Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Craig Crushes Ayala



Ayala gives two objections to design:  (1) The design we see is suboptimal; and (2) the cruelty we see in nature precludes an inference to a good designer.

Craig first shows a picture of a dilapidated old East German Trabant, one of the worst cars ever made.  He then shows a picture of a shiny new Mercedes E Class.

Then he makes the following argument.

1.  The Trabant is obviously designed.

2.  The Trabant design is obviously sub-optimal.

3.  Therefore, the fact that a design is sub-optimal does not invalidate the design inference.

Conclusion:  Known designs exhibit various degrees of optimality.  Therefore, there is simply no reason to restrict design inferences only to maximally optimal designs.  If a structure meets Dembski’s criteria for inferring design, that inference is not nullified by the mere possibility that the structure could have been better designed.

Craig then shows a picture of a medieval torture device and makes the following argument.

1.  The torture device is obviously designed.

2.  The designer was obviously not good.

3.  Therefore, the possibility that the designer is not good does not preclude a design inference.*

Conclusion:  The design inference says absolutely nothing about the moral qualities of the designer.


*Theologians have answers to the “cruelty” objection, but those answers are not within the province of the ID project as such.

That 'God is good' actually does rely on true knowledge. Normally we don't have that because the mind is inherently corrupt (whether envisaged as Calvin's 'total depravity' or the more generic notion of 'ignorance') Ideas about 'the nature of God' whilst seen through this lens, are false projections, idle imaginings. The 'goodness of God' can only be revealed to the 'spiritual vision' which is realized through prayer. But all this blather about 'whether God is good' is like putting lipstick on a chicken or legs on a snake. The God which the atheists criticize never existed. jeeprs
Like I'm going to contradict WLC! Mung
WLC is on point. Objections to design that hinge on putative design flaws are inconsequential. Objections to design based on supposed cruelty are in truth theological issues and thus invite theological answers. I haven't seen a single post that successfully contradicts that reality. Optimus
I myself have problems with the concept of God as a designer. I think 'design' is just a metaphor we use because it is familiar to us. We shouldn't push it too far when trying to apply it to God. Mung
tragic mishap: Good analogy, and well stated. Eric Anderson
Perhaps I exaggerated too much. Let's say that the definition of "perfect" cannot include violations of the laws of physics. One still cannot design a perfect automobile. If a car has a lot of interior space, that cuts down on its gas mileage. If you maximize the gas mileage, you eventually have to cut down on interior space, not to mention the power of the engine and get rid of automatic transmission, which most people prefer. In other words, all design requires engineering tradeoffs in order to maximize certain capabilities or to simply balance certain specifications with other equally important specifications. Perfect design, whatever it is, is impossible. And Genesis never claims that God created perfection. He made it "very good." tragic mishap
Looks like a fun thread. I might read all of it. I have a question for anyone who has: Did anyone raise any objections to the idea that perfect design is possible? A perfect car would have the same amount of interior space as my local Wal-Mart, but would still fit on the road and under stop lights. It would have infinite gas mileage and be able to stop instantly even at speeds exceeding that of light. In other words, a perfect car design is impossible. I would say the same thing for organisms. tragic mishap
The second thing to say is that I would like to see sources for the historical claim. Can you give me references to where Origen, Clement, Tertullian, Augustine, Cyprian, the Cappadocians, etc. said that all animals were vegetarian before the Fall?
I think that's a fairly weak argument. An argument from silence? Are there searchable versions of their works now? It would not surprise me at all if such a thing could be found in the writings of "the fathers." But then, I don't consider them infallible anyways. Many of them were probably literalists. Consider the chiliast controversies. Tertullian believed in a literal physical resurrection of the literal physical body, didn't he? Mung
Even poetry has a basis in reality.
Actually, it's reality that has a basis in poetry. Mung
Timaeus, I think you are too kind to our YEC bretheren. ;) I'm still waiting for a YEC response to The Privileged Planet. Do you know of one? Mung
I think the YEC hermeneutical principles are too narrow, and actually deform the Biblical teaching by applying to the Bible a form of literalism which the writers never dreamed of.
BINGO! The very LAST thing that Jesus was, was a "fundamentalist." Mung
This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.
Hi Nick, looking forward to your autobiography. I understand the title you're contemplating is Nick Matzke: A Study in Self Delusion I endorse that title. "We guys" think God is the designer of what? I think you'd go to any length, really. God designed trees Thick branches sometimes fall off trees Human uses fallen branch to kill other human God guilty of bad tree design When you condemn God, for whatever it is today that you want to condemn him for, you condemn yourself. Mung
mphillips asks "Does [life] violate any rules of physics or chemistry?" That is like asking whether an encyclopedia violates any rules of physics or chemistry - or whether a complex computer program violates any rules of electricity or magnetism. Of course they don't - but the question completely misses the point because the essence of those things is not physics, chemistry, electricity, or magnetism, but information. Trying to understand life with only the rules of physics and chemistry is like trying to understand Adobe Photoshop by using a voltmeter. sagebrush gardener
tjguy: Thanks for your courteous reply. I agree with you that a YEC position is not generally advanced in the opinion columns here on UD. On the other hand, ID leaders who are generally known to support a YEC position have written many columns here; e.g., Paul Nelson. And of course many YECs contribute to the discussion here, and the only time they have been banned or suspended, to my knowledge, is when they have behaved obnoxiously. (We had one make some anti-Catholic remarks, for example.) My point was that Paul Nelson is just as much a "true IDer" as Bill Dembski, and I think that Bill Dembski would agree. On another point, I agree with you about the overlap and the differences between ID and YEC. Regarding one of your questions, my usage of "fundamentalist" was popular shorthand for "literalist-inerrantist" (which takes longer to type), but I agree that the word has many meanings and therefore is not very precise. I'm sorry if it confused. I didn't mean it as derogatory. My point was that literalist-inerrantist folks will defend the literal truth of the commandments of God to virtually annihilate the Canaanite peoples, and therefore must be aware that God's purpose is not always to guarantee the maximum comfort of all his creatures. And yes, I know, there is the question whether the Canaanites "deserved" it for their sin, but all kinds of people deserve punishment for their sin, and God lets them off, and in any case, the infants and small children could not have consciously supported or condoned their parents' sins. So God sometimes -- if one's hermeneutic is literalist-inerrantist -- causes non-guilty creatures to suffer for some greater purpose. The same might be the explanation of animal death by carnivory. You said a few times that throughout most of Christian history Genesis was interpreted as teaching an original animal vegetarianism, or that most of the Church Fathers held to this interpretation. The first thing to say is that literalist-inerrantist folks have never scrupled to go against "most of Christian history" when they thought it appropriate (e.g., on the practice of infant baptism, for example, which even Luther and Calvin maintained); the question of what the Bible teaches and what Christians have thought it teaches are two different questions. The majority is not always right. The second thing to say is that I would like to see sources for the historical claim. Can you give me references to where Origen, Clement, Tertullian, Augustine, Cyprian, the Cappadocians, etc. said that all animals were vegetarian before the Fall? (Whether or not *people* were vegetarian before the Fall is another matter.) In two or three places you inferred things about my position which I have never stated and in fact would reject. I am not a "TE" as TE is normally understood -- perhaps no commenter here has launched more frequent attacks on BioLogos and other fortresses of TE-dom than I have. Small "te" -- "theistic evolution" in the original sense of 100 or more years ago, the belief that God created through a process of evolution -- where evolution is understood to be a guided or planned process, not a random one -- I remain open to, as it is compatible with the geological record and also with the omnipotence and providence of God. I don't subscribe to naturalism, nor do I think the Bible should be reinterpreted in order to harmonize with modern science. The Biblical interpretations I gave you arose out of my academic work (undergraduate and graduate) in Biblical studies, not out of any craven deference to evolutionary biology. My differences with YEC people (whom I in many ways very much respect) are not primarily over science (though in the past YEC people did in fact produce some very bad science), but over theology generally and Biblical interpretation specifically. I don't understand "Christianity" in the same way that most YEC people understand it, and I don't interpret the Bible as they do, because I think that Christianity is much richer, broader and more diverse than most YEC people will allow, and because I think the YEC hermeneutical principles are too narrow, and actually deform the Biblical teaching by applying to the Bible a form of literalism which the writers never dreamed of. To put this as clearly as possible: if a Cambrian rabbit were found tomorrow, and evolutionary theory completely collapsed as a result, I still would not become a YEC, nor would I become a literalist-inerrantist in my reading of the Bible. My interest in the Bible and Christianity was never grounded in any desire to oppose evolution or any other modern scientific theory. It is what I studied *outside of* the natural sciences -- Latin, Greek, Hebrew, ancient history, ancient literature, ancient religion, comparative religion, philosophy, literary theory, history of Christian thought, history of Jewish interpretation, etc. -- that convinced me that literalism-inerrantism was the wrong way to approach the Bible. Whatever happens regarding Darwinism and intelligent design, my thoughts on the Bible won't be affected. I'm not going to regard Genesis 1-11 as an "eyewitness account" of anything, and I'm not going to give up my judgment that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2-3 were originally two different stories with different purposes, and therefore shouldn't be conflated, and I'm not going to give up my reading of Job, which is that suffering was part of even the original creation. I don't deny your sincerity for a minute. I believe you really are trying to base your Christian theology on what you believe the Bible teaches. I simply disagree with you about some of the things that the Bible teaches. I don't think the Bible teaches that there was any "fall of nature," and I don't believe that anything was changed after the Fall other than the items specified in Genesis 3, i.e., death, hard work for food from the ground, pain in childbirth, the subjugation of women, and conflict between serpents and human beings. I don't think that Genesis 3 teaches that mosquitoes started biting people and other animals only after the Fall, or that lions ate cabbages and carrots before the Fall. And I don't think that even the verses you cited from Genesis 1, read carefully in Hebrew, *necessitate* your interpretation. But all of this takes us away from the purpose of this site. In my view, YECs have as much right as anyone else to support ID and consider themselves IDers, and I have no problem if they become more involved here; but if they are going to try to "sell" a YEC hermeneutics and a YEC theology, on a site which is supposed to be theology-neutral, then I have the right to "sell" my alternate theological wares in the same marketplace. I don't mean by that that you are being pushy, because you aren't; I just mean that I reserve the right to counter-theologize here whenever any YEC person theologizes. If I sounded more aggressively anti-YEC than that, I shouldn't have. YECs should be welcome here and I have neither the moral nor the administrative authority to try to drive them away. So don't take my personal theological objections as representative of ID generally, or of UD policy. I'm speaking only for myself, and don't mean to inhibit you in any way from participating fully here or in any other ID forum or activity. Best wishes. Timaeus
1 --> It is not simply a matter of the lack of a physical-chemical causal chain between DNA bases and protein sequences that points to the use of a code, but the presence of a definite pattern of symbolic rules for assignment of meaning, the well-known genetic code. As the just linked Wiki article -- inadvertently testifying against known ideological interest -- notes:
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells. The code defines how sequences of three nucleotides, called codons, specify which amino acid will be added next during protein synthesis. With some exceptions,[1] a three-nucleotide codon in a nucleic acid sequence specifies a single amino acid.
2 --> That is, there is a pattern of rules of representation that allow one type of molecule chained together as a data storing string structure, to be transcribed, then used as the control tape for the ribosomes that translate this code into the sequence of amino acids used in proteins and enzymes. Where, no enzymes and proteins, no functional, metabolising cell, and no self-replicating capacity either. 3 --> Thus, we see an irreducibly complex cycle that could not credibly have come about incrementally from some simple mix of chemicals in some warm little pond or equivalent. We see instead a complex, integrated information based processing system that creates the AA chains for the workhorse molecules of cell based life. 4 --> Remember, too, that on the whole the proteins have to then be further processed, such as through agglomeration, activation and chaperoned folding, to achieve their functional 3-D structure, a structure that is so complex that our processing capacity struggles to analyse it. 5 --> by suppressing this material context, a simplistic strawman is set up for ridicule and dismissal. 6 --> Then, the demand is deliberately put to change the subject from tangent no 1 to tangent no 2. It being known that the detection of signs of design does not implicate the circumstances of the design in general, a demand is placed that unless you can provide that we will dismiss the first point. 7 --> This is about as silly as it would have been to dismiss Kepler's identification of the kinematics of planetary orbits on observations, because he did not identify the underlying forces. Or, as silly as it would have been to try to dismiss Newton's finding that there is a principle of universal gravitation on grounds that he has not provided a mechanism for it. Which BTW, some DID indulge, only to be lashed by that worthy with his no me fingo remark. 8 --> In fact we see here and abandonment of a key aspect of the scientific method. Each well grounded finding stands on its own merits, and is a brick in the growing body of knowledge and insight. We do not have a method that identifies the who, when and how specifically of design, even though we long since know that here is more than one way to skin a cat. So what, we have a major achievement in hand: empirically reliable signs that credibly point to design as cause of the origin of life and major body plans, not the hitherto established assumption that incremental genetic accidents reinforced by differential reproductive success suffice to explain the world of life. 9 --> The second clip is even more revealing of a simplistic strawman being set up to be knocked over and used as the basis for ridicule and dismissal of the real case on the merits. 10 --> Now, the claimed mechanism of small favourable chance genetic variations reinforced by differential reproductive success in ecological niches, is held to explain not just minor variations that are often accompanied by loss of information [what we do observe] but the origin of major body plans requiring 10's - 100's of millions of bits of genetic info, dozens and dozens of times over, to account for the origin of major body plans. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DIRECTLY OBSERVED, and observation of a mechanism in the present is a reasonable requirement for demanding the right to project it into the remote past that we did not observe.
(Cf my ignored discussion of the warrant of scientific methods, on this question of addressing the unobserved past in light of dynamics and signs in the present, at 104 above. That refusal to engage the pivotal question of how scientific reconstructions of the remote unobservable past are made on a reasonable basis, is telling.)
11 --> Similarly, the search space challenge to form the sort of complex integrated functional entities that are key features of body plans that naturally leads tot he problem of islands of function isolated in vast config spaces, has not been seriously addressed on either observation or analysis by too many advocates of blind chance and mechanical necessity acting through generic variation and differential reproductive success. 12 --> As a result of this, a mechanism that partially explains variations within an island of function has improperly been extrapolated to the very different one of finding these islands in vast config spaces where the atomic resources of the solar system or cosmos we observe are demonstrably vastly inadequate to credibly find such unrepresentative zones. 13 --> What is really driving the process of thought by objectors such as DWG and MP, is this bit of a priori materialist metaphysics imposed on science and its methods and findings, as extracted from the NSTA declaration on the teaching of science of 2000, which is reflected in the notorious "Copycat" Jones ruling of 2005 in Dover, PA:
Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence [--> and, too often, when the empirical observations that should back up the mechanisms are missing, then icons are extrapolated and exaggerated to make it seem that the missing evidence is there] that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . . Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added. The Directors knew or should have known per duties of care that ever since Plato in the Laws Bk X 360 BC, the real alternative to blind chance and necessity is intelligence acting by art, and leaving empirically reliable signs. But it is ever so ideologically convenient to erect a "supernaturalism" strawman.]
14 --> In short, what is really going on is ideological a priori materialism seizing political control of science and science education, and imposing its agendas by virtue of that power. 15 --> Which is why ruthless or even nihilistic political faction tactics are routinely cropping up in the debates from the supporters of that agenda. Plato's warning, in light of the chaos triggered by Alcibiades in Athens c 400+ BC, should therefore give us all serious pause. To such, the highest right is might, and factions like that seek to live by the principle of ruthless domination.
This is happening in the wider information ideological battlespace to the point where I am beginning to wonder if part of what is happening here at UD is that the design issue is being caught up in the Internet battles surrounding a US election coming up in a couple of months. As the Weak Argument Correctives (accessible under the resources tab on this and every UD page) have long pointed out, a favourite tactic of ID objectors is to change the subject to political agendas, and insinuate that design theory is part of the alleged vast right wing theocratic conspiracy that seeks to bring back the inquisition, the rack -- a capital example of evil design put forth by Craig in his discussion and slide show -- and the crusades etc. Activists in such an agenda will be trained in distraction and talking point pushing, snowing-/ swarming- under tactics. We need to at least bear that possibility in mind. But more relevantly, what happens is that these sorts of tactics then begin to propagate, and begin to become a habitual pattern of debate -- red flag word -- on the Internet and on the ground. Much as, the destructive agit-prop tactics of the neo-marxist agitator Saul Alinsky have now become commonplace. And, the linked benumbing of conscience and sense of responsibility to truth and fairness, is wreaking far deeper havoc. It is time for objectors to design theory to get serious and soberly address the issues on the merits instead of the strawmen. KF kairosfocus
Onlookers: Pardon an observation. One of the rhetorical tactics that sometimes shows up in a blog type format, is the snow job. When a serious issue is on the table that would require serious reflections that point where one side of an issue would not go, it is often effective to bury it in a blizzard of tangential, red herring and strawman tactic based comments. Sometimes, this goes to the next step: soak in oil of ad hominems and ignite through either incendiary or subtly snide sparks, to create a choking and confusing cloud of poisonous, polarising rhetorical smoke. So, let us first note where the main issue for this tread from the original post stands on the merits. This can be summed up in a post that in a matter of a few hours, was buried some 70 posts deep, mostly driven by one or two objectors, who never seriously responded to the main issue. Clipping EA at 86 above, shortly after I had drawn attention back to the original issue:
Back to the opening topic of this thread, there are four basic responses to the argument that bad design means no design. For simplicity, I list these without details (which have been stated elsewhere) and in order of importance: 1. It is simply false on its face. We have myriad known, empirical examples of designed things that are ‘bad’ (suboptimal) or ‘bad’ (designed to cause pain, misery, death and the like). 2. It is a religious/philosophical argument, not a scientific one, and is based on questionable philosophical assumptions. 3. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of evil, cruel, etc., the alternative explanation (no design at all in nature) undercuts the the very argument being made. As a result, it is logically incoherent. 4. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of suboptimal, imperfect, etc., it is almost always the case that the design turns out, on further inspection, to be ingenious, exquisite, or completely appropriate (e.g., panda’s thumb, vertebrate eye). As a corollary, no materialist making the argument about suboptimal design has ever offered a cogent, engineering-level proposal of how the design could be improved. At most, we get broad handwaving assertions that the design could be better.
Observe the persistent ignoring of this issue by objectors over the past half-day or so, all across the life of the thread. That goes to show that they have no serious and cogent response on the merits. And, evidently, they have no sufficient sense of duty to the truth, the right and the fair to take up an interest in exploring the implications of a serious point, the only impulse we can discern is to go off on a tangent and to indulge in dismissive strawman distortions. Which can be seen for dozens and dozens of posts, persistently maintained in the teeth of repeated correction. Let me pick just one as a capital example, from MP at 119 above:
There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for. Therefore Intelligent Design. Yes, I get that. But what I really want to know is when did/does your designer act? All the time, directing every mutation in real time like you seem to imply with your “mutations are not random” line, or is the “Poof!” moment an injection of information into the GA in every cell that controls and directs mutation?
In a similar red herring - strawman tactic vein, we can see the same at 139 above:
2- No one can produce any evidence that nature didit. Therefore Intelligent Design. Jee, this is easy!
Now, MP et al were already directed to explore a serious and sustained 101 level educational presentation of the design perspective as a balancing view on origins science, from here on. One would have thought a serious interlocuter would have taken up the opportunity to get his or her facts and reasoning straight, so at least they would address the real design inference in its real context, not strawmen. One would have been wrong. This was of course ignored in the haste to play strawman tactic games as we saw above over the course of yesterday. For the benefit of the interested onlooker, let me provide some corrections to the clips just above: [ . . . ] kairosfocus
@ TIMAEUS post number 80 - Apology ahead of time for the length. TIMAEUS: Glad we agree on the basic facts about ID. However, your expression “true IDers” is undefined, and I wonder what it could possibly mean. It seems to imply that there are a lot of people going around calling themselves ID supporters who are either not ID supporters at all, or only half-baked ID supporters. I don’t understand that. ID has a fairly clear definition, and it is not that hard to say who supports it and who doesn’t. I suspect that a far higher percentage of ID proponents are YECs than you imagine. If we take not just the leadership, but add in the rank and file, I wouldn’t be surprised if 25-35% of ID supporters were YECs. I would expect the largest group would be the OECS, maybe 40-60% of the total. I would expect that 10-20% are either evolutionists (like Behe) or at least consider themselves open to evolution, provided the empirical evidence is there and that the evolutionary process is understood as guided or planned in some way, rather than due to randomness and natural selection. TJGUY: What I mean by true IDers are more the leaders of the movement who really understand the science. I have not seen even 1 article on Uncommon Descent that supports YEC ideas. But I’ve seen many that support the idea of an old earth. Have you ever seen a pro-YEC article by a leader in the ID movement? Maybe I have heard of one. I can’t think of his name right now, but his pro ID articles hardly ever deal with his YEC views s far as I know. So actually I am not aware of any pro YEC articles by ID scientists. When you think about it, there is no YECer that would deny that creation and life has an Intelligent Designer. So YECers are a subset of ID, but not all IDers agree with the YEC interpretation. The approach is totally different. Not all IDers believe in design by the God of the Bible, especially if you add the young earth idea to it. That is all I was trying to say. Personally, I would separate YEC from ID though. TIMAEUS: On Genesis 1, you are taking for granted something that many Biblical scholars would dispute, i.e., that the single verse in Genesis 1 from which animal vegetarianism might be inferred is a strong statement of animal vegetarianism. The verse doesn’t actually state that animals are all vegetarian, and the inference, while reasonable, is not a slam-dunk, because language is used elastically by writers and not always precisely. Most of the creatures people encounter everyday are herbivorous, not carnivorous, so the writer may have had in mind the typical case; alternately, the writer may have had in mind the indirect dependency of even carnivorous animals upon plants. TJGUY: “God said, “I am giving you all the grain bearing plants and all the fruit trees. These trees make fruit with seeds in it. This grain and fruit will be your food. 30 And I am giving all the green plants to the animals. These green plants will be their food. Every animal on earth, every bird in the air, and all the little things that crawl on the earth will eat that food.” And all these things happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.” Modern day biblical scholars may dispute that, but I think you will find that this was the dominant interpretation all through church history. It certainly fits well with the idea that God created a perfect world that was later damaged by sin and will once again be restored in the future. The passages in Isaiah fit with this interpretation nicely. God clearly says that He is giving all the green plants to the animals and that these plants will be their food. I prefer the obvious plain meaning of the words. If you go beyond these, then you can make the Bible say almost anything you want to. I think the onus is on you to show that the plain meaning of the words is NOT what God intended to communicate. Again, if this is not what God intended to communicate, then He didn’t do a very good job in communication since most people believed this vegetarian thing up until Science came along and corrected us. TIMAEUS: The case would be stronger if anything else in Genesis 1 supported the vegetarian interpretation, or even supported the view that Genesis 1 depicted a world unlike our own, i.e., more perfect than our own. But there is no indication that Genesis 1, in its general description or in its specific descriptions, has in mind anything but the world as we know it. It would be odd if in that one verse alone Genesis 1 suddenly became a “golden age narrative.” Personally, the “very good” statement that God made in 1:31 fits very nicely with this as does vs 29 where humans are given plants to eat as well. And it wasn’t until after the flood that God said humans could eat meat. So if vs 29 clearly means “no meat” for humans, then wouldn’t it seem like vs 30 would mean “no meat” for the animals too since they are written with the same words?! Plus there is Ch. 3 where God explains the curse. “cursed is the ground because of you;?in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;?and you shall eat the plants of the field.” One of the results of the curse is said very clearly to be thorns and weeds. Up until now, they didn’t have to worry about these things in God’s perfect creation, but now the ground is cursed and is producing thorns and weeds. Again, this tends to support the perfect creation that was damaged by sin. Romans 8 also speaks about creation groaning and being put in bondage. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” God subjected the creation to futility, but one day it will be redeemed, just like our physical imperfect bodies. TIMAEUS: “The other problem is that the rest of the Old Testament gives very little support to the notion.” True. There is no direct support, but Isaiah, Romans, and Revelation can certainly fit very naturally with this interpretation. Like I said before, this interpretation was the predominant interpretation of the early Church Fathers and that is important in my opinion – not that they could not have been mistaken, but it lends nice support to the accuracy of this interpretation. TIMAEUS: “The lion lying down with the lamb etc. can be understood as poetic language referring to the restoration of peace in the human world, and outside of such expressions in poetry, there is precious little to go on.“ If you choose to interpret that as poetry, then that is your choice. Even poetry has a basis in reality. Whether these descriptions are symbolic or literal, they convey the clear message that there is something wrong about animal carnivory, violence, pain and suffering. If these things were normal and “very good”, why should they be remedied in a future restoration? Besides, animal carnivory, violence, pain and suffering here is described by the word “hurt” which is also translated as “evil” in other passages. So it seems clear that it is a physical evil and would not have been present in God’s original creation. I think you want to change the clear meaning of the words and interpret it simply as world peace in order to support your TE view which literally would crumble if there was no animal death before humans. It is written clearly that the lion WILL lay down with the lamb. It fits nicely with idea of a perfect creation marred by sin and restored in the future. It makes sense of how a good God would intend the world to be. There will be no more death in heaven. So why would He create a world with death here and now? And not only that, why would He use death and suffering as the very tool for creating the variety of life that we see? Just doesn’t make sense to me, nor do I think it fits well with God’s Word. Remember humans were created with no death. Death passed on humans when? Only when Adam sinned. God said that if they would eat the fruit, they would surely die. The process of physical death began at that point and from that point on, because of Adam’s sin, physical death was a given for all humans – outside of Elijah and maybe Enoch. TIMAEUS: “There is no indication that the verses you quote from Revelation have anything other than human death in mind, and the same could be said of the passage you quote from Paul. Further, Job seems to be speaking about the original creation, not the fallen creation, when God describes an order of nature like the one we know today.” TJGUY: The point of Revelation is that the future eternal state will not have any death, pain, or suffering in it. It gives the idea that death, pain, and suffering is not ideal to God. So, I doubt there would be pain, death, or suffering among the animals in heaven either – like Isaiah seems to indicate. Even if there are NO animals in heaven, still the idea that God’s ideal world is free of death, pain, and suffering, says much about who God is and I think this has implications for how we interpret Genesis and His Word. TIMAEUS: “And Genesis 2 mentions nothing about original animal vegetarianism, or about any change in animal diets after the Fall.” TJGUY: Genesis 2 is a summary of the events of the 6th day of creation so of course it wouldn’t say anything about that. However, you are right that Genesis 3 does not say anything about that either, but the fact that it does say they were given plants for food and yet now we see them eating meat can support this view nicely. TIMAEUS: “When we take everything into account, and not just one verse in Genesis 1, the case for original animal vegetarianism in the Bible is not strong. It’s a possible interpretation, but that’s the most that can be said. So it’s hardly binding on Christians doctrinally. And of course there’s nothing about it in the Creeds.” I disagree with you here because taking everything into account instead of re-interpreting the Bible in a way to relegate this possible interpretation to just one verse, I think it fits quite nicely with the overall story of the Bible. But you are certainly welcome to your own interpretation. Certainly it is not important enough to be in any creed and our view on this has nothing to do with any requirement for heaven. I agree that it is not binding on Christians. TIMAEUS: “But back to the more general point: why couldn’t a God who “will be what he will be” ordain animal suffering? Fundamentalists don’t blink an eye when God orders the slaughter of innocent infants and the sexual enslavement of captive women after the genocide of whole peoples; why are they so troubled by the consumption of sheep by wolves or tuna by sharks? The Biblical God is clearly not a God whose main priority is to make sure that no one innocent ever suffers.” TJGUY: Why couldn’t He have ordained animal suffering? I guess there is nothing concrete that I could say to rebut that. I guess it is not an impossibility, but if He did that, it would not reflect on Him very well. It doesn’t fit well with what we know to be true about God from His Word. And especially, since the interpretation that “He didn’t ordain suffering, pain, and death among the animals in the beginning” is a clear possibility, I think it should be the preferred interpretation as did almost all of the Church Fathers. Father Rose in his book Orthodoxy and Genesis: What The Fathers Really Taught. One of the most important points repeatedly made by the ‘Fathers’ and by Rose was that the pre-Fall world was categorically different from the world that we live in now. His view and the view of the early Church Fathers was that the Fall and Curse had a profound effect on the whole Creation and that neither animals nor man were carnivores before the Fall, but probably only became so after the Flood. By the way, how are you using the word “fundamentalist” here? Who or what is a fundamentalist? Are you using it in a derogatory manner? Just curious. What do you mean by saying that fundamentalists don’t blink an eye….? Are you saying that you think there are people who are happy that those passages exist in the Bible? I don’t know if I want to identify myself as a fundamentalist, but personally, I have trouble understanding some of those passages, however, I recognize that God is God. He is holy and has the right to judge as He sees fit. Using the term innocent is a bit misleading as all humans are sinners and not really innocent. We sinned with Adam and are born into Satan’s kingdom. We are His enemy until we are reconciled with Him through Jesus. Genocide is not really a fair description of what happened and I resent you attributing that to God Almighty, your Creator. He always does what is right. Like I said, He is holy and has the right to judge as He sees fit. Judging evil is a good thing! Eternal punishment is also severe and it shows just how bad sin is in God’s eyes. Besides, this genocide was punishment for generations of sin. I would be very hesitant to criticize God for His holy judgments in situations that you didn’t observe and know very little about. TIMAEUS: “I think that YECs are under the spell of a modern form of sentimentalism in their angst over the fact of death in the created world. I think that the horror of death — other than early, violent or agonizing *human* death — is simply not a major theme in genuine, uncontaminated Hebraic thought. So I have no problem with an order of creation that includes death from the very beginning. Not *all* death is a result of human sin. And the part that isn’t the result of human sin, is in my view the duty of Christians to accept, not rail against.” TJGUY: You are free to think what you want. Am I under a spell? I don’t see it that way. I just believe what God tells us in His Word without trying to reinterpret it to meet the standards of modern science based on methodological naturalism. Evidently you feel that the interpretations of modern men using methodological naturalism based Science is more accurate and should be given more authority than the eyewitness accounts and authority of God’s Word. That is how I see it. TIMAEUS: “Not *all* death is a result of human sin. And the part that isn’t the result of human sin, is in my view the duty of Christians to accept, not rail against.” TJGUY: I understand that this is what you believe, but that is just your opinion. Again, that opinion differs with the common interpretation of Christians throughout church history. YECers believe the Bible does teach that all death is at least an indirect result of human sin. So, from our point of view, there is no death that is not a result of human sin to rail against. tjguy
mphillips- about the explanatory filter-> it is a process that mandates the user(s) follow Newton's four rules of scientific reasoning. Archaeologists have to follow that line of reasoning. Forensic scientists also must follow that line of reasoning. True it depends on the user and is as flawed as the user. But other than that what could any objection be about a process that mandates you follow the rules? Inquiring minds want to know... Joe
The thing is Joe that it was only in April 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix. You probably were alive then. It’s not been all that long. Since then we’ve discovered much. But some things we don’t know (yet) and some things we may never know.
No I wasn't alive back then and I see it upsets you that your position is so lame that all you can do is attack ID with your ignorance. Sweet... Joe
Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying.
Can do what Joe?
Not much of anything, obvioulsy. Definitely not more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites- heck not even one new protein.
It’s never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do “it” therefore Intelligent Design.
Nope- again that you can act like a little cry-baby in need of a bottle doesn't mean what you say means anything. Joe
Do you have any support for ID that is not just a list of things you think “evolutionism” can’t do.
Yes. Do you have any support for your position that isn't whiny equivocation? No. And anyone can reject ID. However it is very noticeable that those who reject ID can't find positive evidence for their position. And that makes their rejection just a whine. Joe
To get the design inference you still need positive evidence, ie match the criteria.
Ah, the explanatory filter?
Science. As I said you don't have a clue.
You claim that the CSI of a cake can be determined from it’s recipe and ingredients list, so that solves that.
The recipe is a capturing of the ACTIONS required. But then again you don't seem to be able to understand anything. Joe
Joe, Do you have any support for ID that is not just a list of things you think "evolutionism" can't do.
There isn’t any such thing a the “scientific community”
Not only is there a "scientific community" there is a list of scientific community's that explicitly reject intelligent design. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientific_societies_explicitly_rejecting_intelligent_design mphillips
Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying.
Can do what Joe? Care to get specific? But you know the trouble with that, if it's a gap it can only get smaller. And all you have to do is look around at all those millions of ex-gaps that never got filled with no "Intelligent Designer" and you don't have to be a betting man to see which way the wind is blowing. It's never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do "it" therefore Intelligent Design. mphillips
Yes, it is. How many mutations to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped?
How many interventions by the intelligent designer is it to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped? The thing is Joe that it was only in April 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix. You probably were alive then. It's not been all that long. Since then we've discovered much. But some things we don't know (yet) and some things we may never know. Therefore Intelligent Design. mphillips
Upright, Regarding questions that remain unanswered and in order to help me understand your argument, could you say if this is an accurate restating of your claim?
X1. All irreducibly complex systems are designed. X2. All semiotic systems are irreducibly complex. X3. Therefore, all semiotic systems are designed. Y1. A system involving representation(s) and protocol(s) is a semiotic system. Y2. Protein synthesis involves a representation and a protocol. Y3. Therefore, protein synthesis is a semiotic system. Z1. All semiotic systems are designed (by X3). Z2. Protein synthesis is a semiotic system (by Y3). Z3. Therefore, the protein synthesis system is designed.
As noted here: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=1108&cpage=1#comment-14949 To me it seem to be spot on. Is it? mphillips
To get the design inference you still need positive evidence, ie match the criteria.
Ah, the explanatory filter? Would you care to demonstrate it's usage? Perhaps you can run the symbol system through it and demonstrate it's design origin that way? What particular piece of evidence will you be using? Could we use a cake as an example? You claim that the CSI of a cake can be determined from it's recipe and ingredients list, so that solves that. Can you take it from there? mphillips
And wrt to the “theory” of evolution that is ALL that can be said- the jury is still out.
Except it’s not, is it?
Yes, it is. How many mutations to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped?
Biology does not need an “Intelligent Designer”,
Obviously it does.
it’s accepted it’s “Almost Intelligent Designer” AKA Evolution can produce “apparent design”.
Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying. Joe
Yet the scientific community appears to disagree with you.
they can disagree all they want to. they sure as heck don't have anything to support their disagreement. Nope- it has to start with what needs explaining in the forst place- you lose.
Ah yes, the “biology exists, therefore Intelligent Design”
No, but that is much more than your position has. And I have ponied up positive evidence for ID
Publish or perish Joe.
All the evidence for ID is in published papers. OTOH your position has nothing in published papers. Joe
And wrt to the “theory” of evolution that is ALL that can be said- the jury is still out.
Except it's not, is it? Biology does not need an "Intelligent Designer", it's accepted it's "Almost Intelligent Designer" AKA Evolution can produce "apparent design". So you are simply flat wrong. Unless you can provide a survey, say, of biologists showing near 50:50 support for ID your empty claim is just that, an empty claim. mphillips
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