Re: ID and Scientific Utility

Terry M. Gray (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 09:52:01 -0600

Denis et al.

No doubt there is some truth to Denis' claims here, especially with most
modern expressions of evangelicalism. But certainly the "evangelicalism"
of C. Hodge, A.A. Hodge, and B.B. Warfield, and even J.G. Machen could and
even did come to terms with evolution. Their hermeneutic (and mine, I
guess) is much more concordistic (without necessarily denying that
scripture serves a different purpose and may not intersect with science and
"secular" history too often) than Denis prefers, especially at points such
as the origin of Adam, but much less so than much of modern evangelicalism
as represented by young-earth creationists and perhaps modern advocates of
day-age theories (although, no doubt, the Old Princeton guys were

I suspect that another factor equal to the hermeneutical one is a
fundamental theological problem that the Old Princeton theology did not
have. There is no need to repeat all of these, but at the heart is God's
relationship to "naturally" occuring phenomena and chance or contingent
events. To the Old Princeton mind, these things were part of God's working
in the world and not independent from him or his purpose and plan.

Denis will probably don the high priestly robes of his theology Ph.D. to
dispute the basis for my fondness for the Princetonians, but I have other
theological high priests to support my claims :-)

In my opinion, the inability to come to terms with evolution mostly
reflects ignorance of the data and of the theory. Now before I make
everyone hopping mad with that comment, I should add the proviso that those
who do seem to know the data and understand the theory (i.e. Phil Johnson,
Paul Nelson, et al.) fail to come to grips with evolution on the grounds
listed above. (Perhaps the apologetic agenda of intelligent design is
another "blinder" for the intelligent design crowd.) There is a propaganda
machine via the young-earth creationists and the Phil Johnson crowd working
on the average evangelical (especially among private Christian schools and
home schools and the evangelical media--Christianity Today, World Magazine,
Reasons to Believe, and Acts and Facts) that far outdoes that of the
supporters of naturalism and materialism. It's shocking that most
evangelicals learn what they know about evolution from Ken Hamm videos.
This propaganda makes any serious consideration of the evidence for
evolution and even the the old earth and big bang cosmology nearly
impossible in these circles.

As I've said before I read _Darwin on Trial_ as a good summary of the
evidence for evolution once I remove all the rhetoric. Even _Darwin's
Black Box_ reviews plausible explanations for the origin of biochemical
complexity (especially if you know the things that Behe doesn't tell
us--now there I go donning my high priestly robes), even though Behe denies
their plausibility. If we didn't have all this religious baggage, I think
that all would see the theory of common ancestry to be just as compelling
as atomic theory, given the evidence (AND given theism). You see, it's
just that the Bible doesn't say anything that intersects with atomic theory
so there's no reason to doubt the claims of science on that one. As
another proviso, I'm happy to separate the discussion about abiogenesis
from the discussion of common ancestry and to admit that the evidence is
much less compelling; however, I'm actually optimistic to the point of
saying that all claims of the impossibility or implausibility of
abiogenesis are extremely premature.

Terry G.

At 7:41 PM -0600 9/25/97, Denis Lamoureux wrote:
>I would like to offer a short caveat on ID. I believe it is a function of
>evangelicalism's inability in coming to terms with evolution, which is,of
>course, ultimately reflects a hermeneutically problem. In addition,
>evangelicalism's apologetic tendency (which I might add I support in
>priniciple) is then conflated into the formula--thus Phil Johnson & Co.
>In Christ,
>Denis O. Lamoureux DDS PhD PhD
>Department of Oral Biology Residence:
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>University of Alberta 8515-112 Street
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>"In all debates, let truth be thy aim, and endeavor to gain
>rather than expose thy opponent."

Terry M. Gray, Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801