ID, TE, and Pennock's article

Ted Davis (
Tue, 31 Aug 1999 10:01:04 -0400

Dear ASAers,

Bill Dembski's post has called attention to a misquotation in Robert
Pennock's recent article in Books and Culture, a misquote that implies that
Bill and other IDers have personal dislike for advocates of TE. Bill also
points out that Pennock quoted him correctly in the book (this is good).
Bill denies strongly that IDers have bad vibes with TE advocates, saying:

"I disagree with theistic evolution but value theistic evolutionists not
only as persons but also as dialogue partners."

I can affirm the truth of Bill Dembski's statement. At the JBU meeting,
several of us who would identify ourselves as advocates of TE (Howard Van
Till, Bill Phillips, Dennis Lamoureux, George Murphy, myself, to risk
leaving out others) had a very cordial, lengthy conversation with several
advocates of ID (Bill, Bob Newman, Charley Thaxton, to risk leaving out
others) one evening, and there were several less public conversations
between ID and TE advocates, including a dinner conversation I had with
Bill. The issues were very vigorously debated, but I did not detect any
animosity in these conversations. To be sure, the point was made by several
that some ID advocates (not including those named above) have on occasion
questioned the motives of some TE advocates (including some of those named
above), and that these ad hominem arguments are neither appreciated nor
appropriate. (I develop this point in my review of ID published last summer
and available on my webpage.) But this was not the mode of conversation at
JBU, nor has it been the mode of conversation I have had on other occasions
with ID advocates.

Although I remain unconvinced that ID will become a fruitful research
program, I could be proved wrong by the bright people associated with it
(and said as much in my article last summer), including several ASAers, and
very much appreciate hearing them think as they develop their program.
Indeed, I asked to be invited to future ID conferences, that I might
continue to learn the ideas first hand and meet more ID advocates in person.
One reason I made this request is that I believe that email exchanges are
not the ideal way to understand people as fellow creatures in God's image.
The various conversations at JBU only underscore this truth.

Ted Davis