Monday, February 06, 2006

Robin Collins' take on ID

HT: Tom Gilson


Andrew Staroscik said...

I do not understand what Collins is arguing here. Both physicists and biologists do acknowledge apparent design in nature. The key word here is apparent.

Since IDers claim to have proof that the design real, the strongest ID advocates will reject these ideas outright because they want ID to be considered nothing less than a true science.

From the other direction, those of us actively engaged in research have no need to consider a designer. The high degree of apparent order in many natural systems (something IDer want to attribute to god) is already understood to be natural, emergent property of complex, nonlinear processes. These complex systems (both biotic and abiotic) are being actively studied by many scientists. Deepening our understanding them represents one of the biggest challenges facing modern science.

Forget about evolution and biology for a second, consider a relatively simple abiotic example: an eddy in a creek. A small twig in the right place can completely disrupt the eddy but as soon as the twig is removed, the eddy will reform. The eddy is an emergent property of the flow of water along the contours of the creek. It is a nonlinear process and very difficult to model but it has a completely naturalistic explanation.

How does looking at the presence of the eddy as having been designed by god improve our ability to elucidate the underlying principles that give rise to it? IDer’s have not offered an answer to this question. Neither has Collins.

Anonymous said...

Collins seems to give a lot of weight to the fine-tuning argument. So he would probably focus more on the probabilities of certain conditions required for conscious life to exist than on the behavior of non-linear systems. I'm not sure that even the strong ID proponents argue that every aspect of reality would exhibit design characteristics. They might be perfectly happy describing certain systems in terms of non-linear differential equations.