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Oxford Conference Update


Ian Ramsey Centre The Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford

A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the program for the upcoming Ian Ramsey Centre conference, “God, Nature, and Design” to be held July 10-13, 2008 at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. An updated list of contributed papers has been posted. The list is noteworthy both for the range of topics considered, and the variety of home institutions of the authors. Should be a lively meeting.

Hi Eric, I'll take notes on all the talks (assuming I make them all, which is my plan at this point) and report back here in July. Paul Nelson
Paul, this looks to be a very interesting conference, with a lot of thought-provoking material. Best wishes in your presentation. I'd be interested to know whether any of the criticisms against ID stack up. For example, in Doran's summary, it appears he is arguing that you must presuppose something about the designer. I'd be interested to know if he is just fleshing out the tired criticism or if he has some new and useful thoughts about the issue. Eric Anderson
I also noticed that our esteemed host here is mentioned in a contributed paper:
And God said, ‘Let there be Specified Complexity': a critical appraisal of intelligent design Chris Doran Pepperdine University Prominent Intelligent Design (ID) proponent William Dembski argues that ID is a three-pronged research agenda. First, it is a potentially fecund scientific research program. Second, ID is a critique of philosophical naturalism. Third, he maintains that ID is a new way for Christians to conceptualize divine action. One of Dembski's principal assertions is that ID as a scientific research program is under no obligation to identify the nature and/or identity of the designer behind ID. This is a task left to philosophers and theologians, not scientists. My contention, however, is that ID cannot launch its potential scientific research program without presupposing particular characteristics about the identity of the designer. In this paper, I make these implicit presuppositions about the designer explicit. Furthermore, I explore the theological problems of associating the designer behind ID with the God of Jesus Christ. This paper fits well with the conference's major themes in that it participates in the debate about Intelligent Design from a new vantage point. Instead of discussing how ID science compares with evolutionary biology, I examine ID's implicit presuppositions about its potential scientific program and compare them with ID's own explicit statements about what it is actually trying to accomplish. Moreover, this paper fits with this conference by analyzing the language Christians use to depict divine action, particularly as ID proponents employ “designer” when speaking of God.
I wonder if the rabble rouser in question was asked to participate. And if not, why not. jstanley01
This sounds lively (I'm guessing that these short blurbs are just the Abstracts):
Do Variational Principles in Physics Presuppose a Teleology? Stephen Ames University of Melbourne A sketch of one route to an affirmative answer. A published objection to an affirmative answer (e.g. against Planck) is that action integrals with their Lagrangians are just a mathematical re-expression of laws of physics in the standard form of second order differential equations. The latter provide evidence at most for efficient not final causes. The objection would fall given an alternative physical route to obtaining the relevant Lagrangians, and from there deriving the laws of physics in standard form. An alternative is provided by B.R.Frieden et.al. , who answer the question, ‘where does physics get its Lagrangians?' in terms of a ‘Fisher information' approach to physics. They have derived a very large number of the laws of physics (quantum mechanics, general relativity, statistical mechanic, transport equations) as well as generating new results open to empirical investigation. Their work is published in international, peer reviewed physics journals. Given these results, what justifies a move from physics to metaphysics? The justification depends on (i) the fact that logical structure of the above derivations shows the laws of physics to be rationally tuned (not ‘fine-tuning') to idealized empirical inquiry (not consciousness) and (ii) the logical inability of attempts to explain this ‘tuning' in terms of ‘multiple universes' or evolutionary cosmology, or indeed any physical theory – plausibly construed. It is shown why any explanation must presuppose a teleology, viz.,the universe is structured in order to be known by empirical inquiry. I call this a ‘metaphysics of inquiry'.
Another relevant conference at Oxford: http://www.naturaltheology.org/beyondpaley_home.html Phil W
Based on his Expelled interview, Dawkins has clearly stated that ID is possible. It just can't be God. And by fiat (thus sayeth Dawkins) any original intelligence HAD to have arrived via Darwinistic processes. Where's the scientific method in THAT? Graceout
Checked the list and found this: "Richard Dawkins' Criticism of the Design Argument" We've heard his "criticisms" of ID, and I think due to recent events he would serve himself well to just save himself the embarrassment by joining our side. Which apparently is no longer consisted of pseudoscience :D Judging by the premise of that paper I think it will present a strong case for the idea that the simplest way to the evidence is by a single teological process and not 10 to the umptillionth power universes. F2XL

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