Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wishful Thinking...

William Dembski hopes the new pope will come down against evolution.

But in so doing, he reveals his somewhat disingenuous take on evolution.

Dembski quotes from Ratzinger saying:

It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error…

Now Dembski claims a Ph.D. in mathematics, and touts a knowledge of Information Theory. As such he should know that Probability and Measure Theory do not state the cause of an underlying set function; they are merely presumed as axiomatic. The "cause" of the underlying set function that governs probabilities of random occurrences is irrelevant to the study of probability.

So the term "chance" when used in a technical, mathematical sense is simply a phenomenological statement; no underlying "cause" is either implied or dismissed. Thus there is no tension between what Ratzinger says here and what John Paull II said on evolution; they are both in agreement as to the metaphysics (and a non-Christian's mileage will still vary).

It is interesting that this "Intelligent" "Design" proponent relies not only on a religious authority, but also George W. Bush (antagonist of the "reality based commun ity") to attack science.

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