Fw: Mere Creation conference

Russell Maatman (rmaat@mtc1.mtcnet.net)
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 09:53:50 -0600

Keith, you wrote

> From: Keith B Miller <kbmill@ksu.ksu.edu>
> To: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: Mere Creation conference
> Date: Thursday, November 21, 1996 9:00 PM
> Russ Maatman wrote:
> >What interests me is where all this leads. A large number of Christian
> >intellectuals who are not knowledgeable in the natural sciences have
> >assumed that Darwinism is the way to go. They have found ways that (they
> >think) make it possible to harmonize the Bible and natural science. They
> >are used to criticisms from Christian theologians. But a new thing is
> >_scientists_ are beginning to undercut the general evolutionary theory.
> >is one thing for Christian intellectuals not knowledgeable in the
> >sciences to parry the arguments of Christian theologians; it is quite
> >another to answer the Mike Behes of the scientific world.
> Please, recognize the scholarship and expertise of your brothers and
> sisters in Christ with whom you disagree. The Christian scientists I
> that accept the general theory of evolution are very competent and
> knowledgeable scientists. Disparaging the competence of those with whom
> you disagree serves no purpose other than to drive yet more wedges into
> body of Christ. I accept the general theory of evolution and consider
> myself competent in my field of paleobiology and Earth history. The data
> from those fields is simply overwhelming in favor of macroevolutionary
> change and common descent.
> In Christ:
> Keith
> Keith B. Miller
> Department of Geology
> Kansas State University
> Manhattan, KS 66506
> kbmill@ksu.ksu.edu
> http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~kbmill/

I wrote not about Christian scientists, but about Christian intellectuals
not knowledgeable in science. (I think George Murphy picked this up; see
his note of Nov. 22. And, of course, George is correct when he insists that
theology as taught by theologians must be considered.) Keith, I sincerely
regret it if I gave the impression that I do not respect the work of
others--Christian or non-Christian, scientist or nonscientist.

But I do think that you have committed the fallacy of proceeding from the
general (here, "general" means "most" or its equivalent; _not_ like
"general" in "general theory") to the specific. That is, you assume
evolutionary theory to be true because it is accepted by the Christian
scientists you know. Perhaps I can take liberty with your words and say
that because the theory is usually accepted, it is true in all cases.

So, I say it again: Once it is shown not to hold in one case, then after
that each case must be considered on its merits. Nowhere in this discussion
have I said evolutionary theory is always wrong. Rather, I have said that
if the theory is shown to be wrong in one case, then one cannot hold that
it is true in all cases. From then on, it's case by case.

I truly cannot see what is wrong with that logic. Of course, I know that
the conclusion depends upon the first statement--that one nonevolutionary
case has been found. But let's not confuse the logic with the question of
whether that first statement is true.

In the Lord,

Russell Maatman
e-mail: rmaat@mtcnet.net