27 August, 2005

Another problem with creationism

People who believes in creationism should use Microsoft rather than Unix and should insist that their baggage be carried on this thing rather than transported by the system that has evolved over the past century or two in train stations and airports worldwide. The thing is, stuff that's created new doesn't work.

For all the talk about a divine watchmaker, watch design has itself evolved in response to environmental pressures. Early timepieces looked nothing like today's: the most common, worldwide, was a weir of water that dripped through a hole at a controlled rate, gradually filling a tank. Each time the tank filled to a certain level, it tipped over and either rang a bell or caused a ratchet to click one "tick" forward. If you knew how many bells there were per day, you could tell time. Then, thanks to a profusion of "offspring" with slight differences, followed by their adoption in the "environment" (aka marketplace), eventually the water-bucket principle was applied to metal springs with controlled tension that ticked the tock one carefully calibrated second forward each, you know, second.

Not that I need to convince you or anything. Just another way of thinking about this stuff.

And don't give me that "god is the perfect watchmaker" crap because if he's so perfect, how come I don't have a job?


stuff that's created new doesn't work 

This is more of an argument for creation than against it. 

Posted by DearDarlingDidi

That picture is priceless; it reminds me of Toy Story II.

I dunno. I don't really feel like getting into this discussion right now b/c I know that where it counts I'm firmly on your side. We're all talking about this right now b/c we don't want creationism to be taught in public schools or passed of as science. But a small part of me bristles slightly at the notion that the idea that one must limit one's scientific and political discussion of the origins and mechanisms of life to observables, and therefore essentially to evolution, automatically implies that one can have no personal thought of a creator, or that such a thought is as illogical and obviously idiotic as the Denver airport system.

I mean, your notions of what a "creator" can and cannot be seem somewhat limited in scope and flexibility. It is possible to conceive of a god who would exactly not want a Universe that revealed his or her existence in any unarguable way and therefore, sort of let it organize itself. There are theological arguments for guessing that such a god might exist. In my mind those arguments go perfectly in hand with not persuading non-believers with those arguments but that doesn't mean that believers are necessarily idiots.  

Posted by Saheli

I think the real debate here is what Saheli's comment points to (at least for me)--whether or not you accept the methodology of science/empiricism and all its results as a limiting factor for your preconceptions about the divine or whether you don't (and vice versa). Intelligent design is a load of horseshit because it tries to tie a perfectly reasonable sensation (that the universe is miraculous and wondrous and complex and it's unfortuante for it to be reduced to nuts and bolts) to politicotheological ends--its proponents try to make you make a choice between your rational mind and your religious (christian) mind and for anyone who's religious, that's just torture and unnecessary for personal reasons. it's akin to asking someone to choose between various identities in a civil war (national, ethnic, etc.).

A similar theory that argued for the possibility , rather than the certainty, of a creator (or creative force) which premised itself on absorbing all scientific truths of the time is perfectly sound as far as I can tell (it's almost tautologically sound). you can throw whatever facts you want in the mix and the belief will shape itself around that.

I suspect I'm not saying anything new :) 

Posted by Saurav

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