this lead to a false negative? Does ID hold that the snowflakes are not, in fact, designed? Or that they could be, but the type of investigation ID is capable of can't determine that they are?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > Recall, for example, that Dembski's explanatory filter looks first at necessity (physical law) and then at chance (also at the two in combination) before it gets to a design inference. The filter would lead to a naturalistic explanation of a snowflake, so there would be no need to follow the filter to intelligent design as the best explanation of the snowflake.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > And what does that mean theologically to you as a Christian? In what sense is a snowflake one of God's creations?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > Me: "I can know - with a high degree of confidence - that the sequence of letters appearing immediately above 'actually does derive from intelligence' because the sequence exhibits a reliable hallmark of design, namely, specified complexity."
        > > gluadys: "I submit that although you know that, it is not for the reason you state, but because you know that no other species on this planet communicates in this way and that even humans need to learn how to do so--the natural form of communication being speech, not writing."
        > >
        > > The reason I know that the sequence of letters constitutes communication is that it exhibits specified complexity. I recognize the specifications that informed the ordering of the complex sequence of letters as specifications taken from the English language.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > My point is that this specified complexity you speak of is only evident to you because you have already acquired a background in the conventions of writing. Even if your first language was not English, just knowing of the possibility of a correlation between written patterns and the sound patterns of speech is enough to alert you to the possible existence of such specified complexity.
        >
        >
        > But take away that background information. Doesn't specified complexity then melt away into nothingness?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > I remember a science fiction graphic story I read many years ago. Two human astronauts were captured by a previously unencountered intelligent race. The entities treated them as if they were trainable animals--in fact, they were trained to perform in a circus. All of this happened in total silence. The entities did not speak to each other or vocalize in any way. Nor was there evidence of writing. Eventually, the astronauts determined that the smoke which was almost constantly emanating from their nostrils was their communication tool and demonstrated their own status as "intelligent beings" by making pipes and blowing smoke rings.
        >
        >
        > Now in part, this indicates that specified complexity is not all that obvious. Yet, in part, it also indicates that finding it depends on prior knowledge. For they assumed that the entities did communicate and must have some sort of communication tool--it was just a matter of finding out what it was. Those assumptions led them to look for a system of communication. Did they discover specified complexity? Yes, but it was not the specified complexity in the smoke signals that led to discovering that this was a communication tool. It was discovering this was a communication tool that led them to understand that it must exhibit specified complexity although they still couldn't recognize the patterns.
        >
        >
        > What I have not yet seen in ID literature is any example of specified complexity that does not rely on some such level of background information to determine the very existence of specified complexity. So I don't see a search for specified complexity as being very fruitful in and of itself. I am not confident in our ability to identify specified complexity in and of itself, apart from those things we are familiar with which we know to be humanly designed. In particular I am not confident that specified complexity can be identified in non-artificial forms.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > gluadys: "What NATURAL phenomena--as contrasted to human productions--can the concept of specified complexity be reliably applied to?"
        > >
        > > All of them. If they exhibit specified complexity,
        > >
        >
        >
        > Indeed, IF they exhibit specified complexity. But how does one determine that they do? That is where I have my questions. What characterizes specified complexity in nature (as opposed to human constructs)? How do we determine that apparently meaningless smoke rings and curls are actually something that exhibits specified complexity?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > >then intelligent design (not chance, not necessity, nor the two in combination) is likely the best explanation for them.
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > And how do we know that? We already know that many patterns in nature, very similar to designed things, are still not what you would call "designed". As long as every example of specified complexity is a human artifact, I am not convinced a) that there is specified complexity in nature, b) that if there is, it is recognizable as such, or c) that if there is, intelligent design is likely the best explanation for natural specified complexity.
        >
        >
        > It seems to me that all of these points are assumed as givens in ID, but have not yet been logically established or empirically observed.
        >
        >
        > That is what I mean by ID literature omitting steps in demonstration.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >
        > > gluadys: "[Design theorists] have never shown that what they call 'specified complexity' always derives from intelligence."
        > >
        > > Well, no. It's not possible for scientists to show that ANYTHING always derives from a particular cause. Trying to make such a demonstration relies on inductive reasoning, which can't provide certainty. But what scientists can do is inductively conclude from universal experience that because X (in this instance, specified complexity) is always caused by Y (in this instance, intelligence) whenever the cause of X is known, then when X is seen, it reliably points to Y as its cause.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > But where it is known is in the case of human agents. So Y in this case is not simply "intelligence" it is "human intelligence"
        >
        >
        > We do know conclusively that the features of nature in which ID seeks evidence of design were not produced by human intelligence. So with Y excluded as the cause, we must seek a different cause: Z. And the relevant question then becomes "Is Z (a non-human agent or agents) an intelligent entity acting with purpose? Is Z capable of design?"
        >
        >
        > That's another point ID omits, assuming the answer as given.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "...many designs also produced by humans do not exhibit specified complexity. Sometimes deliberately so."
        > >
        > > Quite so. ID has a problem with false negatives; it might conclude "No design" when in reality the correct conclusion should have been "Design." But when something does exhibit specified complexity, our universal experience has taught us that intelligent design is the best explanation for it.
        > >
        >
        >
        > Unfortunately, none of that universal experience derives from the study of natural things or their means of production. So, this is insufficient to indicate that what we know of artifice can be applicable to natural phenomena.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > gluadys: "[Design theorists] have not shown that the concept of 'specified complexity' can be meaningfully applied to anything not produced by human agents."
        > >
        > > Why should anyone think that the concept applies only to things produced by human agents?
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > Because we have no experience of it applying outside this framework. We don't know what to look for as an indication of design. We don't even know what "specified complexity" looks like outside a framework of human culture. And we don't know that intelligence is the sole source of any specified complexity we might discover.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        > >
        > >Because it's a logical possibility that many things in nature were actually designed, the concept is quite clearly applicable to things in nature.
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        > Not until some of those gaps in logic are bridged.
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        > > gluadys: "[Design theorists] would still need to show that these phenomena were derived from intelligence and not, like rainbows and snowflakes by some other means."
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        > > That's pretty much what ID is all about. I refer you to the design literature to learn how design theorists determine that intelligent design constitutes the best explanation for some natural phenomena. The short answer (which I've been highlighting in this message) to how they do that is specified complexity. But there's more to it than that, which is why design theorists write entire books explaining how they arrive at design inferences.
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        > Well, I wish they would put more of it where it is more easily accessible instead of filling the internet with anti-Darwinian drivel. Are they that dependent on book sales that they cannot make their positive case to someone of limited means?
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        > > gluadys: "The ID position is even more complicated in that it claims not to be looking for artificiality, but for design in nature."
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        > > Right, although rather than looking directly for design in nature, design theorists look for the telltale characteristics of design (chief among them being specified complexity).
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        > And that again (that specified complexity is a chief characteristic of design) is something that has not been established. To me, it seems like there is a lot of foundational work to be accomplished that ID proponents are not even aware needs doing.
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        > >Artificiality is not something design theorists look for. One would have to have prior knowledge that a thing is artificial before artificiality could be used in inferring that the thing was designed. Artificiality pretty much reduces a design inference to an epistemologically useless tautology: This thing is artificial (i.e., designed and made by an intelligent agent), therefore this thing was designed. Your comments on artificiality are largely (if not entirely) irrelevant to intelligent design.
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        > But when you look at common ID examples of design, the common denominator is usually artificiality. (mousetraps, motors, alphabets, etc.) To me, the impression is that "specified complexity" is a code-word for artificiality. And that begs the question of why one would seek artificiality to show design in nature. It certainly seems that specified complexity must have some resonance with artificiality to distinguish it from those aspects of nature which it is agreed are not designed. (and not evolvable).
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        > > gluadys: "What Dembski overlooks is that in order for there to be a discernible difference the intelligent agent cannot possibly be the Creator of ALL things--and therefore rules out the God of Abrahamic tradition as the possible Designer."
        > > Me: "Nonsense. ID does not rule out the possibility that 'ALL things' are the creations of 'the God of Abrahamic tradition,' but it is limited in its ability to discern design in nature."
        > > gluadys: "You have missed the point. It is not about any limitation in discerning design. In fact if there were no limitation in discernment, the principle would still apply. Any discernible difference, in principle, implies a division in nature itself, between <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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