Re: Underlying assumptions

Murphy (
Fri, 06 Dec 1996 22:10:32 -0500

Russell Maatman wrote, among other things:

> the a priori assumption of gradualistic evolution is not warranted and, in fact,
> is equivalent to assuming the validity of methodological naturalism.

2 problems which I have with your position surface here.
1) IMO the basic aspect of evolution as a scientific theory is
not "gradualism". Quantum theory has made us realize that the old axiom
that "nature does not make jumps" is wrong. Maybe we will find out that
biological evolution "makes jumps", and perhaps even that we will need a
reformulation of the theory as radical for biologists as quantum theory
was for physicists. But that need not imply the introduction of
"intelligent design" or something of the sort into the theory.
2) More serious to me is the use of "methodological naturalism"
in this way. Your (and others') use of the term seems to take it for
granted that all Christians agree that it is bad. I do not. I think
that you and others are making an inadequate theological assumption
here. The classical doctrine of concurrence, Luther's theology of the
cross, and van Till's "functional integrity of creation" are all things
within the Christian tradition which point toward the idea that we
_ought_ as much as possible to be "methodological naturalists", spoiled
as that term may have become by its pejorative use. In any case, this
ought to be the focus of discussion in this area. If this "underlying
assumption" is not adequately dealt with, we will continue to talk past
one another.
George Murphy