That’s all well and good, as long as Behe isnt actually a Christian. But i think he probably is, dont you?
And if he is, for the Pool Shot Scenario to scematically include human Free Will, and God speaking to his worshippers (as in prayer or as described in the Bible), we need to tweak the Pool Shot’s visual symbolism (100 smaller balls with brownian movement apparatus).
Even if we didnt tweak it, the effort to design is itself a miraculous operation and thus, according to my long held views in opposituon to many or most ID folks, not subject to scientific examination.
First, Ive certainly said that my tweaked version was my own belief would require.
Second, so you go ‘on record’ that Behe has no intention of modeling any miraculous activity in his Pool Shot model. And you feel so strongly about your position you want to ridicule my suggestion.
Third, nobody ever said you lacked an opinion, Eddie. And nobody ever said that about me.
Frankly, I can honestly say it never crossed my mind that a Pro-Design Christian would make a model that intentionally excluded miraculous activity.
There is no need for it to include those things, since human free will does not exist until humans exist, and God speaking to his worshippers does not happen until human beings exist, and Behe is talking about the process that leads from the Big Bang UP TO human beings, not how God relates to human beings after they are created. You are caught up in the same anachronistic confusion that Darrel Falk was perpetually in, when he kept going on about the need of “Wesleyan freedom” for God’s creatures. Sea slugs don’t have free will, and there is no need to construct an evolutionary model to give them free will. And mushrooms don’t pray or worship, so there is no need to construct an evolutionary model that allows them to do so. You’re trying to make the Pool Shot analogy into a complete Christian theology of God’s relationship to his creatures, and that’s not what the analogy is for. It has a single, very limited, very narrow purpose: to show that intelligent design is in principle compatible with a wholly naturalistic (no miracle) evolutionary process. You’re trying to make it do work it wasn’t meant to do, and that is why you keep distorting Behe’s meaning. If you would just let Behe make the limited point he wants to make, and stop trying to bring his thought into harmony with yours, you would not be having the problem you are having.
it’s perfectly understandable that a pro-design Christian, for pedagogical purposes, would acknowledge that a wholly naturalistic process of evolution, that required no miracles, interventions, special divine action, etc. (pick your own term) might have been set up God. That implies no endorsement of the idea by the pro-design Christian. Professors in philosophy, history, and all kinds of subjects set forth alternative hypotheses for many things, without implying that they personally agree with all those hypotheses. You are making difficulties out of something that is easy to understand.
There is no need to talk about “front-loading” at all once humans are on the scene, so I don’t see the value of your second category. Unless you are going to argue that God “front-loaded” the history of the Macedonian, Persian, Roman etc. empires, which I doubt you would argue. But even if that is the sort of thing you have in mind, it isn’t at all what Behe was talking about in the interview, so it’s another subject altogether.
I hate to disagree with one of my ID heroes, Paul Nelson, but here goes. He writes:
Not only is this possible; it has actually been done. The shot was made by Henry McCoy, playing against Clint Barton, at the Stark estate in New York City in 1980. The event was recorded. Here is the video:
“So your view is that God decreed the entire course of human history,
including those parts of it that depend on decisions made by human
free will? I didn’t know that you were such a Calvinist.”
Eddie, I used to be even MORE of a Calvinist. But ironically,
philosopher extraordinaire - - Daniel C. Dennett - - unintentionally
convinced me that there had to be Free Will!
But comfortable nature of my personal “seat” is aided by the Unitarian
Universalist analogy of the Chess Master Scenario (the Chess Master
defeats all contenders without violating anyone’s Freedom), and my
personal (very personal) inclination towards “meaning in the Universe”
(< Eddie, there’s no point in disputing my PERSONAL positions; they
are not accessible by pure logic).
My challenge was to integrate the chaotic aspect of Free Will into
something like God’s Pool Shot scenario; as soon as I read Behe’s
description of it, I knew I had the combination I needed.
I like the Chess Master analogy, personally – but it’s quite different from what Behe, Denton, etc. mean when they talk about flawless pool shots, programmed evolution, front-loading, etc.
In the Chess Master analogy, agents make their own decisions and thus influence the detailed course of events, but God makes sure the final outcomes are what he wants. I think that the story of Jonah provides a good example of that. Jonah didn’t go to Nineveh on the first camel caravan, as God commanded, so God, after letting him express his “free will protest” by procrastinating and evading, caused him to be carried to Nineveh against his will. But in a rigidly front-loaded version of the Jonah story, parallel to the mechanical determinism of the pool shot, God would have set things up from eternity (including the sort of obedient soul Jonah would have) so that Jonah would have agreed to go to Nineveh the moment he was asked, and the strategy of the big fish would never have been necessary. Based on a past remark of yours showing dislike of the passage about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, I don’t think you want to go there – to a God who controls the free will of men, as opposed to respecting and responding to their free will choices. So you can’t use the pool shot analogy where human decisions are involved. Behe wisely restricts the pool shot analogy to the realm of organic evolution, and doesn’t apply it to human affairs.
(S. Joshua Swamidass)
split this topic
You wrote: “I like the Chess Master analogy, personally – but it’s
quite different from what Behe, Denton, etc. mean when they talk about
flawless pool shots, programmed evolution, front-loading, etc.”
Building a personal edifice combining variegated elements makes the
edifice more resilient … if you know what you are doing. I haven’t
had a doubt in the 3 years since I reasoned that we do have Free Will.
You also write: “But in a rigidly front-loaded version of the Jonah
story, parallel to the mechanical determinism of the pool shot, God
would have set things up from eternity (including the sort of obedient
soul Jonah would have) so that Jonah would have agreed to go to
Nineveh the moment he was asked, and the strategy of the big fish
would never have been necessary.”
Eddie, I don’t think I’ve ever read something so presumptuous in my
life. You are trying to tell me what God is thinking and planning?
Wow. A 45 year old rabbi would rip your analysis to shreds.
Take a nap.
You wrote: “Based on a past remark of yours showing dislike of the
passage about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, I don’t think you want
to go there – to a God who controls the free will of men, as opposed
to respecting and responding to their free will choices. So you can’t
use the pool shot analogy where human decisions are involved. Behe
wisely restricts the pool shot analogy to the realm of organic
evolution, and doesn’t apply it to human affairs.”
I believe I was pretty clear that I do not think God “controls the
free will of men”. The Chess Master Analogy does not support that
idea. And the story of what Moses says about Pharaoh is not a story
that I believe is true (or valid).
Frankly, I think the “hardening of Pharaoh’s heart” is one of those
old school positions that you and “your people” are forced to work
around… and that it emerged from a culture where there was no
systematic theology to keep them from coming up with stuff like that.
And finally, you tell me once again that you are positive you know
what Behe is thinking… and yet when I heard his discussion on the
Pool Shot, it worked perfectly for me. Maybe there is even a third
interpretation that neither one of us has anticipated… I guess we’ll
just wait and see!
If you re-read my post on MY version of the pool shot, I wrote it
specifically to emphasize how the Pool Shot can be used where
human decisions are involved. The only critique I accepted from you
on the model was that it may not have any connection to what was going
on in Behe’s mind. But the dynamics of the Brooks Pool Shot model
work just fine.
As happens so often, George, you read too quickly, and react harshly before you have really chewed on and understood what is being said. I didn’t say anything about how the real God actually thinks and plans. I was trying to show how the sort of determinism one finds in the pool shot analogy might be translated into an alternate story of Jonah. Under the pool ball analogy, Jonah would have to become as passive and obedient as a pool ball is when struck by another pool ball. He would do exactly what God said, exactly when God asked him, but he would be like a programmed android in a science fiction story, presenting the similitude of being human while all the while functioning like a machine. And I was agreeing with you that God has not created human beings to be that way, but allows them the freedom to make difficulties, put up resistance, procrastinate, evade, waver, etc. But as happens so often, you don’t listen sympathetically enough to what I’m saying to realize when I’m trying to agree with you; you just let loose a blast when some phrase that you’ve read far too quickly irks you.
“I’m not certain, however, that the type of literature that the Bible
is will allow for the tightness of system that one would find in a
book by Spinoza or Aquinas or Calvin. There may always be some loose
ends that Christians just have to leave unresolved.”
I certainly have to agree with you about that.
You also wrote: “Of course, all of this that I’ve just said is about
God-human interactions, and not at all about evolutionary pool shots
that move the universe from the Big Bang to man. Behe’s image of the
pool shot calls to mind the old ideal of Laplacean mechanism, whereas
a chess game between two players who choose their own moves doesn’t do
And I certainly have to disagree about your last sentence. Maybe
Behe doesn’t intend for his Pool Shot to accommodate the Chess Master
element. But the Pool Shot dynamics that I incorporate into my
personal model handles it just fine. Humans have Free Will… and God
has an endless number of middle and end games to accomplish what he
wants to accomplish… oh, and it leads to Universal redemption. God
really knows how to run the joint!
Yes, you were, and I was agreeing with you, and supplying the Jonah story as an example where God cut Jonah some slack to procrastinate and evade his duty.
I agree, and that was the point of my remarks.
Which is exactly what I said – that you did not like that story, and would not have wanted God to handle Jonah’s resistance in that way, but to give Jonah some decision-making space.
I have no idea who “my people” are, and I don’t know when I’ve tried to “work around” the statement. In fact, in one of my academic publications I emphasized the statement, and drew attention to it. But if anything, it is systematic theologians (Augustine, Calvin, Aquinas, etc.) who have intensified that kind of determinism, drawing attention to it even more than it is drawn attention to in the Bible, so systematic theology is hardly the cure for such difficult statements. So your last comment seems to affirm the opposite of what is the case.
And that’s what I’d rather hear about from you – what Brooks thinks, not what Brooks thinks Behe thinks, or what Brooks thinks Collins thinks, etc. In almost every case where you have purported to relate the thought of someone else, that someone else’s thought mysteriously comes out as sounding a lot like George Brooks’s thought. (I still remember cases where Brad Kramer jumped in to stress that statements you made about BioLogos were your own and were not to be taken as the BioLogos position!) Rather than see you go to the effort of massive reinterpretation of others to match your ideas, I’d rather you just gave your ideas straight out. I probably would agree with them at least half the time.