Re: [ASA]Paley and Pascal

From: Mccarrick Alan D CRPH (
Date: Fri Aug 31 2001 - 08:17:12 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: [ASA]Paley and Pascal"

    I appreciate George's warning to not make too much of Natural Theology. It ahs already been said, but I'll repeat that the wonderful evidence for God that a believer sees in nature somehow does not make the same impressions on the one we are witnessing to.

    Sara Miles (Eastern) has a short Communication in the Sept issues of PSCF (pp. 196-201) entitled "Charles Darwin and Asa Gray Discuss Teleology and Design." One of her objectives is to outline the relationship between the two as an example of the positive dialogue that should exist (I think of the comments by Phil Johnson about his friendship with William Provine). She also discusses the exact issue that we are hitting - the evidence for design and a benevolent designer are somewhat in the eye of the beholder. At the bottom of 199 and continued on 200, she writes:

    "... as Micheal Roberts has insightfully pointed out, Darwin followed the traditional
    Paleyean view of design and tried to do from design in Nature to belief in God. Gray
    began with a belief in God and saw design in Nature as a result of that belief.
    Another way to say it is that for Darwin, design would be evidence FOR (my capitals)
    God, whereas for Gray, design would be evidence FROM (my capitals) God. Since
    Darwin believed that Nature provided examples that would give evidence for a God
    that either could not or would not eliminate suffering, he preferred to withhold total
    commitment to design. Gray, on the other hand, knew from Scripture that attributes
    of God, and therefore could accept the errors, evil, and suffering of Nature within the
    same theological context that he did for humans."

    Alan McCarrick

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