This is just a memo for everyone out there. As you may know, my research thesis is the fine-tuning argument in light of the multiverse and my suggestion is that the multiverse exponentially strengthens the argument. I’ve traced multiverse scenarios back to the Church Father Origen and Paley (read the second chapter of Natural Theology). It doesn’t seem to be considered as actual until Hugh Everett in the mid twentieth century. If any of you have more information on the historical development I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
There have been quite the development of criticisms of Richard Dawkins in the last few weeks in light of his denial to debate Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. I’ve been a participant in the blogosphere and in the forums and I’m familiar with what others are saying about everything. The basic principle that’s being asserted is that Dawkins will have a monologue concerning his arguments against God but he will not dialogue about it. I mean really, why debate the existence of fictitious entities and fairies?
I was in a tweebate (tweet debate) with another person [whom shall remain anonymous] over a previous post of mine where I claimed that Ken Miller’s argument against irreducible complexity was a bad argument (I really don’t like Twitter debates/conversations either). This person went on about how Miller’s argument convinced Judge Jones and my position was that it’s actually quite embarrassing that the argument would convince anyone (see my post for the context). Then he claimed the type three secretory system is an objection to irreducible complexity in the bacterial flagellum, which prompted me to claim that it may indeed be IC itself and there are arguments that the flagellum may have come first. Anyways, those aren’t what interests me. The argument that I had never heard before was:
ID claims are anything but modest. Incapacity to imagine other explanations of our beginnings is not evidence of ID. Non sequitur.
Let me be clear, I have never claimed anywhere at any time… ever… that one should be a proponent of intelligent design because of an incapacity to imagine other explanations. So first of all, this argument belongs in a cornfield scaring away the crows. Secondly, this is an utterly blatant attack on my imagination! I’ve got a great imagination! (Okay, the second point isn’t really a part of my argument.) It’s true, if anyone did make an argument for ID based on a lack of imagination it would be a non sequitur since one’s capacity to imagine something has nothing to do with the truth claim (as long as the claim is sound/rational, I cannot imagine the actualization of a contradiction). I’m fairly confident anyone familiar with intelligent design and the state of the evolution controversy would never make an argument for intelligent design like this. In fact, no one should ever make such an argument for ID like this.
I’ve explained before in my post on God and Darwinism, the reasons why I’m not a Darwinist are for two reasons: 1) the origin of information must be mind and 2) there is objective teleology in the world and primarily human beings. I do believe the argument from irreducible complexity is a good argument for ID but I’m not going to die on that hill. I think intelligent causation is a legitimate scientific hypothesis and explanation. However, there are certain philosophical truths that press the argument. I could care less if man evolved from a common ancestor but this evolution could not have occurred without a mind acting on the origin of the information in DNA and I believe man [evolves] with an end goal in mind. That’s why I reject Darwinism.
This objection to intelligent design is within a theistic philosophy and theology. The theistic evolutionist would make the arguments for Darwinism just like the atheist would make his arguments for Darwinism; the only difference is that the former is a theist. Asa Gray (1810-1888) was a proponent of evolution who suggested that God guided evolution. The problem for the theistic evolutionist at this point is that if God guides evolution, it is design. Guidance implies purpose and involvement. The theistic evolutionist, so defined as God guiding evolution, is not really a detractor from design, rather he would be a proponent of common decent, which is entirely compatible with design.
It was not until the early twentieth century when a movement that emphasized Darwinian natural selection did theistic evolution attempt to reconcile unguided evolution with God. The following theistic evolutionist present an appropriate summation for the current understanding:
“An evolutionary universe is theologically understood as creation allowed to make itself.”
“Mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained… we are here… as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.”
“Evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified. Thus, God could be completely and intimately involved in the creation of all species, while from our perspective, limited as it is by the tyranny of linear time, this would appear a random and undirected process.”
It may be important to distinguish the last quote from Collins from the former quotes. It is difficult, even impossible, to distinguish Collins’ position as not being intelligent design. Why would Collins use the human perspective as the objective standard for whether or not there actually is design? He willingly concedes that God could be intimately involved in creating yet it is illusory to the human perspective.
The argument from cognitive relations may be understood as an argument from omniscience or providence. If God allows any state of affairs to be actualized, and knows that it will happen, and then there is a teleology in that events actualization. The underlying principle is what is called “purposive permission.” This principle makes a minimal commitment to any event X, such that X will come to be either by it being permitted to occur or by being strongly actualized to occur. Purposive permission assumes that if any event is permitted to happen then it is within the will of the knowing agent that the event be actualized. If the event were known that it would come to pass and it was not desired to come to pass, then it would not have been permitted to be and would not have happened. Under the current understanding of unguided evolution, the only way to reconcile that with theism is to adopt process theology, an understanding that God is not ontologically perfect and is literally evolving with the world.
 John Polkinghorne, Faith, Science, and Understanding (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 23, 111, 197.
 Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin’s God (New York: Harper Perennial, 2000), 272-273.
 Francis Collins, The Language of God (New York: Free Press, 2006), 205.
 Even weak understandings of cognitive relations, or interactions, would still render design (categorically defined from an orthodox perspective). All that would require from the knowing agent (God) is that, within the mind, there must at least be two moments of knowledge: natural knowledge (the first logical moment) and free knowledge (the last logical moment). In the first moment the agent must know all tautologies and every possible circumstance. The final moment is knowing the actual world, the current, past, and future state of affairs. The only theistic model that does not hold to these two moments would be the process model. I want to note, that open theism would not even be compatible with a Darwinist understanding of evolution because God would only be ignorant of future contingencies that involved human freedom.
This video has been out for a while but I just saw it reposted on a blog I saw through Twitter. I’m not going to summarize the video here; rather, just give it a quick watch, it’s only two minutes.
Honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing and I feel bad for him. His attempt to disprove irreducible complexity demonstrates that 1) he doesn’t actually understand it or 2) displaces the information. When he changed the mousetrap to function as a tie clip that tie clip then becomes a new mechanism. Whether that tie clip was actually irreducibly complex or not doesn’t matter. His attempt would be correct if he could remove or change a part of the mouse trap while keeping it’s function as a mouse trap.
As for the scholarship of intelligent design and irreducible complexity, he’s simply incorrect there as well. Darwinists always do this and it’s just annoying and dishonest (or simply wrong). For a list of peer-reviewed articles that have been published in regards to intelligent design and irreducible complexity (and yes, the words are used in the articles, sorry Ken) please see the Discovery Institute’s list.
James White is the director of Alpha and Omega ministries focused on apologetics. I’ve learned a lot about my own theological position as well as others because of his ministry and service. To be honest, I don’t agree with a few things he believes. For instance, I’m a Molinist (he’s not the biggest fan), evidentialist, and an old-earth creationist. Despite our disagreements he has my utmost respect and esteem. He is passionate about God, the gospel, the Church, and the unsaved. I’m a faithful listener of his podcast, The Dividing Line, and there have been moments when I shake my head at some points he makes and there are other times when I’m cheering him on.
I respect White for his defense of the faith from cults, atheists, Islam, Roman Catholicism, unitarians, and others. Where White earns my greatest respect is his integrity and honesty in scholarship and ministry. You won’t find him quote mining or warping his citations. He does the work, he does the research, and he presents it well. Now, on another note, I’m a philosophy graduate student at Liberty University. For those who are familiar with White you’ll know where I’m going with this. White demanded accountability from Caner, the university, and the church for so many discrepancies [and contradictions] Caner asserted about himself. All parties remained silent while all White did was demand honesty and integrity. Thank you, Dr. White.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with White please check out his YouTube channel, his podcasts, and his website. You don’t have to agree with him all the time but you will learn a lot.