Re: smorgasbord of explanations

From: Carol Regehr (
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 10:31:43 EDT

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    "Burgy" wrote:
    > The first time I encountered the theories of evolution,
    > I was struck (not as eloquently as Remaine) by the
    > same thought. After nearly 50 years of
    > studying the issues, I am still unconvinced that the concept usually called
    > "macro-evolution" has any real basis in reality. I know -- this is
    > an argument from "personal incredulity." To which accusation I plead
    > guily as charged, and respond only that my opposer must argue
    > on the basis of "personal credulity."
    > ...
    > To those who inhabit this list and claim the TE position, I stand in
    > awe (at least sometimes) of your intellect and power of argumentation.
    > What I say here is simply this -- you, and others, have failed
    > to convince me that the TE position is "true." That it is useful -- that
    > it can be defended from scripture -- that it is held by honorable
    > scholars much more learned than I -- I do not dispute. But I cannot
    > claim the position for myself.

    Personal credulity has a slight advantage over personal
    incredulity, at least for someone of a mathematical turn of mind.
    For example, I remember the moment when I finally "got" the point
    of mathematical proof by induction [(k=n for particular n) and
    {(k=n is true) implies (k=n+1 is true)}]. In the aftermath, I
    also have a metamathematical appreciation of (a) why I didn't get
    it before; (b) why I couldn't articulate, even to myself, just
    what was puzzling me about it; and (c) therefore why no one was
    able to explain it to me. My lack of the teaching gift hinders me
    in helping anyone else across that divide.

    Of course, mathematical "truth" and its apprehension are not
    exactly analogous to truth and learning in the natural sciences,
    for the purposes of your discussion here. But the experience of
    the "aha!" moment cuts across categories. As another example, I
    remember the spacetime coordinates of the event at which I
    finally understood the picture of the 3-sphere. I was walking
    past the bike racks on my way to the pool to swim laps during
    lunch hour, when it came to me. It was a big deal - Polanyi's
    "personal knowledge" - and I flew the rest of the way to the
    pool. Reminds me of a family story about my great-grandfather's
    conversion. One day he took the wagon to town to buy supplies. On
    his way back home, he left town a good and decent man, and
    arrived home at the farm a good and decent Christian man, having
    met no one but Christ along the way. The "aha!" moment.

    Carol Regehr


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