Fw: Fw: Mere Creation conference

Russell Maatman (rmaat@mtc1.mtcnet.net)
Sat, 23 Nov 1996 16:23:35 -0600

Terry, you wrote on Nov. 23
> Russ,
> Since you keep hammering this point, I feel like I must make a comment
> though I probably won't have time to follow through properly.
> You've said, "That is, you assume evolutionary theory to be true because
> is accepted by the Christian scientists you know." This is only part of
> reason. Some of us (and here come the high priestly robes) have the
> professional competence to judge these matters. We're personally
> acquainted with the methods, data, theorizing, etc. and have the
> professional expertise to judge them. No doubt we accept a lot on the
> basis of others because we can't possibly be personally acquainted with
> of the data, but we are personally acquainted with some of the data and
> render our judgment not on the basis of other's words but our own
> professional judgments.

I have no objection to the reasons you give.

> You've also made the following claim that I question, "Once it is shown
> to hold in one case, then after
> that each case must be considered on its merits." Show me the case where
> evolutionary theory doesn't hold. You (with all the rest of the Mere
> Creation crowd) seem to assume that Mike Behe has proved his case and has
> definitively shown that evolution cannot explain irreducible complexity.

Guilty as charged. I do think he's shown gradualism cannot explain the
particular systems (not somebody else's systems) he describes.

> (Again donning the high priestly robes), I don't think Mike Behe's
> arguments hold water...as a biochemist I am not the least bit pursuaded
> them (in attempting to deal with the counter arguments, I believe that he
> has in his own book given the germs of the refutation of his own
> Mike raises some very good evolutionary questions that many people
> his literature search) are working on. For example, Stuart Kauffman in
> opening chapters of *Origins of Order* raises some of the same questions
> about the origin of irreducibly complex systems. Kauffman may call
> Darwinism into question, but he proposes alternate mechanisms of
> that give a promising theory to untie this knot. *Darwin's Black Box* is
> THE book for people who don't want evolution to be true. In it a
> credentialed and professionally active biochemist expresses his own
> I honestly doubt whether more than 1 or 2% of the people who read Mike's
> book will have the competence to judge what he says or to know about what
> he doesn't say. My own initial ideas have been expressed at my debate
> Mike at the ASA meeting in 1994 (see the manuscript from the debate at
> http://mcgraytx.calvin.edu/evolution/irred_compl.html).

The test will be the response to the challenge I and others make: Get a
proposed gradualistic mechanism for one of Behe's systems past the referees
and editors of the Journal of Molecular Evolution, or some other journal,
and then let all of us take a look.

By the way: I've written in my 1993 book that there's only one
nonnegotiable matter re evolution and origins: the origin of mankind. I do
believe, however, that methodological naturalism underlies much of the
thinking in research on origins. So, while I can accept evolution (except
for humankind), I really don't expect much success in showing the validity
of more than microevolution.

Russell Maatman
e-mail: rmaat@mtcnet.net