Jump to content


- - - - -

Orthodoxy and the 'Intelligent Design Movement'


  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#41 Jonathan Hayward

Jonathan Hayward

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 147 posts

Posted 21 May 2011 - 12:23 PM

Regarding the comment that our spines are not designed for walking upright and our jaws are too short:

I remember hearing about one person's argument that our bodies were wrong because, for instance, we do not operate at 100% efficiency using the materials we take in (hence we have bathrooms).

What strikes me is that the human body is being evaluated against some set of criteria which makes us think we know better than our Creator. The argument about spine and jaw is an argument about what would be optimal given a certain outlook that, if it does not assume evolution, is none the less shaped by evolutionary kinds of assumptions about what would be optimal. To my knowledge, only people well-versed in what on evolutionary grounds would be considered optional raise these objections to intelligent design.

I'm not quite sure I'd call it begging the question, but the claim "The human body is not optimal" should be replaced by "The human body is not optimal when viewed against this set of criteria."

Christos

#42 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 21 May 2011 - 12:24 PM

Souls and angels, too, are bodiless and are not in any one place, but they are not everywhere. They do not encompass everything, but themselves need the all-encompassing God, and are in Him Who embraces and contains all things, with their limits suitably set by Him.
St Gregory Palamas Homily 19


The Fathers often put it that the angels have immaterial bodies.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#43 Evan

Evan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 481 posts

Posted 21 May 2011 - 01:35 PM

Regarding the comment that our spines are not designed for walking upright and our jaws are too short:

I remember hearing about one person's argument that our bodies were wrong because, for instance, we do not operate at 100% efficiency using the materials we take in (hence we have bathrooms).

What strikes me is that the human body is being evaluated against some set of criteria which makes us think we know better than our Creator. The argument about spine and jaw is an argument about what would be optimal given a certain outlook that, if it does not assume evolution, is none the less shaped by evolutionary kinds of assumptions about what would be optimal. To my knowledge, only people well-versed in what on evolutionary grounds would be considered optional raise these objections to intelligent design.

I'm not quite sure I'd call it begging the question, but the claim "The human body is not optimal" should be replaced by "The human body is not optimal when viewed against this set of criteria."

Christos


We should probably also add that are bodies now are not what they were. Reading the Fathers, one finds an insistence that fatigue, aches and pains, etc., had no place in Paradise. Christ assumed these physical frailties, blameless in and of themselves (it's not a "sin" to be tired!), but certainly the result of having become mortal.

In Christ,
Evan

#44 Jonathan Hayward

Jonathan Hayward

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 147 posts

Posted 21 May 2011 - 01:46 PM

One P.S. I might like to add:

The church's calendar year, with its moving Pascha and associated dates, is in the terms of computer science what may be called an algorithm, meaning that there's a deterministic rule that computers can calculate, and indeed one may find Paschalion calculators on the web that determine Pascha and associated dates for any of many given years, and presumably not by looking things up in a table, but by "on-the-fly" calculations.

As far as algorithms go, I don't know the algorithm but I am positive it is Rube Goldberg by algorithm standards. Computer science is the study of algorithms, said Knuth, and simplicity is a virtue among algorithms; Rube Goldberg complexity is a red flag. By the standards of software engineering and computer science, the algorithm for Pascha is pretty bad.

Now let me ask: is this a problem, or reason to doubt, that Intelligence set the ecclesiastical calendar, or merely the result of applying a human standard to the ecclesiastical calendar that has stepped beyond its best bounds?

Christos Jonathan

#45 Jonathan Hayward

Jonathan Hayward

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 147 posts

Posted 21 May 2011 - 04:38 PM

P.S.

The argument that "If we are designed, the designer is a sadist or idiot" seems to focus on arguing that from an evolutionary perspective, we are poorly adapted to the niche we fulfill.

This may be an argument against intelligent design or it may be something else. But it is holding design up to the yardstick of evolutionary fitness to our present-day niche.

Which is a bit like holding the rules for calculating Pascha up to the yardstick of what makes good computer software. Only a bit, but they have something in common.

Christos




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users