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

From: george murphy (
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 09:38:58 EDT

  • Next message: Todd S. Greene: "Re: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution" wrote:

    > In a message dated 4/11/01 11:30:59 AM, writes:
    > << 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
    > critique. >>
    > Terry,
    > Of course. But my question was, what have TEs contributed to this critique?
    > All the examples you gave, as I understand them, were from non-theistic
    > members of the evolutionary biology community. Or to put it another way, in
    > my observation TEs have been more involved in _defending_ evolutionary theory
    > than in critiquing it.
    > But let me expand my question. In your original post, you stated: "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." Have TEs been making these critiques? Again, my observation
    > is that TEs have been more involved in critiquing, and often attacking,
    > YECs than the philospical/theology of "atheistic scientific community."

            1) Christians who are involved in science relevant to the discussion of
    evolution, and who hold a position something like "functional integrity of
    creation", will "critique" evolutionary theory _qua_ scientific theory in the same
    way that non-Christian scientists will.
            I suspect that this discussion is clouded a bit by the affect of the word
    "critique", which is a lot like "criticize", which may suggest a commitment to
    "refute" the theory. But of course the kind of critical thinking appropriate to
    science doesn't require this kind of commitment. A critical study of evolution in
    this sense will conclude that it's a pretty good theory, the best we have at
    present, though certainly not perfect.
            (The linguistic problem here is similar to one that puts the "critical
    study of scripture" at a disadvantage with some audiences: "How dare they
    criticize the Bible?")
            2) On your 2d point, many TEs do criticize (in both senses) attempts to
    extrapolate evolution to a worldview which rules out all purposes, divine
    creation, etc. The distinction between evolution as a scientific theory &
    "evolutionism" has often been made. This is the appropriate type of criticism "at
    the philosophical/theological level". But that isn't the same thing as trying to
    use philosophical or theological arguments to undermine evolution as a scientific



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Dialogue"

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