Re: Apologetics, Genesis, and C S Lewis

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 09:46:07 -0500 (EST)

At 07:01 PM 12/8/98 +1100, Jonathan Clarke wrote:
>
>
>Moorad Alexanian wrote (in part)

[deleted]

>> Unlike physics, paleontology is a science in the sense of forensic science.
>
>So what? Unlike palaeontology, is a science in the sense of chemistry.

The rule of publishing a paper in a physics journal is such that from the
article one cannot discern anything about the author--gender, state of mind
when paper was written, inspiration for the ideas presented, etc. The paper
has to be totally objective--nothing subjective about it. That is the way
the hard sciences, e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, are conducted. At times
I ask myself how can such science predict the existence of man which has
been totally extricated from the science. That would be a miracle if I ever
saw one. Clearly paleontology is not a science in the sense of the hard
sciences. Yes the hard sciences are used in forensic science but the
evidence that leads to conviction can be totally circumstantial. We know
that innocent people have been convicted even to capital punishment on such
circumstantial evidence.

>> The evidence for evolutionary transition of humans from apelike ancestors is
>> not abundant enough to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it has
>> occurred. That is why the overwhelming majority of Americans still believe
>> in a Creator.
>
>The evidence for an evolutionary transformation of humans (as far as I can
tell) is
>as well documented as for any other species. Whether is is abundant enough to
>conclude "beyond reasonable doubt" is obviously debatable. People have
different
>criteria for this. There are still a few geocentricists about! If doubt
over the
>palaeontological record is human evolution is the main reason the "overwhelming
>majority of Americans still believe in a Creator" then they are guilty of an
>appalling category error. However, a majority of Americans probably
couldn't find
>Iraq on a blank map of the world and it is unlikely that they are any more
>knowledgeable with respect to epistemology. The opinions of a majority of
Americans
>are no more relevant to the issue than that of the majority of Chinese.

It seems to me that what you have in the data is a bunch of points which you
connect with a particular theory in mind. However, we know that a bunch of
data points can be connected any which way. In fact, the points may not
belong to any single curve! The editorial in our local newspaper was being
critical to those who hold views in opposition to macroevolution. Remember
it is the children of the majority of American that are students in our
public schools and there is where the debate originates.

>
>> The underpinning of biological sciences is biochemistry and at that
>> microscopic level there is no scientific model that can explain the
>> evolution of complex biological systems and functions. The biochemist
>> Michele Behe, "Darwin's Black Box," shows that neo-Darwinism cannot account
>> for the molecular structure of life.
>
>I am wading my way through Behe at the moment. So far I have found he
makes some
>very interesting points but is at times logically inconstant. Although his
main
>complaint is against Neo-Dawrinian evolution, Behe is hardly hostile to
evolution in
>the more general sense: "... I find the idea of common descent (that all
organisms
>share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason
to doubt
>it." (page 5). Of course, although Behe's speciality is molecular biology (a
>CD-ROM database I checked today had 42 citations), only a small part of
this corpus
>(about 3 papers) appears to be specifically on evolutionary problems. His
peers
>seem less impressed by "Darwin's Black Box" than outsiders, to judge by
the number
>of critical responses to his book. I think Behe has done us a great service in
>mapping out an agenda for further research. Whether his book is the
death-blow to
>Neo-Darwinian evolution remains to be seen.

I do agree with you that Behe's book is not the final word. I use what is
available to present my case against macroevolution. I believe the latter
represents an unwarranted conclusion from the existing data.

>> The theory of evolution has nothing whatsoever to do with advances in
>> medicine, science, and technology. Is such a theory, therefore, that
>> indispensable for our students?
>
>The Big Bang has nothing to do with advances in these fields either. Should it
>therefore be excluded? Quantum mechanics has done nothing for
palaeontology and
>stratigraphy - who needs it?. Heliocentric astronomy is irrelevant to
medicine, so
>that is obviously dispensable as well! Mind you, if more doctors and
veterinarians
>understood evolutionary ecology there might not be such a problem with
antibiotic
>resistance as there is now.

Stephen Jay Gould refers to Darwinian evolution as the centerpiece of the
biological sciences. I am sure that that statement is just as foolish as to
say that the Big Bang theory is the centerpiece of the physical sciences.
Believe me the overwhelming majority of physicists, including ALL Nobel
laureates, do their work without ever thinking of the Big Bang. I am sure
evolutionary ecology is governed by microevolution and not macroevolution.

>> No one is objecting to the teaching of evolution. However, students of faith
>> ought not to come out of biology classes with the notion that there is no
>> God. Otherwise, theology and not merely biology is being taught in such
classes.
>
>I concur most strongly with you on this one. Properly taught, there is no
reason
>why they should. We must dissuade people, including science educators, that
>philosophically naive people like Richard Dawkins speak for science as a whole.
>There is a need to compare what he says with what people like Francisco
Ayala say
>from a different perspective (see his section about evolution on the CTNS
site at
>http://www.counterbalance.org/evolution/index-frame.html)
>
>> Moorad Alexanian
>
>
>in Christ
>
>Jonathan Clarke

In the love of Christ,

Moorad