Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Wed Apr 11 2001 - 11:30:08 EDT

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    I think you misunderstood me, although I can say how what I said could be
    construed the way you said it.

    Evolutionary theory is like any other scientific theory. It explains
    somethings well and leaves other things less well-explained. But as such,
    there are plenty of scientists within the community that are critiquing,
    modifying, proposing alternatives, giving adjustments, etc. Personally, I
    think that punctuated equilibrium and macroevolutionary developments among
    paleontologists in the past few decades is an example. I could also add
    some of the new ideas coming out in developmental biology (evo-devo stuff)
    that goes somewhat contrary to historic neo-Darwinisim. Also, there is the
    complexity, self-organization, contraints of biological form schools (some
    not that new) that are now receiving some due attention. While S.J. Gould
    doesn't hesitate to rally the troops agains "creationists" when necessary,
    he has not hesitated to continue to do science, i.e. to poke holes in
    existing theories, propose new ideas that seem unconventional, etc. He's
    not the only one. We have this caricature of an evolutionary scientist that
    suggests that he has stopped doing science and is simply a propogandist. I
    suggest that those who maintain such a view aren't really acquainted with
    real evolutionary scientists, but popularizers and propogandists.

    In summary, critiquing the science is not the unique task of theists. It is
    the joint task of the entire evolutionary biology scientific community and
    I maintain that they are actively engaged (as a community) in such a


    >In a message dated 4/9/01 2:26:57 PM, writes:
    ><< In many ways this is a purely theological assertion. This is why in the end
    >my science looks nearly identical to the non-theist's science and why my
    >criticisms of ID sound nearly identical to non-theists' criticisms. Phil
    >Johnson has called my position "vacuous" and despises it because it makes
    >no "threat" to the non-theist scientific community. As I've said many times
    >before, the critique that we ought to be making of the atheistic scientific
    >community is at the philosophical/theological level and not at the
    >practical science level. >>
    >I applaud many parts of your overall statement, being a Calvinist myself.
    >But I take issue with the above statement. Your strategy of not critiquing
    >the atheistic scientific community at the practical scientific level, is not
    >in the best interest of science nor of the TE community. To exempt a
    >scientific theory from scientific critique, "at the practical science level",
    >which I believe you are doing in the case of evolution, does a disservice to
    >science. Skepticism even of major theories should be an important permanent
    >attitude of a scientist.
    >But I may be mistaken. Perhaps you have critiqued the theory of evolution
    >and I am unaware of it. If so, I would like to hear it. What, in your
    >judgment is/are the major weakness(es) of Darwinian evolution? Or to put it
    >another way, are there any biological data that not accounted for by
    >Darwinian evolution, and if so what are they?
    >My guess is that if you were to critique Darwinian evolution from a
    >scientific perspective you would find a place in the "Big Tent." But as long
    >as you are indistinguishable from non-theistic evolutionists, as you describe
    >yourself, who seem unable to take an objective, critical view of their theory
    >you will not find the right hand of fellowship extended to you. After all,
    >would George Washington have welcomed a volunteer into his army who openly
    >supported the divine right of kings and the absolute right of Parliament to
    >impose taxation without representation?

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

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