Thursday, January 06, 2005

Michael Murray: Natural Providence (or design trouble)

Michael J. Murray

But why think that IDT advocates are stuck with this problem, a problem we might call the empirical vacuity problem? The answer, once again, can be found in the poker case above. If

  • a) one acknowledges that designed outcomes might in principle be explained either via deck-stacking or intervention and,
  • b) we have no access to the actual sequence of events that led to the obtaining of the apparently designed outcome,11 then,
  • c) there are no empirical grounds for favoring explanations via law over explanation via design.

The point becomes clear when we consider cases in which friends of IDT think design is empirically detectable. The two most commonly discussed cases are those concerning so-called cosmological fine-tuning and concerning irreducible biological complexity.

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