Monday, July 28, 2008


H.D. Lewis on Specified Complexity

A quote that caught my eye in H.D. Lewis' Philosophy of Religion: A Concise Introduction, (The English Universities Press, 1965), p. 306:

'...some prayers are not worthy ones, it may not be God's will to grant all that we ask... This would make it sensible to believe in petitionary prayer while allowing that many prayers are not granted. But it would not make it plausible to appeal to apparent instances of answer to prayer as a way of proving, in the first place, that God acts in this way. The reference to prayer does none the less give us a clue. For what we plainly need is some concomitance of events which seem to defy explanation in the ordinary way and of some religious factor...' (my italics)

Sounds like H.D. Lewis was groping for the notion of 'specified complexity' to me - yet another example of the widespread support for CSI as a design detection criterion, at least at the intuitive level, among non Intelligent Design scholars.

I'd have to disagree with Lewis about the applicability to prayer - CSI is just what scientists are looking for when they conduct double-blind experiments on prayer for healing. In theory at least such prayer experiments could discover evidence of intelligent design! Indeed, while some such studies find no such effect, some do, and a meta-analysis of such studies show a small but measurable effect.

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