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Posts Tagged ‘Design Arguments’

Dallas Willard on David Hume’s acknowledgement of the design argument in Knowing Christ Today:

The almost irresistible impression of a “maker” of the physical universe is no doubt what Paul was referring to when he claimed that the existence and nature of God was “plain” or “shown” to humans. This impression remains very strong up to today. David Hume, often thought to be the prince of modern skeptics, conceded: “The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author; and no rational enquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion.”5  This same outlook survives in the later, carefully guarded concession of Hume’s “Philo,” in the posthumously published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, “That the cause or causes of order in the universe probably bear some remote analogy to human intelligence.”6

Misunderstandings of Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” have in more recent times blunted the impact of the reasoning behind this conclusion in the minds of people generally. But in recent years an increased understanding of the astonishing complexity of life has led some who were longtime atheists to reconsider their position.7

The notes are interesting too, and I may add a bit more with comment later.

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Tim Keller on civil discourse, from Reason for God Introduction pp. xviii-xix:

Believers and nonbelievers will rise to the level of disagreement rather than simply denouncing one another.  This happens when each side has learned to represent the other’s argument in its strongest and most positive form.  Only then is it safe and fair to disagree with it.  That achieves civility in a pluralistic society, which is no small thing.

Tim is talking about discourse between believers and unbelievers. How much more does this apply to discussions among believers?

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In the chapter “All the World’s a Stage” in his book The Edge of Evolution, Michael Behe has an excellent discussion of the evidence of design in the fine-tuning of nature.  He catalogs many different areas of science where this fine-tuning is found.  This graphic, (“The surprising degree of fine-tuning of nature required for life on earth”) which summarizes the chapter, appears on page 218 of his book, and I view it as “Michael Behe’s Design Spectrum”:

Behe discusses fine-tuning in all of these areas:

1.  Finely Tuned Laws

2.  Finely Tuned Properties

3.  Finely Tuned Details

4.  Finely Tuned Events

5.  Origin of Life as a Finely Tuned Event

6.  Descent by Nonrandom Mutation as Multiple Finely Tuned Events

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How many false and misleading statements can you find in this passage from The Language of God, by Francis Collins, published in 2006?

Intelligent Design burst on the scene in 1991.  Some of its roots can be traced to earlier scientific arguments pointing out the statistical improbability of the origins of life.  But ID places its major focus not on how the first self-replicating organisms came to be, but rather on perceived failings of the evolutionary theory to account for life’s subsequent stunning complexity.

ID’s founder is Phillip Johnson, a Christian lawyer at the University of California at Berkeley, whose book Darwin on Trial first laid out the ID position.  Those arguments have been further expanded by others, especially Michael Behe, a biology professor whose book Darwin’s Black Box elaborated the concept of irreducible complexity.  More recently, William Dembski, a mathematician trained in information theory, has taken up a leading role as expositor of the ID movement.

(more…)

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